Infectious Disease

Vaccination is the best way ahead for the US because the rollout tempo continues to speed up

February 18, 2021

3 min read

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Disclosure:
Walensky, Zahn and Zients do not report any relevant financial information. Hewlett reports that he previously worked as a doctor in the pharmaceutical industry.

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As the pace of adoption of COVID-19 vaccines increased in the US, experts continued to reassure the public about the safety and effectiveness of the available vaccines and their importance in combating the spread of variants and ending the pandemic.

“The direction out of this is vaccination. This is the way forward for us. ” Matthew Zahn, MD, FIDSA, The medical director in the Department of Epidemiology and Assessment at the Orange County, California, Department of Health said so during a press conference held by the Infectious Diseases Society of America earlier this week.

Walensky Pullquote

Zahn said rapid vaccine development was “a testament to the medical sciences” and its creation “did not involve steps to skip”.

Choose Hewlett Jr., MD, FIDSA, The Medical Director of the Department of Disease Control at the Westchester, New York Department of Health compared accelerated vaccine development for COVID-19 to the introduction of penicillin during World War II. He said the global pandemic motivated science, government, and industry collaboration in the same way that the war acted as a “trigger” for national collaboration to increase penicillin production.

“Although a lot of people will say, ‘This has been rushed and we haven’t done everything we normally would. “Everything has been done that is normally done,” said Hewlett. “It’s just that the focus and resources allowed us to compress a lot of it in less time. The result has been the fairly rapid development of two vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective.”

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients During a press conference at the White House earlier this week, he said the weekly vaccine dose allocation to states increased 57% in the first four weeks Alreadye Bidens Presidency, and the number of doses given each day has increased from 1.1 million to 1.7 million.

Zients said the administration plans to double the weekly vaccine supply for pharmacies from 1 to 2 million doses, and a federal ordinance has been signed to allow retired nurses and doctors to administer vaccines. Additionally, he said 1,200 National Guard members will serve as vaccines and more than 1,000 military personnel have been activated to operate vaccination sites in the community.

As of Thursday morning, more than 73.3 million doses of vaccine had been dispensed in the US and more than 41 million people had received at least one shot, according to the CDC.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, addressed falling COVID-19 case numbers at the press conference and noted that the average 7-day case number has fallen by 22% to around 86,000 cases in the past week. However, Walensky also stressed that the number of COVID-19 deaths continues to “fluctuate”, averaging 3,076 deaths per day between February 9 and 15.

“As cases and hospitalizations continue to move in the right direction, we are still in the midst of a very serious pandemic,” she said.

Walensky also addressed the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2 variants, reiterating that vaccinations and other measures, such as wearing masks, are critical to preventing their spread.

“It is more important than ever that we do everything we can to reduce the spread in our country

Communities by strengthening our proven measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, “she said. “Fewer cases mean fewer opportunities for the variant to spread and fewer opportunities for new variants to emerge.”

Experts remain concerned about the threat from variants, including variant B.1.1.7, which the CDC has claimed could become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 virus in the US by March. Hewlett also emphasized the importance of vaccination to reduce the likelihood that the variants “take over”.

Zahn said more research is needed to determine the effect of the vaccines on asymptomatic transmission.

“More information is needed to show how well these vaccines are at preventing asymptomatic infection,” he said. “Some of that will come from public health data we are collecting.”

During a Q&A with JAMA, Walensky said vaccine scaling must continue through March and there is concern that public containment measures will decrease as the weather warms up. She said the potential for increased transmissibility in some variants will mean “higher passage” to achieve herd immunity.

“The best we can do to prevent these variations in general is to reduce the number of diseases circulating,” said Walensky.

References:

Marks M et al. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021; doi: 10.1016 / S1473-3099 (20) 30985-3.

The White House. Press conference by the White House COVID-19 Response Team and public health officials. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/02/17/press-briefing-by-white-house-covid-19-response-team-and-public-health-officials- 4 /. Accessed February 17, 2021.

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