Tuesday, January 26, 2021

When Can We Get "It"?

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Society

Ed Hessler

The great roll-out has left many with criticisms and questions, certainly to be expected after all the promise. And the supply of vaccine? Not enough by a lot of doses. 

 Perhaps like you, I'm waiting and waiting and waiting.

Reporting by Helen Branswell (STAT) provides some explanations not that this brings the shot any closer to your upper arm but at least provides perspective.

Branswell comments on the following:

Why is the vaccination process moving so slowly? Like it or not the reality is that it takes time to "get vaccination programs up and running." Distribution is far more complicated than we know, especially since "the two vaccines...have stringent cold-chain requirements." This adds another wrinkle.  In the end, though there just isn't that much vaccine available.

When will we get more vaccine? This is, as Branswell notes what falls under the category of "Good Question." A rough timeline: 40 million doses by end of January (this week); 200 million by the end of March. How does this translate into arms? 20 million by the end of January; 100 million by the end of March.

When will the other vaccines the government invested in become available? The expert, Anthony Fauci has been all over the news the past week saying that clinical trial data will be available for review this week of another, the one-dose vaccine. If it passes this review, Johnson & Johnson will ask for an emergency use authorization perhaps to be put in use mid-February. The common phrase is that this could be a "game-changer." One shot, fridge stable. However it will be April before there would be a decent supply. A couple more are in the emergency use clearance category, too.

Who is eligible to get vaccinated at this point? It all depends on geography--which state. Each state has set different priorities. Still there is the issue of not enough vaccine for all the various groups identified: 65 and older, essential workers such as teachers and those who work bringing food to us.

How are we supposed to find out when and where we can get vaccinated?  Branswell recommends and links the CDC website where you will find a pull-down menu and links. In somewhat of an understatement she writes, "Some states seem to have established fairly orderly systems — though you probably need to be computer-savvy to take advantage of them — while others, not so much."

Where will vaccines be administered? The current situation is one of great fluidity but "relying on...standard approaches isn't going to be enough."  Tradition must include innovation in terms of places as well as those making the injections.

Have we learned more about side effects of the vaccines or serious problems associated with their use? In the language of vaccination, "Covid-19 vaccines are all a bit reactogenic," i.e., some arm pain, fatigue, chills, even a fever for a day or two. These are good signs: Your plaster over the injection site should have a sign  saying "Vaccine at Work." The 15-minute period of monitoring is for a reason: to see whether an allergic reaction occurs. Quite a few Americans have a history of severe allergies. Even one person who received a placebo developed "Bell's palsy, a partial and generally temporary paralysis of some facial muscles."

Will Covid vaccines prevent people from getting infected and transmitting SARS-2?  Or do they only prevent people from developing symptomatic disease? It isn't known and had this requirement been part of the specifications it would have added time to the development of a vaccine. Branswell asked Aikiko Iwasaki, a virologist and immunologist at Yale University who responded by saying that "because vaccines are not designed to prevent symptoms, they're designed to prevent infection. And so I just don't see the possibility of such a disconnect between asymptomatic infection and symptomatic infection in vaccinated people."

How much will Vovid-19 shots cost? Nothing out of pocket. Taxes do work!

And, of course, this question which must be asked even though it makes one wonder about our literacy and concern for others. I've been vaccinated. Can I party? I'm prone to yell NO! however, Branswell tell us why, noting that "so long as there is a lot of SARS-2 virus making the rounds, people will need to continue to take precautions. We are not, everyone of us going to be vaccinated at the same time and we don't/can't know how well the vaccines are working" for a while.

Mask up! Social Distance! Wash your hands! Do not attend large indoor/outdoor events which bring you in close contact with others.

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