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The Booster Bulletin: COVID-19 Vaccine Edition

In the United States, there is not yet an authorized or approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Once available, COVID-19 vaccines will help prevent a disease that can be dangerous, or even deadly.

While experts do not know yet exactly how well COVID-19 vaccines will work, they know that authorized or approved vaccines will help reduce the risk of disease by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. With the possibility of a limited supply of one or more COVID-19 vaccines becoming available before the end of 2020, accurate vaccine information is critical.

The CDC helps bust the myths and misconceptions about COVID-19 Vaccination.

Based on what they currently know, the CDC outlines the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine: 11 Things You Need to Know” New York Times (November 9, 2020)

In July, Pfizer and BioNTech initiated a late-stage clinical trial on a coronavirus vaccine. Half of the people got the vaccine, while the other half got a placebo of salt water. The companies then waited for people to get sick to determine if the vaccine offered any protection. So far, 94 participants out of nearly 44,000 have gotten sick with Covid-19. An independent board of experts looked at how many of those people got the vaccine, and how many got the placebo. That early analysis suggests the vaccine is over 90 percent effective.

“Q&A: Where Are We in the COVID-19 Vaccine Race?” Reuters (November 6, 2020)

Drugmakers and research centers around the world are working on COVID-19 vaccines, with large global trials of several of the candidates involving tens of thousands of participants well underway. Some companies had suggested early trial data could be ready for release in October, but have since pushed that back to November and December.

“FDA COVID-19 Vaccine Process Is 'Thoughtful and Deliberate,' Says Former FDA Head” NPR (October 23, 2020)

I think people for the most part—the experts, the others listening—found it very reassuring to know that even though FDA is going fast, it's not cutting corners. And it's trying to be very thoughtful and deliberate about getting the evidence needed before the vaccine becomes available—even the people in the highest risk groups, like health care workers and people living in nursing homes,’ (Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioner under George W. Bush) said.

“People in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials at UNC, Duke Talk about Why They Volunteered” CBS (Durham, NC) (October 26, 2020)

Researchers across the world are racing to come up with a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and in order to do that they need tens of thousands of volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves and test it. CBS 17 spoke to two people participating in the vaccine trials about why they wanted to take part and what they’re experiencing.

Opinion by Walter Isaacson: “I was part of a trial for Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine. It’s a miracle for genetic medicine.”  Washington Post (November 9, 2020)

I enrolled in the trial at Ochsner Hospital in my hometown of New Orleans partly to be a good citizen but also because I’m writing a book about the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR, and the star molecule in the book is RNA. The vaccine that was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech makes use of the most basic functions that RNA performs: serving as a messenger RNA (mRNA) that carries genetic instructions from DNA, which is bunkered inside a cell’s nucleus, to the manufacturing region of the cell, where it directs what protein to make. 

“States Say They Lack Federal Funds to Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine as CDC Tells Them to Be Ready by Nov. 15” Washington Post (October 30, 2020)

State health officials are expressing frustration about a lack of federal financial support as they face orders to prepare to receive and distribute the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 15, even though one is not likely to be approved until later this year. The officials say they don’t have enough money to pay for the enormous and complicated undertaking.

“FedEx Vows to Avoid Transport Bottlenecks in Vaccine Roll-Out” Bloomberg (October 30, 2020)

The air-freight giant will free up whatever capacity is needed to speed the delicate cargo to distributors or vaccination centers, said Richard Smith, executive vice president of the Americas for FedEx Express. The company is holding daily calls with vaccine developers and U.S. government agencies such as the Defense Department that are in charge of logistics for the roll-out.”

“Why a COVID-19 Vaccine Is Key for Returning to Normalcy” Discover (November 4, 2020)

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced life to a sliver of what it was––with a restless feeling that nothing can be done to reclaim it. But there is one last crucial step for us to take before we can return to our pre-coronavirus lives: Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available.

“Will Kids or Pregnant Women Be Able to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?” Today (October 29, 2020)

The sooner we can get a vaccine out to everybody, you can reduce transmission to everyone,’ Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatric infectious disease at Stanford University and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Infectious Diseases, told today. ‘As long as there are people out there who can spread it, we're just not going to get rid of this pandemic.’

“There’s Hope a Vaccine Will Help End Racial Disparities with Coronavirus” CNN (October 24, 2020)

The world is focused on a COVID-19 vaccine to get everyone back to some version of normal, but the vaccine could also have another beneficial effect: It could reduce the disparities that have made the disease so deadly for some racial groups.

“Poor Countries Fall Behind in Race to Reserve COVID-19 Vaccine”  NPR (November 5, 2020)

Despite an international agreement to allocate the vaccine equitably around the world, billions of people in poor and middle-income countries might not be immunized until 2023 or even 2024, researchers at Duke University predict. One reason is tied to the financial might of upper-income nations. 

Prepare, Don’t Panic. To inform Nevadans statewide, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Governor's Office have created this website to better share information and resources as it pertains to the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact within the state of Nevada.

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