The road to a COVID-19 vaccine is promising, but will you take it?
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With emergency approval, the company Moderna says it could start offering a vaccine to high-risk patients and health care workers as soon as next month.
But will you line up to get the shot? Some of our local medical experts are hoping you will.
Just as COVID-19 cases are rising here and across the country, there’s a shot of hope on the horizon.
“I’m always careful, especially with early data. But this is very encouraging. I think there is reason to be hopeful,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer of Augusta University Health.
Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are both on track to be available early next year, but many are skeptical.
In an informal Twitter poll, most people said they would not get the vaccine when it first becomes available to them.
It’s a similar conversation on Facebook with most people opting out, but Coule says it’s important that you do.
“It’s going to require everybody doing their part in order to slow down the transmission of COVID-19, and that likely means that a large number of people that are otherwise not at risk also taking the COVID-19 vaccine,” he explained.
And as the vaccine develops, the hospitals are getting ready to distribute it.
“We have been ordering the specialized freezers necessary for those, as well as developing our plans internally to make certain that when we do receive the vaccine from the state that we’re able to deliver that as effectively and as safely as possible,” Coule said.
He also says the most challenging part of the distribution will be making sure people come back for the second dose.
“The safety and efficacy is not established without the second dose,” he said.
The vaccine will be distributed on a most-to-least vulnerable scale.
“Certainly those that are in long term care facilities, health care providers, and first responders, those that are elderly and have a lot of chronic medical conditions. Basically, those that are known to be most vulnerable to the disease will be targeted in that first wave,” Coule said.
And the amount of time we spend fighting the pandemic will depend on supply and your willingness to take it.
“Certainly the fact that we’re going to have two suppliers for a vaccine helps the situation dramatically it essentially doubles our supply that we have to draw from to vaccinate people,” Coule said.
And we don’t know yet how long immunity for the virus will last with the vaccine, but Coule says we will need at least half the population to be vaccinated before we can truly start to see a significant decline in cases.
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