December 15, 2020

A new phase

I don’t know about you, but I was moved to see health care workers stepping up for their vaccines today. Inspired by hearing their words. UW was the first to receive boxes of vaccine today in Washington State and gave them to a group of health care workers. Not just the physicians and nurses, but to patient care technicians and environmental services workers that clean the hospital rooms and help with patients, the EMT’s who are first responders and transport patients to the hospitals, and to Medical Assistance who are so valuable to care.

Other hospitals began protecting their staff with immunizations later in the day. What I see in all of these are people dedicated to the patients, belief in science, and gratitude that this long, long ordeal may be starting to ease. Their calm willingness to receive the vaccines are such wonderful examples and, hopefully, can help reassure many who still have questions about the vaccine.

These health care workers have seen this illness up close and want to protect their families as well as themselves. The planning needed to get everyone vaccinated will take some time, but I am happy to see people eager to get their vaccine. UW reports that even though they are not mandating the vaccine close to 100% of the highest risk staff have signed up to receive it. The chiefs of UW are confident in the safety of the vaccine.

Other good news is that the Moderna vaccine is ready to have its data reviewed by the FDA for emergency use. Just a week or so behind Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it’s data is also excellent. Another messenger-RNA vaccine, it needs to be frozen but not kept at the ultra-low temps that the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine requires. It seems we will have two vaccines within another week or two and some more coming along nicely.

In the meantime, a new home test for SARS-CoV-2 virus is approved with results as fast as 20 minutes. This can be a useful tool as we wait for the vaccine roll out to trickle down to all of the lower risk folks. Plus we have some glimmers of relief in the midwest as hospitalizations slow down along with more adherence with mask wearing.

The next data we are waiting for is to see if the vaccine decreases transmissions. That is the goal. We know it reduces deaths and hospitalizations, now we need to reduce transmission. Studies are being done that look promising which will slow down deaths and suffering. We just need to hang in there a little longer.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and be safe so you’ll be ready for your vaccine.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/15/health/covid-moderna-vaccine.html

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/front-line-medical-workers-get-first-doses-of-coronavirus-vaccine-in-seattle/

https://www.nytimes.com/spotlight/coronavirus-vaccine

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/fda-allows-use-of-over-the-counter-home-test-for-covid-19/

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.13.20248120v1