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Moderna COVID Vaccine Deployed-Vaccination Encouraged


According to General Gustave Perna, Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed, more than six million doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine were shipped to 3,200 sites during the week beginning Monday, December 21st.  During the previous week, 272,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered according to the Centers for Disease Control.  It is noted that the Moderna vaccine that does not require the rigorous -90 F storage and transport temperature for the Pfizer product can transported at regular refrigeration temperature will be more acceptable for rural areas and small vaccination centers.


The initial vaccinations were administered to frontline healthcare workers.  On Sunday, December 20th the CDC AdvisoryCommittee prioritized adults 75 and older and frontline service workers to receive vaccines.  In the subsequent phase, adults between 65 and 75 and those between 16 and 64 with high-risk predisposing conditions and other essential workers will be vaccinated. 


It is anticipated that 20 million doses of  vaccine will be distributed by the end of 2020, although it is recognized that an equivalent volume has been held in reserve for the essential second dose of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The rollout of vaccine has demonstrated a slower rate of administration compared to availability even though the first recipients have been in hospitals with optimal resources. Logistical problems will obviously be resolved with resourcefullness and experience during the early weeks of 2021.


Health authorities, including Dr. Carlos del Río, Associate Dean of the Emory University School of Medicine, have warned that precautions to prevent transmission must be maintained as it will be a number of months before adequate numbers of the U.S. population achieve immunity. The U.S. has recorded almost 18 million confirmed cases with 320,000 fatalities since COVID-19 emerged.  On Friday, December 18th almost 250,000 new infections were recorded with an average of 2,500 deaths per day during the preceding week.


There is guarded optimism over acceptance of COVID vaccines.  Despite mischievous and misleading negative comments, the approval of the vaccine and initiation of administration have resulted in an increase in the number of citizens indicating their intent to be vaccinated. A concerning proportion of the population of western European nations and the U.S. still have reservations as to safety. This is in part due to the speed at which the vaccines were developed, distrust of governments and the pharmaceutical industry in general and a concerted campaign by anti vaxxers using the internet.


Commentators have suggested that opposition to vaccination, extending back to the 18th century was essentially based on religious views that vaccination was contrary to “God’s will”.  As noted in the Charlemagne column in the December 12th edition of The Economist,  Laurent-Henri Vignaud, a historian at the University of Bourgogne, observed that opposition to vaccination is now based on political considerations with a “strong correlation between doubting vaccines and voting for populist parties”.  This sentiment is supported by Dr. Jonathan Kennedy of the Queen Mary University of London.  News reports suggested that a high proportion of workers at homes for the elderly are disinclined to be vaccinated, this is unfortunate since this cohort is dealing directly with the most vulnerable members of our population and could serve as asymptomatic spreaders. Surveys show that 40 percent of those interviewed in Poland and Hungary and 46 percent in France stated they would reject a COVID-19 vaccine if offered. Health authorities expect that the increasing incidence rate of COVID accompanied by restrictions on normal social and economic activity will encourage acceptance of vaccination. It is hoped that with appropriate leadership and example, vaccination will be adopted by a high proportion of eligible recipients.


The Charlemagne column concludes that “the most effective vaccine against anti-vax nonsense would be for governments to roll out their COVID-19 vaccination programs as quickly and smoothly as possible with a minimum of disruption.  When elites do their jobs well populists and cranks have less to froth about”.