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AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall Feb. 11

Expert answers on COVID-19 prevention and care

Tele-Town Hall 1 PM 021121: Your Questions Answered

Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you’d like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish press *0 on your telephone keypad now. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Of course, vaccine distribution is top of mind for everyone as the coronavirus continues to limit our freedom and threaten our sense of safety and well-being. Anxiety and frustration are high with new virus variants emerging, continued vaccine distribution backlogs, and confusing signup systems. We will address these issues and more with our expert panel and take your questions live. If you’ve participated in one of our telephone town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask your questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question. If you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

Joining us today are Krystina Woods, M.D., hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention at Mount Sinai West. She is also senior assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. We also have Lilly Kan, senior director of Infectious Disease and Informatics for the National Association of County and City Health Officials. We’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

Now I’d like to bring in our guest Krystina Woods, M.D., hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention at Mount Sinai West. She is also senior assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Woods.

Krystina Woods: Thank you so much, Bill, I’m very happy to be here.

Bill Walsh: All right. We’re delighted to have you. I’d also like to welcome Lilly Kan. Lilly is the senior director of Infectious Disease and Informatics for the National Association of County and City Health Officials. She’s an expert on how health care associated infections impact public health at the local level. Welcome to the program, Lilly.

Lilly Kan: Thank you so much, Bill, pleased to be with you all.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, let’s get started with the discussion. Before we begin, we want to hear from you. Please take a moment to tell us what is your biggest hurdle in signing up for a vaccine. Press 1 on your telephone keypad for obtaining a reliable source of information on signing up. Press 2 for using confusing technology. Press 3 if there are too many steps involved. Press 4 for long wait times on the phone lines. And press 5 if you haven’t had a problem signing up for the vaccine. So a quick poll: What is your biggest need around vaccine distribution? Press 1 for obtaining reliable signup information. Press 2 for using confusing technology. Press 3 for too many steps to sign up. Press 4 for long wait times on phone lines. And press 5 if you haven’t had a problem signing up. Thank you, and we’ll give you the results of that poll later on in the event.

And now to our experts. Dr. Woods, let’s start with you. At this time, we have two approved vaccines, the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine, and two more expected: one from AstraZeneca and another from Johnson & Johnson. What are the key differences among these? And do consumers have an option of which one to take?

Krystina Woods: So the differences are mostly in the way that the vaccines are engineered. The Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines are engineered in a newer way. They’re called mRNA vaccines. And the AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are engineered based on older technologies that we have. Generally there isn’t really a choice as to which one you get. Vaccine centers have certain allotments of vaccines and a lot of that is based on their capability to store the vaccines properly, and so often when you go, it’s not like they give you a menu and say, well, would you like this one or would you like that one? They often have a certain one in stock and that is the one that you receive when you arrive at the center or at the pharmacy.

Bill Walsh: Got it. And I think as we all know by now, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only one shot and is 66 percent effective compared to 95 percent efficacy for the earlier vaccines that required the two shots. Does the reduced effectiveness of the single shot vaccines matter?

Krystina Woods: I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what is meant by efficacy when it comes to vaccines. It’s not that most people think that oh well, if it’s 95 percent effective, then I have a 95 percent chance of being covered by the vaccine and a 5 percent chance of not being covered by the vaccine. And that’s not actually what it means. What it means is that when they looked at the trials, the people who got the vaccine compared to those who didn’t get the vaccine, when they say it’s efficacious, so 95 percent efficacy means that compared to those who didn’t get the vaccine, those who were vaccinated had a 95 percent lower risk of getting symptomatic disease. I think that’s the first important thing to understand when we talk about efficacy. The other thing is that when these trials happened, they happened at different times. And so the Johnson & Johnson trial was happening during a time when more of these variants were circulating, particularly when the Canterbury variant, or it’s also called the UK variant, was circulating. And so that may have had some impact on the efficacy of the vaccine. But the more important discussion … is the fact that all of the vaccines have shown 100 percent efficacy at preventing severe disease. And I think that’s really the take-home point. It doesn’t matter which one somebody received. It had a 100 percent efficacy in preventing severe disease. And those who actually waited the full time, from the time that they received their first dose to the time when it was fully considered effective — which is six weeks from the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, or seven weeks from the first dose of the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine — there were no hospitalizations and no deaths from COVID. And I think that really is the more important thing to understand, that numbers of efficacy are interesting from a scientific standpoint, but from the everyday take-home practical standpoint, you want to know that you’re not going to end up in the hospital, and you want to know that you’re not going to end up dying from this. And all of the vaccines had a 100 percent efficacy that prevented that.

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that clarification. That was really helpful, Dr. Woods. Lilly, I’d like to bring you in here. And let’s start with the most important issue for so many people right now, and that’s getting access to the vaccine. While the situation will vary from place to place, if someone’s having a problem getting a vaccine appointment locally, what should they do?

Lilly Kan: Thanks for that question, Bill. First of all, I really want to start by thanking everyone who’s listening today … because all of the work that you are doing to keep yourself healthy and safe while we wait for COVID-19 vaccines to become more widely available is so important. And we know that it takes so much work. And so all of the things that you are doing to continue socially distancing yourselves, practicing good hand hygiene, and wearing masks during this time still remain the most important things that we can continue to do. So with that in mind, if someone is having a problem getting a vaccine appointment locally, because perhaps appointments just aren’t available at this time, it’s first really important to remember that the current supply of COVID-19 vaccines is still really low, which becomes especially challenging as more people become eligible to get the vaccine. For example, one state is receiving approximately 10,000 doses per day for over 1.5 million people who are eligible. One local health department in a different state was allotted 100 doses this week for their community. Now local health departments have been working very hard to quickly administer the doses of vaccine that they do have, but again, there are local health departments that have received very few doses of vaccine to administer at this time. And this may also be the case for other places that are also vaccinating people, such as hospitals, pharmacies or health centers. And these places are working alongside local health departments to vaccinate people, and may also not have enough supply at this time. But again, as you said, Bill, the situation really does vary from place to place. And the situation is constantly changing, especially when it comes to vaccine supply. I’m sure many of you have heard in the news about how the federal government is working to increase the vaccine supply to states, tribes and territories. And it’s important to remember that the vaccine will eventually be available to everyone, but we are just not there yet. And I realize it can be really difficult to have patience these days when we’re all so ready to get through this pandemic, but really having patience and remaining vigilant about when vaccine appointments and clinics do become available are some of the important things that people can do right now, as we are still dealing with the very limited vaccine supply.

Bill Walsh: Well, one plug I’ll give to AARP is, we’ve created state-by-state guides to help people figure out what websites, what phone numbers to call in their state. So if you’re looking for that information, go to aarp.org/coronavirus. You just pick your state name, and we have a whole bunch of information on how to reach out locally there. No guarantee that they’ll have the vaccine supplies, Lilly pointed out, but the resource is there, and you can begin trying to sign up. Lilly, let me follow up on that. You represent local health officials, and they’ve been at the forefront of the pandemic since day one. And as we just were discussing, we’re in crisis mode on vaccine distribution. We’ve seen long lines and people unable to get appointments. What’s the biggest challenge for local health officials, and what’s being done to address it?

Lilly Kan: So beyond the challenge of navigating the limited vaccine supply — which again, I know is a challenge many of us are facing — but the biggest challenge for local health officials has really been having insufficient resources, and specifically money and people from the start. And to provide just a little more context, before the pandemic we had seen local health departments lose almost a quarter of their workforce since 2008, meaning shedding over 50,000 jobs. And with these circumstances, local health departments are forced to shift resources from other public health activities to adapt to the demands of emergencies. And since the start of the pandemic, local health department staff have been pulled away from other essential areas like food safety, HIV prevention, overdose prevention and response, and also immunization. And in fact, when we asked last spring how COVID-19 had impacted regular local health department immunization programs and services, most who responded indicated that they had to reassign their immunization staff to support the response, and a number of local health departments also indicated that they needed to shift money from their regular immunization program budgets to support the response. And these regular immunization activities were efforts that health departments were taking to prevent us and protect us and our loved ones from measles, seasonal influenza, hepatitis A, and again, other vaccine preventable diseases. And so I try in this context to say that the same local health department staffs who are responsible for vaccinations and protecting our communities, they were the same staff who got pulled away from those duties again to support things like COVID-19 contact tracing, and supporting people who needed to isolate and quarantine. And we’re now relying on those same people to vaccinate us against COVID-19. But the good news is that funding and resources are increasingly becoming available to support local health departments. But even then, it can still take time for those resources to reach local health departments in a way that allows them to bring on more people who are trained and experienced. But we also know that health departments are working through this now, even as they’re managing the current supply that they have.

Bill Walsh: Thanks for that, Lilly. Let me turn back to you, Dr. Woods. I wonder if you could talk about the new variants of COVID that we’re hearing so much about. What is the threat that they will become the dominant strain, and where does that leave us? Are the vaccines effective against these new variants?

Krystina Woods: Obviously, the news has been reporting on this pretty widely. There are three that we’ve been watching very closely, but I think everyone needs to understand that the basis of the way that viruses work is that they do mutate. So this isn’t something that’s unexpected. This is certainly something that we know happens, and what we do is we look at these and see if these mutations that the viruses undergo to become these variants, whether or not that makes them any more dangerous, whether it makes them more easily to transmit, whether it makes them have people get sicker in larger numbers or more severe illness after they contract it. So these are the things that we look at. We do know from the information from the United Kingdom that the variant that was found there, again, the Canterbury variant or so-called the UK COVID variant, it did actually quite quickly become a pretty dominant strain there. And that’s because it’s a lot more contagious; and so that makes sense, if something’s more contagious, it’s going to spread more, and it can get a little bit more of a foothold. What we do know though, is that so far these vaccines that we have look like they have good efficacy against that variant. The one variant that potentially might not have as good efficacy is the one that’s coming out of South Africa, and a lot of these vaccine manufacturers are already aware of that, and they’re working on tweaking the vaccines themselves so that they can be more effective toward that variant. We don’t yet know if that’s going to mean that at some point, we’re going to need a special booster for that specific variant. As of right now, again, it’s not circulating in such wide numbers, nor is it really as big of a concern that we think that this is something that has to happen right away, but it’s good to know that the manufacturers are aware of it and they’re working on a vaccine that’s going to be more targeted to be more efficacious against that variant.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Well, thank you so much for that, Dr. Woods. We appreciate it. We are going to get to your live questions shortly, but before we do, I wanted to bring in AARP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, Nancy LeaMond. Welcome, Nancy.

Nancy LeaMond: Thanks, Bill, great to be here.

Bill Walsh: Nancy, as the vaccines are being distributed, there’s a lot of confusion around the country, and we hear and see a lot of frustration from older people. What is AARP doing to fight for these folks?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, thanks again for having me, Bill. It has been nearly a year since COVID-19 altered life as we all knew it. We’ve been isolated from loved ones, and too many have lost family, friends, jobs and life savings. Older Americans have been hit especially hard, more than 95 percent of the 440,000-plus deaths have been among those age 50 and older. And the loss of more than 153,000 lives in nursing homes is a national disgrace. We’ve all been waiting for vaccines to help stop the disease and restore our way of life, but vaccines only work if we can get them into people’s arms, and there is tremendous demand for vaccines and that demand is also being met by tremendous confusion. I know that you’re incredibly frustrated — so many of you on the line today, and I’m frustrated, too. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks on websites here in my own in my own town. But that’s why AARP is fighting for older adults to be prioritized, and fighting to make the online process easier so that you can go to one place to get clear information about when, where and how to sign up to get vaccinated. And for those who aren’t online or having difficulty navigating all the online systems, we’re urging the federal government to work with states to develop 1-800 numbers for scheduling vaccine appointments that are centralized, well-staffed and offer culturally competent customer service in several languages. We’ve also supported mobile vans being available for those who simply cannot leave their homes. We commend actions taken by the Biden Administration to get more vaccine supply out to states and expand where vaccinations are available to include more pharmacies, community health centers, and in some states, even sports arenas. AARP advocates in every single state, and we make sure that we’re urging governors and state legislators, and all elected officials, to improve information and coordination on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. And many of our staff and our volunteers are serving on advisory boards. We’re also expanding our efforts to provide people 50-plus with trusted information about vaccines. For example, as Bill mentioned, we’ve published online guides for every state explaining how to get the vaccine where you live. AARP State Offices are also hosting dozens of local conversations like this one each week, and volunteers are finding ways to check in on others to provide local information about vaccines. As the rollout continues, we will keep the pressure up on elected officials and continue to provide critical information to our members. To stay up-to-date on all of these efforts and find summaries of state plans for vaccine distribution, please visit aarp.org/coronavirus. Thanks again, Bill.

Bill Walsh: Thank you, Nancy, for that update. Really appreciate it. It’s now time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Krystina Woods and Lilly Kan. I’d like to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. Welcome, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Thanks so much, Bill. Delighted to be here.

Bill Walsh: All right. Who is our first caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our first caller is Eileen from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Eileen, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Eileen: Oh, hi, good afternoon.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead, Eileen. Very good. Go ahead with your question.

Eileen: I’d like to know, after your second dose of the shot, how many weeks does it take for the body to build immunity after the vaccination? Whether it’s Moderna or Pfizer?

Bill Walsh: OK, let’s ask Dr. Woods that question. Dr. Woods, can you answer Eileen’s question.

Krystina Woods: I think the better way to look at this is actually counting from the very first dose that you received rather than the second, because there’s a little bit of a difference in how many days you can possibly get your second dose in. It would be six weeks from the first dose of your Moderna vaccine, or seven weeks from the first dose of Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson. So look at the dose of your first, or the date of your first one, and it will be six weeks from that date, assuming that you got both doses. If you skipped your second dose, that doesn’t count. But if you’ve got both of them, six weeks from the first dose of the Moderna or seven weeks from the first dose of Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson gets you to what we would consider maximum efficacy, assuming that you also don’t have any immune problems.

Bill Walsh: Let me follow up to that. Given the supply problems, if folks got their first dose, but there’s a delay in the second one, what should they do?

Krystina Woods: The advice is to really try to contact the vaccine center and make sure that you get your second dose. I know that there have been problems in the state of New Jersey, where I live, where people had made their first appointment and didn’t get a second one. And they are making efforts to try to call those individuals. They’ve identified them, and they’re trying to call them, but I imagine that’s going to be a lengthy process. I think the best advice I have for anyone is if you’re going to get your first dose, before you leave make sure there’s a second one that has been scheduled. You’re going to have a lot better luck when you’re onsite dealing with somebody there than if you’ve already gone home and you’re trying to kind of call in and do all those processes. We do know that there is a little bit of time in which there is some wiggle room. So all is not lost if you’re waiting a little longer than expected for the second dose, but certainly the closer you can get it to the routine schedule that we recommend, the better.

Bill Walsh: OK, thank you for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Sandy from California.

Bill Walsh: Hi, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your call.

Sandy: Hello, thank you for taking my call and good day to all of you. I am homebound. I don’t drive. I really have no one to help me. And I can’t use the internet. I have vision issues. What do I do to get a vaccine?

Bill Walsh: Dr. Woods, do you want to try to tackle that question?

Krystina Woods: Oh, that’s a very difficult one. I know that for a lot of … hospitals, like mine included, we have lists of patients who are eligible for a vaccine, and we do have some people who are doing outreach to those patients, calling them, and asking them if they’re intending on being vaccinated and trying to help them through that process. I don’t know if you have ties to a medical center where you’ve received your care, or if you have a doctor’s office. That may be one place to start, especially if it’s a larger practice, or again, something tied to a hospital where there may be social workers or other volunteers who are working on this. I don’t know if our other speaker, Lilly, I don’t know if you have any other suggestions.

Bill Walsh: Lilly, do you have any suggestions for Sandy?

Lilly Kan: Thanks so much, Dr. Woods and Bill. I also recognize what a big challenge it is for people who are homebound and also have difficulty accessing information online. I think where there are telephone numbers available at the state or local level and certainly the resource, Bill, that you mentioned from AARP is a really important resource to get some of that information. NACCHO also has a document of contact information at the state and local level that individuals can call. If you don’t have somebody who can help support you through some of those things, we have heard examples of local health departments right now that are either planning or in the various stages of rolling out efforts to better reach people who are homebound, which typically have been older adults. And so, for example, some local health departments are collaborating with emergency medical services to utilize paramedics and senior services partners to reach individuals at their homes. Some were actually already providing COVID testing services to homebound older adults on a very limited basis. And they’re trying to figure out how to pivot some of that infrastructure to support people for COVID vaccinations. Now, I don’t currently have information about whether that is happening in California right now, because whether this is actually already happening at the local level really does vary. Again, we know that just different local health departments are in the various stages of actually being able to do this more broadly, in part, because, again, vaccine supply is so low, but local health departments have absolutely been determining how they can work to build teams of people that can reach people who are homebound.

Bill Walsh: OK, thank you very much, Lilly and Dr. Woods. And Sandy, just hang on the line. We are looking for the number for the health department near you. Our excellent staff here at AARP has just pulled it up for me. If you have something to write with, maybe you can take down this number, Sandy. It’s (833) 422-4255. That’s California’s COVID-19 hotline, and they should be able to give you some information. I hope that works for you, Sandy; thanks very much for the call. Jean, who’s next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Bunny from Wyoming.

Bill Walsh: Hey Bunny, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Bunny: Thank you so much. I just heard today that the CDC is saying that fully vaccinated people don’t need to quarantine after a COVID exposure. Sounds great to me. Have you heard it, and is it true?

Bill Walsh: I have not, but let’s have Dr. Woods weigh in on that. Have you heard that Dr. Woods?

Krystina Woods: So yes, as of right now, they’re saying that if you’re fully vaccinated — it means … it’s been at least two weeks since your second dose … or if you’re more than two weeks from receiving the first dose of a single dose vaccine; so again, if you got the Johnson & Johnson, you only need the one — and as long as you’re asymptomatic, meaning you don’t have any symptoms of COVID, and if it’s within three months following the receipt of the last dose, then you would not need to quarantine. So there’s a couple of exceptions to that. You need to make sure you’re in the right timeline after having received your second dose or your last dose of the vaccine, that you’re within three months of that happening, and that you don’t have any symptoms. I suspect there will be some changes to this as we gather more information, but that’s what they’re saying as of, I believe that came out yesterday.

Bill Walsh: Did that guidance, Dr. Woods, address mask wearing or social distancing, if people do go out?

Krystina Woods: We still need to do all that, and part of the assumption is that even after this exposure, that the person who has been exposed is continuing to mask and distance. So that has not yet come off the table, and part of that is because the vaccines assessed whether or not people were able to get symptomatic COVID. They didn’t actually assess to what degree you can be asymptomatically infected after this vaccine, or to what degree you can then carry COVID if you were in contact with someone who is positive. So until we have that information, which they’re looking into, we’re not going to be able to get rid of the masking, and we’re not really going to be able to give any more guidance on changing some of the behaviors that we’ve asked people to continue. So for now, the masking, the distancing remains, the handwashing remains, but potentially some of the quarantine restrictions may be changing.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Thanks for that. Jean who is our next call?

Jean Setzfand: We have quite a few calls or questions coming in from YouTube and Facebook. This is coming from Tom on YouTube, and he’s asking, “Is my immunity protecting me from COVID variants? Or should I get the shot now? I’m in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, and the UK variant has been found here.”

Bill Walsh: Dr. Woods, do you have any thoughts on that?

Krystina Woods: For now, because we don’t know any differently, we are recommending that anybody who has been sick goes ahead and gets the vaccine because we do have data that the vaccine does provide some protection. We don’t have data that natural infection does.

Bill Walsh: Thank you. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: We have another YouTube question again, here from SG on YouTube. And the person is asking, “I’ve heard that some in media are telling people to sign up in all of the counties in the state,” and this person is coming from Tennessee. “I really object to that because it’s taking up slots from others and cannot sign up for that. What’s your guidance on this?”

Bill Walsh: Lilly, I wonder if you could address that question. Should people be signing up at all the different counties around the states?

Lilly Kan: Certainly the approach that states and local health departments are taking to start is to make sure that the residents of the communities that they are serving have all of the options that they have to register and preregister for when COVID-19 [vaccine] becomes available. So it’s really important, absolutely, that the first step should be to focus on the options that you have available within your community and with your county, especially recognizing that the appointments that are available per your county are also tied to the places where you are going to need to go. So to sign up for different counties may also ultimately be very challenging if then the actual appointment that is made in a different community is actually very difficult to get to. That said, we recognize that a lot of people are taking different approaches, but I would certainly say to start is focus on the options that you have available within your county or city or town, because again, that will be — also once an appointment is made and you can get the vaccine — the easiest place to physically get it.

Bill Walsh: Thanks for that, Lilly. And as SG points out in this question, it will not clog up the system for everyone else who actually lives in the county, right? It seems like it’s a way of gaming the system. All right, Jean, let’s go to our next caller.

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Robert from Illinois.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Robert, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Robert : Thank you. Yes, I’m interested in the Johnson & Johnson, if and when it should get approved, how it’s limited to a one-shot deal? My question is, you explained earlier that any of the shots would prevent you from catching COVID. If that’s the case, what is the advantage, if any, for the Moderna and the Pfizer being a higher percentage rate of efficacy? What am I getting? What’s happening that’s so much better than the one-shot Johnson at 66.

Bill Walsh: Let’s ask Dr. Woods. You addressed this a little bit earlier, but maybe you could explain it again, Dr. Woods, ‘cause I think there is some confusion out there.

Krystina Woods: Yes, so again, when the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines were undergoing their trials, they were done in a setting in which we did not have any of the variants circulating. And so that is why we think that there’s such a difference in the efficacy that has been shown in those compared to the Johnson & Johnson trial, which has shown a lower efficacy compared to those two. However, again, I think the more important thing here is that what we’re looking at is we want to make sure that people aren’t getting severe COVID disease. We don’t know if some people who are vaccinated are getting COVID, but they’re just completely asymptomatic, so again, we have to sort of wait and see the data on that. But we do know that all of these vaccines are equally effective at preventing severe disease, at preventing hospitalization, and preventing death. And that’s really the thing that we look for with these vaccines, and really the message that I think really should be the one getting out there. I agree with you that getting a one-dose vaccine is easier because then you don’t have to worry about going back and scheduling your second dose or a lot of complications for that. Not everyone is able to get around as easily. Sometimes you’re waiting for other family members or friends or someone to help get you to the vaccine center and back. So I definitely see a good benefit in having a one-dose vaccine from that perspective, and if it were me and I was recommending it to a family member, I would feel equally comfortable with them getting any of those vaccines, knowing that they would be protected from severe illness, from hospitalization, and death.

Bill Walsh: It sounds like what you’re saying that aside from the one- or two-dose regimens for the different vaccines that they’re all equally effective at preventing hospitalizations, deaths, severe illnesses from COVID. Is that fair?

Krystina Woods: Yes. Where they’re not equally effective is that people who could potentially still have symptomatic disease. But again, if those symptoms are mild, we don’t worry about it as much because it’s not going to have an impact on somebody’s life and on … them needing to seek any kind of higher medical care. It’ll end up being something that’ll be more akin to an upper respiratory illness, a cold, a flu, but that’s mild compared to somebody who isn’t vaccinated, who could potentially end up in the hospital needing pretty severe medical care and potentially dying.

Bill Walsh: Right, very good. Thanks again for that clarification. Jean, let’s go back to the phones. Who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: We have another question coming in from Facebook, and this one’s coming from Kimberly, who’s asking, “What is this program that drugstores will be able to administer the vaccine? Shouldn’t it be through the health department assigning you a location? How can you just walk into a store and get a vaccine?”

Bill Walsh: Lilly, could you address that?

Lilly Kan: Absolutely. So what Kimberly is asking about is the federal retail pharmacy program. And this is a program that the federal government is rolling out incrementally now as an added way to increase access that people have to COVID-19 vaccinations. And this is not meant to replace what local health departments are already doing to administer their supply of COVID-19 vaccines. It is not meant to replace what hospitals and health centers are currently doing, as well as other community vaccinators. But it is also recognizing that people live in different places, and they have different access points. And pharmacies can be an important access point for many people to get their COVID-19 vaccination. The initial rollout of this program that is just happening this week, again, is an initial phase to test also the system and processes so that when vaccines can be more widely available in the upcoming months, that this system will also be robust and the rollout, and if there are any kinks, they are worked out during these next few months, so that, again, it is another layer that complements what health departments at the local level and also their community vaccinators are doing.

Bill Walsh: It’s very interesting. I mean, my own mother was told to go to her local pharmacy to get vaccinated, and that was pretty unusual. Are most pharmacies set up to administer vaccines?

Lilly Kan: It really does vary by city and county within states. We have certainly seen how pharmacies have been involved, and also working hand in hand with local health departments to coordinate their vaccination efforts to make sure that they are really reaching the widest set of their communities as possible, and not necessarily duplicating their reach to the same population. And a lot of that work and those partnerships have already been in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with other routinely recommended immunizations. And so there’s a good foundation from which we can build to continue leveraging those types of partnerships that happen within states with health departments as a part of it. I think one of the important things is there is actually so much happening right now with all of the different vaccination sites, that there certainly is more opportunity to continue shoring up the ways in which they’re coordinating. But certainly that is something that health departments and also pharmacies are working on.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Let’s go back to the line. Who’s our next caller, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Yvette from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey Yvette, welcome to the show. Go ahead with your question.

Yvette : Hi, thank you for taking my call. My elderly mom, she’s over 90, she’s had severe reactions to the flu vaccine and is hesitant about taking the COVID vaccine. What is your recommendation about having her get the COVID vaccine? And if so, which one?

Bill Walsh: Yvette, does she have any preexisting conditions?

Yvette : Yes, she does.

Bill Walsh: Can you say what those are? It might help in the answer.

Yvette : Yeah, she has high blood pressure.

Bill Walsh: High blood pressure. OK. Dr. Woods, I wonder if you could address Yvette’s question about her mother.

Krystina Woods: Hi, Yvette. As of right now, anybody who’s had any sort of severe reactions to the flu vaccine would not be somebody who would have any reason that we would not vaccinate for COVID. So the good news is that doesn’t mean that they can’t get a COVID vaccine. There are very, very few exceptions for which we would not give the COVID vaccines which are currently approved. And those have to do with allergies to specific components of the vaccine. Most people have problems with vaccines in the past because they’re allergic to eggs. This is not a problem with the COVID vaccine. And so there really is a tiny minority of people who are not going to be eligible for the COVID vaccine. So I think it’s good news that even if your mom has had some issues with the flu vaccine before, she should go ahead and get the COVID vaccine. And as for which one, any of the approved current COVID vaccines would be OK for her.

Bill Walsh: And as I understand it, folks who get the vaccine — any of the vaccines — are monitored for up to 30 minutes after they get the shot, isn’t that right?

Krystina Woods: There’s a difference in monitoring depending on whether or not someone reports allergies of any kind. If someone has allergies, they’re watched for 30 minutes, and that was partially because initially when there were reports of allergic reactions in people who got the vaccines, it wasn’t people who had a history of allergies. Subsequently there really wasn’t much of a specific link to like, say, a shellfish allergy in this. And so some centers aren’t necessarily continuing to do that, but it’s a minimum 15-minute wait usually after the vaccine that they do watch you. So again, have her talk to her doctor, make sure that there’s nothing that in this few-minutes or a few-seconds conversation that I’ve missed, but as of right now, the recommendation would be that she should be able to receive the COVID vaccine.

Bill Walsh: Great. Thank you for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Robert from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Robert. Welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Robert: Yes, this is Robert. I’m trying to find a place to get my vaccine. I called three pharmacies and went to the emergency room, went to the doctor’s office, and nobody has any supply.

Bill Walsh: OK. You know what, Robert, we’re going to ask our staff here to …  well, they already pulled it up. They read my mind. Do you have a pencil, a piece of paper you can take down a phone number?

Ray: I have to go get it.

Bill Walsh: OK. We’ll wait on you. Go ahead. We’ve got the New York COVID vaccine hotline. And just to — while Robert’s getting his writing materials — to our other listeners, AARP has created state-by-state guidelines with helpful information for how you can reach out, and you’ll find toll-free numbers, websites, questions to ask. Go to aarp.org/coronavirus and just pull up your state, and it has all that helpful information. Are you back with us, Robert?

Jean Setzfand: Bill, we can follow up with Robert in one second. Let me ask a question from Facebook, and this is coming from Alice.

Robert: OK.

Jean Setzfand: OK, here we go. Let’s go back to Robert.

Bill Walsh: Hey Robert, let me give you this phone number. Are you ready?

Robert: Yeah.

Bill Walsh: Okay, it’s (833) 697- ...

Robert: Wait.

Bill Walsh: (833) 697-4829. So (833) 697-4829. That’s the vaccine hotline there in New York. Lilly, did you want to add something?

Lilly Kan: Actually, I wondered if I could also give a second number just in case. I know certainly phone lines and also websites have been overwhelmed, so if I can also give a second one for the state of New York, just in case the first one might be busy.

Bill Walsh: Sure, go ahead.

Lilly Kan: So that hotline is also, Robert, 888-364-3065. And now, this is the broader hotline for the state, so certainly you should try the vaccine specific one.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Robert, you in good shape? OK, good luck, Robert. Jean, did you want to go to the question from Alice on Facebook?

Jean Setzfand: Sure. Alice is asking from Facebook, “For homebound senior vaccines, what will ever happen?” This person is a 70-year-old caregiver for an 84-year-old husband with Parkinson’s dementia. So Alice is asking what hope there is around homebound seniors.

Bill Walsh: Lilly, do you want to weigh in on that? Are there any states or counties that are doing a particularly good job … with mobile outreach or anything like that to get vaccines to people who are homebound?

Lilly Kan: Thank you so much for that, Bill. A lot of local health departments right now are indeed in the planning phases. In addition to some of the examples I provided earlier with the engagement that they’ve had with EMS to utilize paramedics, some are working with their local area agency on aging and social services. They’ve been gathering data right now. Just to give you a sense of where in the planning they are, they’ve been gathering data on the number of homebound, older adults. They are trying to match that number with the staff that they have available as they’re planning travel teams. Some health departments are doing nonCOVID-related home visits, such as home safety checks for older adults. And they’re also working with local accessibility services providers. And so what I would say is there are a lot of different partners that health departments are working with that have specifically supported older adults. And so, as a first step in your local community … you can ask those partners that are providing services beyond vaccinations to see if they have yet connected with their local health department to also plan around COVID vaccinations for homebound adults.

Bill Walsh: Thank you, Lilly, for that. And thanks to our listeners for your questions. We’re going to get to more of them shortly … We have the results of that poll we conducted at the outset of the broadcast. We asked about your biggest hurdle in signing up for a vaccine, and it looks like 30 percent of you said the biggest hurdle was having a reliable source of information on where and how to sign up —  30 percent. Nine percent said the technology was confusing; 14 percent of you said there are just too many steps involved. Another 14 percent said there were long wait times on phone lines. And 33 percent of you said you hadn’t had a problem getting signed up. So thank you very much for your answers. Let’s get back to our experts. Dr. Woods, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color has been well-documented. How has the vaccine distribution tried to address this?

Krystina Woods: So, unfortunately, I think COVID-19 … just like a lot of other diseases that we have in this country disproportionately affect people of color. And unfortunately, a lot of that has to do with the access for care in a lot of these communities. Different states have chosen to do this differently, and I can’t speak on a national level, but what I can say is I practice in New York, the hospital I work in is in New York, and there was a real concerted effort to try to get vaccine campaigns into these neighborhoods. Unfortunately, because of a lot of historical missteps and really sort of abuses of trust of the scientific community in these minority communities, there’s a lot of hesitancy around vaccines. There’s a lot of hesitancy around trusting medical information, and I completely understand why that would be the case. And because there’s an understanding that this has happened historically, there has been a lot more outreach to try to educate communities of color, to try to educate some of these communities that are harder hit about the vaccines, about the fact that they’re effective, and about the fact that they’re safe. And so that’s been something that has happened in New York, where there’s been specific outreach to these communities. And some of the ways in which the vaccine was distributed, according to the information that we’ve been getting from the governor and the local department of health, is that there has been an allotment made specifically for these communities. And again, I can’t speak to how it’s been done in other places, but I think it’s an important step, and I think it’s really an important step toward the broader conversation of needing to address the general health care disparities that … occur in these communities.

Bill Walsh: Thanks for that, and Dr. Woods, can you tell if there are any advance preparations that people need to do for a vaccine? I’m thinking about paperwork, insurance information, do they have to fast, or anything else they need to do to prepare.

Krystina Woods: Nothing that they need to do to prepare specifically. The only thing that we are telling people is that usually after you get your first vaccine, you are provided with a vaccine card. We’re asking people to remember to bring that to their next appointment. One thing that helps people — ‘cause sometimes I know I’ve forgotten to bring vaccine cards for my children when I bring them to the pediatrician — take a picture of that card. Oftentimes we don’t forget our phones, and at least then the person who is filling out your information will be able to see evidence of that first vaccine and give you a fresh card that can have the information that you need on there. So that’s really it — just come in, prepared, be ready for the vaccine. There are some people who have been taking Tylenol or Advil or things like that before they get vaccinated because they’re worried about some of the side effects. That’s not a recommended thing to do. Right now, there’s still a lot of work being done to understand whether or not that might impact … how much of an immune response you get after you get the vaccine. I would not recommend that someone takes these things specifically because they’re getting ready to get their vaccine that day. If there’s other reasons why someone is taking those medications, obviously it’s OK, but we don’t want them doing it specifically because they’re afraid that they might have some chills or body aches after the vaccine. After the fact, if someone has them, they can go ahead and take these medications. But we advise not to do it before.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Thank you. Let’s turn to you again, Lilly. What are some of the ways that local health departments have been prioritizing vaccine outreach to people of color and to older adults?

Lilly Kan: Thanks, Bill, and I think that this also builds on what Dr. Woods had mentioned earlier about the need and the importance of supporting people of color through vaccine distribution that is equitable and easily accessible for all people. So local health departments are actively working on equitable COVID vaccine uptake across all communities, all races, ethnicities, and other geographies. And one way local health departments have been prioritizing vaccine outreach to people of color and older adults has, to start, been using data and other information to more specifically inform their outreach efforts. And so some states and counties, when they have this information, they’re also making it available to the public to show where communities and populations — especially those that have been most impacted by the pandemic — live. And so some states and counties …  Santa Clara and Seattle King County, in California and Washington, are two examples that come to mind where they’ve also been able to show data and maps of their COVID-19 vaccination rates by race, ethnicity, and down to the zip code level in some cases. And all of this information helps local health departments to hone in on where they need to do more outreach. And it also helps local partners to work with local health departments on how to support different communities and the people within. And when we talk about outreach, Bill, that local health departments have been doing, it actually falls into two areas. And so one, it does speak to more of the distribution and administration and the logistics of access. It’s really making sure that people have access to vaccination points. So making sure that the clinics are purposefully held in different locations and at different times that are easy for different people with different needs to access. Again, with a high focus on the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. And we, and local health departments, have recognized that this is especially important for people who cannot travel far or at all, or can’t wait for long periods of time to get vaccinated. And they’re currently working on strategies to meet people where they are. Certainly, some of the examples that I’d shared earlier on the planning that they’re currently doing for homebound individuals — the same kind of planning is also happening for other older adults and also communities of color. Some are also providing ...

Bill Walsh: Go ahead, did you have something else?

Lilly Kan: Yeah, some are providing limited vaccinations again in other strategies. But the other thing that I did want to touch upon, especially because Dr. Woods brought it up, there are other areas of outreach, and it really does involve engaging with communities to share information and answer questions about the vaccine itself. We know that there’s a big population that is currently still making their decision about getting vaccinated against COVID-19. We realize that local health departments are currently navigating the high demand; but of the people who are still currently making their decisions, they have a lot of questions. They need a lot of information. And it’s really important to recognize that people are making these decisions in context of their lived experience, and some of that lived experience, again, goes back to what Dr. Woods was saying. Some communities have had a deep history of racial, ethnic and other systemic injustices and inequities that have impacted their trust and confidence in our systems. And so it’s really important to have these conversations, hear the communities, listen to where they are, answer their questions as respectfully and sensitively as possible.

Bill Walsh: OK, Lilly, thanks. That’s all great advice. And Dr. Woods had wisely urged people to bring their vaccination cards if they have a vaccine appointment. One thing we would urge folks not to do is post pictures of that vaccine card online. We’ve seen that happen, and scammers are out there using people’s address to target them if they post those pictures online. So bring your card. Don’t post a picture of it online. Dr. Woods, back to you, we’ve received a lot of calls from people worried that a preexisting health condition or past issues taking vaccines, like the caller earlier, will prevent them from getting a COVID shot. Can you address what factors might preclude someone from receiving a vaccine, if there are any differences among the vaccines.

Krystina Woods: Yes, so if somebody had a reaction in which they were unable to breathe after having had a vaccine previously, that is something that we would need to know about. And in general, these people are excluded from this vaccine. There’s also allergies to something called polyethylene glycol, which exists in a certain form in some of the preparations that people might take as laxatives, or even in sugar-free gum. So if somebody has an allergic reaction to one of those two components, then we would advise them also to speak to an allergist. It depends on the severity of their reaction. If it’s just a rash, it may be something that might be able to work through, but if it’s a more severe reaction, they would be precluded. Other than that, there’s really no reason why somebody should not be able to be vaccinated with the currently approved COVID vaccines.

Bill Walsh: OK, that’s great news. Thank you for that, Dr. Woods.

Krystina Woods: And in fact, I should add that anyone with some of these preexisting medical conditions might be at higher risk for getting severe disease. We know that people with diabetes, with high blood pressure, with longstanding lung disorders, we worry that they’re going to get really sick if they get COVID. So we want them to come in and be vaccinated.

Bill Walsh: Right. So preexisting conditions are a reason to get vaccinated. Not a reason not to.

Krystina Woods: Absolutely.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thank you for that, Dr. Woods. And we’re going to get to more listener questions shortly. But before we do, I’d like to take a moment for an AARP Fraud Watch alert. As of Feb. 1, the Federal Trade Commission has logged nearly 339,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments, with almost 70 percent of them involving fraud or identity theft. Scammers continue to find ways to take advantage through calls, emails and texts, as well as fake ads, to convince people they can jump to the front of the vaccine lines for a fee or by providing their Social Security number or other sensitive personal information. Authorities also anticipate a fresh wave of stimulus scams with Congress approving new rounds of relief payments, enhanced unemployment benefits, and small business loans. But there are some ways you can protect yourselves. Here’s some tips: Be wary of emails, calls and social media posts advertising free or government-ordered COVID-19 tests. Check out the Food and Drug Administration’s website, fda.gov, for a list of approved tests and testing companies. Don’t click on links or download files from unexpected emails. Don’t share personal information such as your Social Security, Medicare or credit card numbers in response to an unsolicited call, text or email. And always turn to trusted sources such as your doctor or local health department for guidance regarding the distribution of a vaccine. Visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about these and other scams, or you can call the Fraud Watch Network Helpline at (877) 905-3360. Now it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Krystina Woods and Lilly Kan. Jean, who is next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Charles from Iowa.

Bill Walsh: Hey Charles, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Charles: Thank you for taking my call. I have just been concerned that I’ve heard conflicting people say that you’re supposed to take Pfizer Pfizer, Moderna Moderna; and then I’ve heard people say you can mix and match; and then I’ve heard people say, you only need one dose. What’s the bottom line?

Bill Walsh: You’re talking about the second dose. Could you take Pfizer first and Moderna second? Is that your question?

Charles: Yeah. Is that a doable thing? I need a clarification, please.

Bill Walsh: OK, thanks for that, Charles. Dr. Woods, can you address that?

Krystina Woods: Yes, so as of right now, the CDC has very clearly come out to say that we should not be mixing the manufacturers. So if you start with a Pfizer, your second dose should be Pfizer. If you start with the Moderna, your second dose should be Moderna. Those are not interchangeable. There has been some conversation outside of the United States about whether or not that is something that should be done, with different countries looking into whether or not that’s something that is allowable; and there are some studies ongoing. But for the United States, the recommendation remains that you get the same manufacturer. So again, if your first dose is Pfizer, your next dose is Pfizer. If your first dose is Moderna, your next dose is Moderna, and nobody is going to be mixing those. So that’s the official answer.

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Tom from Washington.

Bill Walsh: Hey Tom, go ahead with your question.

Tom: Hi, thanks very much. My name’s Tom. I’m just recently retired, and I’m 64 years old, currently not on any sort of a phase that I’m going to get a shot at our current rate of distribution in Washington State. It’s going to be mid-2022 before I’m actually vaccinated. So what I’m interested in, is there anything I can do to help out to speed this whole process up? What can, what could we do to help?

Bill Walsh: That’s a great question. And hopefully you’ll get your vaccination before mid-2022. But Lilly, can you tell Tom and some of our other listeners how they can help out.

Lilly Kan: Absolutely. Tom, thanks for your interest and question. Per what I mentioned earlier on, the situation is changing very rapidly. And so if you do have access to a computer and access to your local health department or state health department’s website, you should start by continuing to monitor those websites for the updates on supply, and as they are changing the different recommended groups. And again, I can’t stress enough how quickly some of that is changing, especially as everyone is trying to get shots into arms as quickly as possible. Now, in some cases — I don’t have information on whether this is available and/or an option for Washington State — but if you are able to volunteer as part of certain vaccination clinics — again, if you have the time, if you are physically able to — there may be some opportunities for those volunteers because, again, of how essential they are to those critical public health and health activities. That might be an option as well. And also the benefit of that is the time that you’re able to support all of the efforts that are happening. But again, that varies by locality and state.

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that, Lilly. And Tom and other listeners who want to help out with volunteer opportunities, I’ll just point to an AARP site that kind of brings all those opportunities together — and you can check by your own zip code about local opportunities. And that site is aarp.org/createthegood. You can also look for AARP’s Community Connections Site, where you can plug into local opportunities. All right, Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Brian from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Brian, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Brian: Some of us are disabled mentally, physically, or both. I heard Nancy from AARP mention mobile vans. How can these disabled, some of whom are immobile, receive a vaccine? Thank you.

Bill Walsh: Lilly, do you want to tackle that question?

Lilly Kan: Thanks so much for that question, Brian. We recognize that people who have disabilities have also been among the people who have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic because of certain challenges in being able to access services and support. Local health departments are working with community partners to also serve and represent communities who have disabilities to make sure they are getting fair and equitable access to COVID vaccination. A lot of planning and a lot of work is underway. And again, a part of what has kept health departments from fully being able to implement some of these programs right now, again, is because the supply is so limited. But also certainly there has been a lot of resources that are currently, as of now, reaching local health departments to do some of that planning and make sure that they have the right staff and partnerships in place to support people with disabilities as equitably and as appropriately as possible.

Bill Walsh: And Brian, I know you’re in New York. We gave out this number earlier, but just in case you didn’t get it, the vaccine hotline in New York is (833) 697-4829. My hope is that they can answer some questions about transportation as well. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Patrice from Michigan.

Bill Walsh: Hey Patrice, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Patrice: Thank you for taking my question. I know here in Michigan, the governor wants at least 70 percent of our population to be vaccinated. So my question is once everyone who wants the vaccine actually gets the vaccine, going forward, is this a vaccine that is … similar to the flu vaccine in only in the case that they should get it every single year?

Bill Walsh: Dr. Woods, can you address that? I’m not sure we know the answer to that question yet, do we?

Krystina Woods: We do not. So there’s still ongoing work to understand whether or not this is going to be a vaccine that’s going to need to be given every year like the flu, or maybe it’s going to be a booster that you need every five or every 10 years, like with tetanus. You have to remember that the virus has really only been known to be circulating on the planet for just a little bit over a year at this point. And the vaccines were created over the summer and were at trial during the summer, so we don’t even have a year’s worth of information yet on those. So we don’t really have enough to say for sure whether or not we’re going to need to have boosters or if we’re going to need to have vaccines every year. I think some of that information will become a little bit more available later on in this year. And we will all have to stay tuned and see what the prevailing scientific data says.

Bill Walsh: And Patrice had mentioned that the governor in Michigan targeted 70 percent of the population. I assume this has something to do with the concept of herd immunity. Can you talk a little bit about that, and is 70 percent the right number we should be aiming for?

Krystina Woods: So there’s a concept of herd immunity — or as I prefer to call it, herd protection. And the idea is that when you have a certain number of people who are immune or who have some protection against a certain disease, that the likelihood of that disease being able to circulate drops because there are no eligible people for it to infect, or so few that it wouldn’t be able to effectively pass from person to person. As we saw in the spring where there was no immunity to this virus, large amounts of communities were being affected and were becoming ill. What we hope with all vaccines is that we can prevent enough disease from transferring in a population. And that’s what this concept of herd immunity or herd protection is. The exact number for that has really been sliding a lot throughout the last several months — numbers that have ranged from 65 percent to 85 percent. Generally for viruses, the amount that we need really depends on how the virus reproduces and how contagious it is. And so we don’t really have a very good handle on what that number is going to be. The most recent data seems to suggest that 70 percent is not going to be enough. But again, that’s really been a sliding target, and I think we’re still learning about that.

Bill Walsh: There’s so much we’re learning about this as we’re experiencing it, isn’t it? Isn’t that right.

Krystina Woods: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing. You know, we’re really living in a historic moment where we have something that hasn’t really happened in a very long time. The last time we can point to any large pandemic was the flu pandemic in 1918. At that time it really did take a good two years before there was any sort of a movement back toward a more normal life in that setting. And that was in a time where they didn’t have the scientific advances that we have. They didn’t have a vaccine. Some of the basic understanding of how diseases transmit were still sort of in their infancy. And so we’re in a better place to tackle it now. And part of it is also that we’re able to have conversations like this, that you’re able to get information, that you’re able to use that information to then protect yourself and to make the best decisions for you and your family. So, there are some benefits to it, but we all have to be patient. And I think in some ways we’ve forgotten how to do that because we’ve gotten so used to things really kind of happening instantly.

Bill Walsh: Exactly. Well, thank you. Jean, let’s go back to the lines. Who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Betty from Wyoming.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Betty. Welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Betty: Thank you for taking my question. We have a son who is living with us as a different age. He will be 60 this year. We’re in our 80s with underlying factors and we’ve had our first shot, but we’re concerned that he hasn’t been able to get a shot, and we wouldn’t be able to stay here without his help. When will caretakers be able to get theirs?

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that, Betty. That’s an excellent question, one we’re hearing from around the country. Lilly, I wonder if you could weigh in on this. For family caregivers who may not be old enough to meet those eligibility guidelines yet. Where do they stand in terms of prioritization?

Lilly Kan: Yeah, certainly. You know, to start because some of the decisions about who is eligible to get vaccines … stem from the federal government but then get applied within state and local jurisdictions by the state health department and in collaboration with different important partners within the state. It’s really important to first check with your local government or state government, and so in most cases, that is either the local health department hotline or website or the state health department website or hotline, because that will give you the best locally tailored information to what groups and what people are recommended. And again, in many cases that is also dependent on what current supply is available and who the local or state health departments and their community partners have already vaccinated. And I’m happy to provide the state COVID hotline number. Certainly, Bill, I recognize that AARP has a number as well.

Bill Walsh: Sure, go for it if you’ve got it there handy.

Lilly Kan: So the state COVID-19 hotline for Wyoming … Betty, if you are ready, do you have a pen?

Bill Walsh: She is not on the line, but go ahead and give it to her.

Lilly Kan: Sure.

Bill Walsh: We’ll make sure she gets it. Go ahead, call it out.

Lilly Kan: Great. That number is 888-425-7138.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. And just for all of our listeners, again, AARP has state-by-state guides with helpful toll-free numbers, websites, and questions to ask. if you go to aarp.org/coronavirus and just look for your state there. Jean, who is next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have Alan from Florida online.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Alan, go ahead with your question.

Alan: Hi, can you hear me?

Bill Walsh: I can hear you just fine.

Alan: Thank you very much. I have a three-part question. My local health department has contacted me to schedule my second Pfizer COVID vaccine and … changed my date from 21 days after the first vaccine to now 17 days for the second. I read the CDC has said it may, that it can be four days earlier, but is it really safe to get it after 17 days and not wait 21?

Bill Walsh: OK, and did you say you had another question?

Alan: And with regard to that question, will my response or immunity be affected? And could I have more side effects from this vaccine because I’m getting it earlier?

Bill Walsh: Let’s ask Dr. Woods about that.

Krystina Woods: I can tell you that you’re not alone. My hospital had started vaccinating health care workers in late December, and we actually did it 17 days apart. And we also had the Pfizer. So like you, I got mine in 17 days. We can absolutely do that without there being any safety issues. There’s no evidence to say that you’re going to have any more or less side effects by moving it up to 17 days. And in some way, I think that it may just sort of help states to … schedule people and to kind of keep people moving. So I don’t … object to them doing that, and I don’t have any concerns about it. And as far as any immune response, there’s no evidence to show that your immune response should be any worse or any different by getting it a few days early. So feel confident in the date. Go get your second vaccine, and hopefully you’ll be well-protected.

Bill Walsh: Very good, thank you Dr. Woods. And thanks Alan, for that question. Jean, who is next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Carol from Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Hey Carol, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Carol: I’m the one who called about the question about the antibodies and the immune response to the vaccine, if it’s sufficient to be a protection. And Dr. Fauci did mention something about an enhancement, I guess, of the virus, if you don’t produce your own antibodies … in sufficient quantity. So I was concerned if that’s the mechanism, and if it’s an attenuated virus, it’s not completely killed, I can’t get the live vaccine. For instance, the shingles, I couldn’t get that because of (inaudible), but I tend to all the necessary vaccinations that I could get. And especially the flu every year by October, I get it because of my problem. So should I not worry about getting the vaccine? Could I possibly have what Dr. Fauci described as an enhancement? And one of the, I believe it was, I don’t know what organization, one doctor from that mentioned also, he mentioned it as an enhancement. So I’m hesitant for that reason about the vaccine, and how it would affect me … or not be of any effect for that matter.

Bill Walsh: OK, let’s ask Dr. Woods if she can help out with that.

Krystina Woods: I didn’t quite grasp the entirety of the question, but I’m going to try to do my best to piece it together. If you have any kind of a medical problem that prevents you from having a very strong immune response — so if you don’t really tend to mount antibodies, say, to other vaccines — there is a potential that you may not mount the best response to this vaccine as well. I don’t think that that’s a reason to not get it, because even if you were to have some small amount of protection, my argument would be that the disease is severe enough that I would prefer my patients, my relatives, to even have some small amount of protection over none at all. And we don’t really have a perfect way of measuring how well we respond to this vaccine yet in terms of any kind of blood tests in a laboratory. I would say that somebody should try to get some amount of protection as opposed to none. With regards to problems with live vaccines, this is not a live vaccine, so you should not have any problems with getting this. They’re not injecting virus — actually with the Pfizer and the Moderna, what they’re doing is they’re injecting you with a little fat bubble and inside that fat bubble is essentially a recipe for the spike protein, which sits on the coronavirus. I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of it. It looks like a spiky ball, and those little spikes that come off of it are the things that this vaccine is training our own immune system to respond to. So if you’ve had problems with live vaccines before, again, this is not a contraindication. You can go ahead and get the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine without an issue. If you’re saying that you had COVID before, and the question is whether or not this is going to do anything to the immune response there, there was some suggestion that people who had COVID, when they get these vaccines, that they might have a more severe reaction to it. Maybe some fevers and chills and things like that. That hasn’t born out in a lot of the scientific studies that have come out on that, and at least also from speaking to people, even within my own hospital community who did have COVID last spring, they on the whole did not have any sort of symptoms that were more severe compared to their peers who didn’t have it. And so there’s also a question as to whether or not somebody who had it in the past needs to have both vaccines. The conversation that I had heard Dr. Fauci having about this was that the vaccine can sort of serve as a booster to someone’s own natural immunity against COVID. As of right now, the recommendation still does remain that somebody who has had COVID in the past goes and gets both doses, if they’re getting the Pfizer and Moderna; if they’re getting the Johnson & Johnson, there’s just one, anyway. So hopefully that answers your questions. I’m trying to imagine … what I missed at the very beginning of the conversation. It was cutting out.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Let’s take one more question. Jean, who do we have on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Our last caller is Myrtle from Missouri.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Myrtle. Go ahead with your question.

Myrtle: Hello? Can you hear me?

Bill Walsh: I can hear you just fine. Go ahead with your question.

Myrtle: My question is — you kind of answered some of it; it’s kind of two-part. You addressed, like I said, the areas of color where there’s like a distrust, and I have to say, I’m in that category. So based on how this vaccine was created at warp speed and it’s a new technology, this messenger RNA, how can the person feel confident that this vaccine, taking the vaccine is not going to either affect them immediately or in the long term? What I mean, what evidence supports that taking the vaccine is safe?

Bill Walsh: That’s a great question, Myrtle. Thanks for that. Dr. Woods, can you address the science behind it and how do we know it works, how do we know it’s safe?

Krystina Woods: Absolutely. And I completely understand those concerns. And I think that when we look at it on balance, all communities are concerned about whether or not this is safe. And I can completely understand that in certain communities, again, where there is just a hesitancy toward vaccines and sort of toward information, that you kind of think about it twice and want to really kind of get a granular understanding of how this happened. I think the unfortunate thing was that this whole process was titled Warp Speed. I think … on reflection perhaps there could have been a better sort of term for that whole process, because I think that also has increased some of the anxiety that people have. But to break it down, this is a new technology, but it’s not something that has only been developed in the last year. This vaccine technology has been around for over a decade. It’s been used in other applications, including in cancer. And so we do have safety data based on at least that amount of time to know that there have not been safety concerns tied to this type of technology for vaccines. I think that’s reassuring. The other thing to understand is that usually when there’s vaccine trials, they do take a long time, and that’s for a variety of reasons. Part of it is because they require funding, and funding for certain diseases is not necessarily always very exciting, especially if it’s a disease that’s thought to be maybe not as troublesome or not as immediately important. So because this affected the globe in such a really overwhelming way, the funding for this vaccine was readily available in a lot of governments and a lot of organizations stepped forward to fund it. So that helped take care of that hurdle. The other thing is getting people to enroll, and, again, to convince someone that it’s important to enroll for a vaccine for a disease that affects some small population somewhere that’s really far away is a tough thing to do. And there are people who do enroll in trials and do sort of participate in this type of scientific discovery, but for the most part, enrolling people in enough numbers has always been a challenge for a lot of vaccine trials. And so that’s another reason why it traditionally would take longer. But again, understanding of how urgent this is, a lot of people did step forward and volunteer for it. And so the numbers that they were able to recruit were really large. Most of the time when we see any sort of really concerning types of problems that arise from vaccines, it happens in the first 90 days in which we would expect to see anything really major happen. Other things happen more immediately, so within the first 30 days, you can have other effects also. And again, these trials were done over the summer. We have now at least more than three months’ worth of data in which to say that it is safe in that time. And again, we do still have a decades-plus worth of data of that technology to say that it is safe. So while it did move very quickly for coronavirus itself, the technology has been around for over a decade and there is safety data that does support that. I also think that if you look at the efficacy again, it is really staggering to see that it really is preventing hospitalizations and deaths, and in communities of color who have been so disproportionately affected by this. I think that really is a compelling argument for getting the vaccine. These are the communities that you would want to accept this vaccine more because they are the communities that are being most effected, and so I would hope that you and the members of your community do weigh this up and do seriously consider being vaccinated.

Bill Walsh: OK, Dr. Woods. Thank you so much for that. Myrtle, thanks for that question. Dr. Woods and Lilly Kan, I wonder if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations that our listeners should understand most from the conversation today? Lilly, do you want to go first?

Lilly Kan: Sure. Thank you, Bill. We certainly recognize that there have been bumps in the road as the COVID-19 vaccination program has been rolled out. And it was something that was to be expected. It is a very complex, fast-moving system that public health practitioners at all levels of government have been working really hard to put into place. The good news is that the same public health experts who are working on this have extensive experience with vaccine distribution and administration, and will continue to work hard and quickly to overcome obstacles. And so really, with that in mind, we just so appreciate your understanding and patience as you have been navigating the complex circumstances and not always having the information that you need. But know that everyone is working really hard to correct these things. Thanks, Bill.

Bill Walsh: Thank you very much for that, Lilly. Dr. Woods, any closing thoughts or recommendations?

Krystina Woods: Just wanted to say to all the listeners, thank you for coming and looking for the information and for really wanting to understand this. And I think it’s really important that you talk to your friends and your family and try to gather as much information as you can about the vaccine, about its safety, and hopefully you’ll be able to make those appointments when they become available to you. I understand your frustration in wanting to get this, and I’m really, really heartened by the fact that so many people are really embracing the vaccination process and wanting to do it. I can say that amongst the health care professionals, that is something that we’re very excited to see that this is being well received by the public. And I just urge you to try to get yourself registered for this vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. Stick with the process and know that it will provide you with the protection that we were all hoping that it would when it was being developed.

Bill Walsh: Thank you for that, Dr. Woods, and thanks to both of you for answering our questions. It’s been a really informative session. And thank you to you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we’re providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and prevent its spread to others while also taking care of themselves. All of the resources we referenced today, including a recording of today’s Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning Feb. 12. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you or your loved ones healthy and safe. Please join us again in two weeks, that’s Feb. 25, for our next live discussion about coronavirus vaccines. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall 021121 Your Questions Answered With Timestamps

Bill Walsh:  Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you’d like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish press *0 on your telephone keypad now. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Of course, vaccine distribution is top of mind for everyone as the coronavirus continues to limit our freedom and threaten our sense of safety and well-being. Anxiety and frustration are high with new virus variants emerging, continued vaccine distribution backlogs, and confusing signup systems. We will address these issues and more with our expert panel and take your questions live. If you’ve participated in one of our telephone town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask your questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question. If you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

[00:01:59] Joining us today are Krystina Woods, M.D., hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention at Mount Sinai West. She is also senior assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. We also have Lilly Kan, senior director of Infectious Disease and Informatics for the National Association of County and City Health Officials. We’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

[00:02:58] Now I’d like to bring in our guest Krystina Woods, M.D., hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention at Mount Sinai West. She is also senior assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Woods.

[00:03:17]Krystina Woods:  Thank you so much, Bill, I’m very happy to be here.

[00:03:21]Bill Walsh:  All right. We’re delighted to have you. I’d also like to welcome Lilly Kan. Lilly is the senior director of Infectious Disease and Informatics for the National Association of County and City Health Officials. She’s an expert on how health care associated infections impact public health at the local level. Welcome to the program, Lilly.

[00:03:41]Lilly Kan:  Thank you so much, Bill, pleased to be with you all.

[00:03:44]Bill Walsh:  All right. Well, let’s get started with the discussion. Before we begin, we want to hear from you. Please take a moment to tell us what is your biggest hurdle in signing up for a vaccine. Press 1 on your telephone keypad for obtaining a reliable source of information on signing up. Press 2 for using confusing technology. Press 3 if there are too many steps involved. Press 4 for long wait times on the phone lines. And press 5 if you haven’t had a problem signing up for the vaccine. So a quick poll: What is your biggest need around vaccine distribution? Press 1 for obtaining reliable signup information. Press 2 for using confusing technology. Press 3 for too many steps to sign up. Press 4 for long wait times on phone lines. And press 5 if you haven’t had a problem signing up. Thank you, and we’ll give you the results of that poll later on in the event.

[00:04:56] And now to our experts. Dr. Woods, let’s start with you. At this time, we have two approved vaccines, the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine, and two more expected: one from AstraZeneca and another from Johnson & Johnson. What are the key differences among these? And do consumers have an option of which one to take?

[00:05:18]Krystina Woods:  So the differences are mostly in the way that the vaccines are engineered. The Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines are engineered in a newer way. They’re called mRNA vaccines. And the AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are engineered based on older technologies that we have. Generally there isn’t really a choice as to which one you get. Vaccine centers have certain allotments of vaccines and a lot of that is based on their capability to store the vaccines properly, and so often when you go, it’s not like they give you a menu and say, well, would you like this one or would you like that one? They often have a certain one in stock and that is the one that you receive when you arrive at the center or at the pharmacy.

[00:06:06]Bill Walsh:  Got it. And I think as we all know by now, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only one shot and is 66 percent effective compared to 95 percent efficacy for the earlier vaccines that required the two shots. Does the reduced effectiveness of the single shot vaccines matter?

[00:06:28]Krystina Woods:  I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what is meant by efficacy when it comes to vaccines. It’s not that most people think that oh well, if it’s 95 percent effective, then I have a 95 percent chance of being covered by the vaccine and a 5 percent chance of not being covered by the vaccine. And that’s not actually what it means. What it means is that when they looked at the trials, the people who got the vaccine compared to those who didn’t get the vaccine, when they say it’s efficacious, so 95 percent efficacy means that compared to those who didn’t get the vaccine, those who were vaccinated had a 95 percent lower risk of getting symptomatic disease. I think that’s the first important thing to understand when we talk about efficacy. The other thing is that when these trials happened, they happened at different times. And so the Johnson & Johnson trial was happening during a time when more of these variants were circulating, particularly when the Canterbury variant, or it’s also called the UK variant, was circulating. And so that may have had some impact on the efficacy of the vaccine. But the more important discussion … is the fact that all of the vaccines have shown 100 percent efficacy at preventing severe disease. And I think that’s really the take-home point. It doesn’t matter which one somebody received. It had a 100 percent efficacy in preventing severe disease. And those who actually waited the full time, from the time that they received their first dose to the time when it was fully considered effective — which is six weeks from the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, or seven weeks from the first dose of the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine — there were no hospitalizations and no deaths from COVID. And I think that really is the more important thing to understand, that numbers of efficacy are interesting from a scientific standpoint, but from the everyday take-home practical standpoint, you want to know that you’re not going to end up in the hospital, and you want to know that you’re not going to end up dying from this. And all of the vaccines had a 100 percent efficacy that prevented that.

[00:08:33]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that clarification. That was really helpful, Dr. Woods. Lilly, I’d like to bring you in here. And let’s start with the most important issue for so many people right now, and that’s getting access to the vaccine. While the situation will vary from place to place, if someone’s having a problem getting a vaccine appointment locally, what should they do?

[00:08:52]Lilly Kan:  Thanks for that question, Bill. First of all, I really want to start by thanking everyone who’s listening today … because all of the work that you are doing to keep yourself healthy and safe while we wait for COVID-19 vaccines to become more widely available is so important. And we know that it takes so much work. And so all of the things that you are doing to continue socially distancing yourselves, practicing good hand hygiene, and wearing masks during this time still remain the most important things that we can continue to do. So with that in mind, if someone is having a problem getting a vaccine appointment locally, because perhaps appointments just aren’t available at this time, it’s first really important to remember that the current supply of COVID-19 vaccines is still really low, which becomes especially challenging as more people become eligible to get the vaccine. For example, one state is receiving approximately 10,000 doses per day for over 1.5 million people who are eligible. One local health department in a different state was allotted 100 doses this week for their community. Now local health departments have been working very hard to quickly administer the doses of vaccine that they do have, but again, there are local health departments that have received very few doses of vaccine to administer at this time. And this may also be the case for other places that are also vaccinating people, such as hospitals, pharmacies or health centers. And these places are working alongside local health departments to vaccinate people, and may also not have enough supply at this time. But again, as you said, Bill, the situation really does vary from place to place. And the situation is constantly changing, especially when it comes to vaccine supply. I’m sure many of you have heard in the news about how the federal government is working to increase the vaccine supply to states, tribes and territories. And it’s important to remember that the vaccine will eventually be available to everyone, but we are just not there yet. And I realize it can be really difficult to have patience these days when we’re all so ready to get through this pandemic, but really having patience and remaining vigilant about when vaccine appointments and clinics do become available are some of the important things that people can do right now, as we are still dealing with the very limited vaccine supply.

[00:11:28]Bill Walsh:  Well, one plug I’ll give to AARP is, we’ve created state-by-state guides to help people figure out what websites, what phone numbers to call in their state. So if you’re looking for that information, go to aarp.org/coronavirus. You just pick your state name, and we have a whole bunch of information on how to reach out locally there. No guarantee that they’ll have the vaccine supplies, Lilly pointed out, but the resource is there, and you can begin trying to sign up. Lilly, let me follow up on that. You represent local health officials, and they’ve been at the forefront of the pandemic since day one. And as we just were discussing, we’re in crisis mode on vaccine distribution. We’ve seen long lines and people unable to get appointments. What’s the biggest challenge for local health officials, and what’s being done to address it?

[00:12:24]Lilly Kan:  So beyond the challenge of navigating the limited vaccine supply — which again, I know is a challenge many of us are facing — but the biggest challenge for local health officials has really been having insufficient resources, and specifically money and people from the start. And to provide just a little more context, before the pandemic we had seen local health departments lose almost a quarter of their workforce since 2008, meaning shedding over 50,000 jobs. And with these circumstances, local health departments are forced to shift resources from other public health activities to adapt to the demands of emergencies. And since the start of the pandemic, local health department staff have been pulled away from other essential areas like food safety, HIV prevention, overdose prevention and response, and also immunization. And in fact, when we asked last spring how COVID-19 had impacted regular local health department immunization programs and services, most who responded indicated that they had to reassign their immunization staff to support the response, and a number of local health departments also indicated that they needed to shift money from their regular immunization program budgets to support the response. And these regular immunization activities were efforts that health departments were taking to prevent us and protect us and our loved ones from measles, seasonal influenza, hepatitis A, and again, other vaccine preventable diseases. And so I try in this context to say that the same local health department staffs who are responsible for vaccinations and protecting our communities, they were the same staff who got pulled away from those duties again to support things like COVID-19 contact tracing, and supporting people who needed to isolate and quarantine. And we’re now relying on those same people to vaccinate us against COVID-19. But the good news is that funding and resources are increasingly becoming available to support local health departments. But even then, it can still take time for those resources to reach local health departments in a way that allows them to bring on more people who are trained and experienced. But we also know that health departments are working through this now, even as they’re managing the current supply that they have.

[00:14:42]Bill Walsh:  Thanks for that, Lilly. Let me turn back to you, Dr. Woods. I wonder if you could talk about the new variants of COVID that we’re hearing so much about. What is the threat that they will become the dominant strain, and where does that leave us? Are the vaccines effective against these new variants?

[00:15:01]Krystina Woods:  Obviously, the news has been reporting on this pretty widely. There are three that we’ve been watching very closely, but I think everyone needs to understand that the basis of the way that viruses work is that they do mutate. So this isn’t something that’s unexpected. This is certainly something that we know happens, and what we do is we look at these and see if these mutations that the viruses undergo to become these variants, whether or not that makes them any more dangerous, whether it makes them more easily to transmit, whether it makes them have people get sicker in larger numbers or more severe illness after they contract it. So these are the things that we look at. We do know from the information from the United Kingdom that the variant that was found there, again, the Canterbury variant or so-called the UK COVID variant, it did actually quite quickly become a pretty dominant strain there. And that’s because it’s a lot more contagious; and so that makes sense, if something’s more contagious, it’s going to spread more, and it can get a little bit more of a foothold. What we do know though, is that so far these vaccines that we have look like they have good efficacy against that variant. The one variant that potentially might not have as good efficacy is the one that’s coming out of South Africa, and a lot of these vaccine manufacturers are already aware of that, and they’re working on tweaking the vaccines themselves so that they can be more effective toward that variant. We don’t yet know if that’s going to mean that at some point, we’re going to need a special booster for that specific variant. As of right now, again, it’s not circulating in such wide numbers, nor is it really as big of a concern that we think that this is something that has to happen right away, but it’s good to know that the manufacturers are aware of it and they’re working on a vaccine that’s going to be more targeted to be more efficacious against that variant.

[00:16:53]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Well, thank you so much for that, Dr. Woods. We appreciate it. We are going to get to your live questions shortly, but before we do, I wanted to bring in AARP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, Nancy LeaMond. Welcome, Nancy.

[00:17:17]Nancy LeaMond:  Thanks, Bill, great to be here.

[00:17:19]Bill Walsh:  Nancy, as the vaccines are being distributed, there’s a lot of confusion around the country, and we hear and see a lot of frustration from older people. What is AARP doing to fight for these folks?

[00:17:33]Nancy LeaMond:  Well, thanks again for having me, Bill. It has been nearly a year since COVID-19 altered life as we all knew it. We’ve been isolated from loved ones, and too many have lost family, friends, jobs and life savings. Older Americans have been hit especially hard, more than 95 percent of the 440,000-plus deaths have been among those age 50 and older. And the loss of more than 153,000 lives in nursing homes is a national disgrace. We’ve all been waiting for vaccines to help stop the disease and restore our way of life, but vaccines only work if we can get them into people’s arms, and there is tremendous demand for vaccines and that demand is also being met by tremendous confusion. I know that you’re incredibly frustrated — so many of you on the line today, and I’m frustrated, too. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks on websites here in my own in my own town. But that’s why AARP is fighting for older adults to be prioritized, and fighting to make the online process easier so that you can go to one place to get clear information about when, where and how to sign up to get vaccinated. And for those who aren’t online or having difficulty navigating all the online systems, we’re urging the federal government to work with states to develop 1-800 numbers for scheduling vaccine appointments that are centralized, well-staffed and offer culturally competent customer service in several languages. We’ve also supported mobile vans being available for those who simply cannot leave their homes. We commend actions taken by the Biden Administration to get more vaccine supply out to states and expand where vaccinations are available to include more pharmacies, community health centers, and in some states, even sports arenas. AARP advocates in every single state, and we make sure that we’re urging governors and state legislators, and all elected officials, to improve information and coordination on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. And many of our staff and our volunteers are serving on advisory boards. We’re also expanding our efforts to provide people 50-plus with trusted information about vaccines. For example, as Bill mentioned, we’ve published online guides for every state explaining how to get the vaccine where you live. AARP State Offices are also hosting dozens of local conversations like this one each week, and volunteers are finding ways to check in on others to provide local information about vaccines. As the rollout continues, we will keep the pressure up on elected officials and continue to provide critical information to our members. To stay up-to-date on all of these efforts and find summaries of state plans for vaccine distribution, please visit aarp.org/coronavirus. Thanks again, Bill.

[00:20:56]Bill Walsh:  Thank you, Nancy, for that update. Really appreciate it. It’s now time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Krystina Woods and Lilly Kan. I’d like to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. Welcome, Jean.

[00:21:25]Jean Setzfand:  Thanks so much, Bill. Delighted to be here.

[00:21:29]Bill Walsh:  All right. Who is our first caller?

[00:21:31]Jean Setzfand:  Our first caller is Eileen from New York.

[00:21:35]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Eileen, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:21:42]Eileen:  Oh, hi, good afternoon.

[00:21:43]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Eileen. Very good. Go ahead with your question.

[00:21:46]Eileen:  I’d like to know, after your second dose of the shot, how many weeks does it take for the body to build immunity after the vaccination? Whether it’s Moderna or Pfizer?

[00:22:01]Bill Walsh:  OK, let’s ask Dr. Woods that question. Dr. Woods, can you answer Eileen’s question.

[00:22:06]Krystina Woods:  I think the better way to look at this is actually counting from the very first dose that you received rather than the second, because there’s a little bit of a difference in how many days you can possibly get your second dose in. It would be six weeks from the first dose of your Moderna vaccine, or seven weeks from the first dose of Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson. So look at the dose of your first, or the date of your first one, and it will be six weeks from that date, assuming that you got both doses. If you skipped your second dose, that doesn’t count. But if you’ve got both of them, six weeks from the first dose of the Moderna or seven weeks from the first dose of Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson gets you to what we would consider maximum efficacy, assuming that you also don’t have any immune problems.

[00:22:52]Bill Walsh:  Let me follow up to that. Given the supply problems, if folks got their first dose, but there’s a delay in the second one, what should they do?

[00:23:02]Krystina Woods:  The advice is to really try to contact the vaccine center and make sure that you get your second dose. I know that there have been problems in the state of New Jersey, where I live, where people had made their first appointment and didn’t get a second one. And they are making efforts to try to call those individuals. They’ve identified them, and they’re trying to call them, but I imagine that’s going to be a lengthy process. I think the best advice I have for anyone is if you’re going to get your first dose, before you leave make sure there’s a second one that has been scheduled. You’re going to have a lot better luck when you’re onsite dealing with somebody there than if you’ve already gone home and you’re trying to kind of call in and do all those processes. We do know that there is a little bit of time in which there is some wiggle room. So all is not lost if you’re waiting a little longer than expected for the second dose, but certainly the closer you can get it to the routine schedule that we recommend, the better.

[00:23:56]Bill Walsh:  OK, thank you for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

[00:24:00]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Sandy from California.

[00:24:03]Bill Walsh:  Hi, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your call.

[00:24:06]Sandy:  Hello, thank you for taking my call and good day to all of you. I am homebound. I don’t drive. I really have no one to help me. And I can’t use the internet. I have vision issues. What do I do to get a vaccine?

[00:24:25]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Woods, do you want to try to tackle that question?

[00:24:29]Krystina Woods:  Oh, that’s a very difficult one. I know that for a lot of … hospitals, like mine included, we have lists of patients who are eligible for a vaccine, and we do have some people who are doing outreach to those patients, calling them, and asking them if they’re intending on being vaccinated and trying to help them through that process. I don’t know if you have ties to a medical center where you’ve received your care, or if you have a doctor’s office. That may be one place to start, especially if it’s a larger practice, or again, something tied to a hospital where there may be social workers or other volunteers who are working on this. I don’t know if our other speaker, Lilly, I don’t know if you have any other suggestions.

[00:25:14]Bill Walsh:  Lilly, do you have any suggestions for Sandy?

[00:25:18]Lilly Kan:  Thanks so much, Dr. Woods and Bill. I also recognize what a big challenge it is for people who are homebound and also have difficulty accessing information online. I think where there are telephone numbers available at the state or local level and certainly the resource, Bill, that you mentioned from AARP is a really important resource to get some of that information. NACCHO also has a document of contact information at the state and local level that individuals can call. If you don’t have somebody who can help support you through some of those things, we have heard examples of local health departments right now that are either planning or in the various stages of rolling out efforts to better reach people who are homebound, which typically have been older adults. And so, for example, some local health departments are collaborating with emergency medical services to utilize paramedics and senior services partners to reach individuals at their homes. Some were actually already providing COVID testing services to homebound older adults on a very limited basis. And they’re trying to figure out how to pivot some of that infrastructure to support people for COVID vaccinations. Now, I don’t currently have information about whether that is happening in California right now, because whether this is actually already happening at the local level really does vary. Again, we know that just different local health departments are in the various stages of actually being able to do this more broadly, in part, because, again, vaccine supply is so low, but local health departments have absolutely been determining how they can work to build teams of people that can reach people who are homebound.

[00:27:05]Bill Walsh:  OK, thank you very much, Lilly and Dr. Woods. And Sandy, just hang on the line. We are looking for the number for the health department near you. Our excellent staff here at AARP has just pulled it up for me. If you have something to write with, maybe you can take down this number, Sandy. It’s [833] 422-4255. That’s California’s COVID-19 hotline, and they should be able to give you some information. I hope that works for you, Sandy; thanks very much for the call. Jean, who’s next on the line?

[00:27:45]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Bunny from Wyoming.

[00:27:48]Bill Walsh:  Hey Bunny, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:27:53]Bunny:  Thank you so much. I just heard today that the CDC is saying that fully vaccinated people don’t need to quarantine after a COVID exposure. Sounds great to me. Have you heard it, and is it true?

[00:28:11]Bill Walsh:  I have not, but let’s have Dr. Woods weigh in on that. Have you heard that Dr. Woods?

[00:28:17]Krystina Woods:  So yes, as of right now, they’re saying that if you’re fully vaccinated — it means … it’s been at least two weeks since your second dose … or if you’re more than two weeks from receiving the first dose of a single dose vaccine; so again, if you got the Johnson & Johnson, you only need the one — and as long as you’re asymptomatic, meaning you don’t have any symptoms of COVID, and if it’s within three months following the receipt of the last dose, then you would not need to quarantine. So there’s a couple of exceptions to that. You need to make sure you’re in the right timeline after having received your second dose or your last dose of the vaccine, that you’re within three months of that happening, and that you don’t have any symptoms. I suspect there will be some changes to this as we gather more information, but that’s what they’re saying as of, I believe that came out yesterday.

[00:29:12]Bill Walsh:  Did that guidance, Dr. Woods, address mask wearing or social distancing, if people do go out?

[00:29:18]Krystina Woods:  We still need to do all that, and part of the assumption is that even after this exposure, that the person who has been exposed is continuing to mask and distance. So that has not yet come off the table, and part of that is because the vaccines assessed whether or not people were able to get symptomatic COVID. They didn’t actually assess to what degree you can be asymptomatically infected after this vaccine, or to what degree you can then carry COVID if you were in contact with someone who is positive. So until we have that information, which they’re looking into, we’re not going to be able to get rid of the masking, and we’re not really going to be able to give any more guidance on changing some of the behaviors that we’ve asked people to continue. So for now, the masking, the distancing remains, the handwashing remains, but potentially some of the quarantine restrictions may be changing.

[00:30:09]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. Thanks for that. Jean who is our next call?

[00:30:13]Jean Setzfand:  We have quite a few calls or questions coming in from YouTube and Facebook. This is coming from Tom on YouTube, and he’s asking, “Is my immunity protecting me from COVID variants? Or should I get the shot now? I’m in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, and the UK variant has been found here.”

[00:30:33]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Woods, do you have any thoughts on that?

[00:30:35]Krystina Woods:  For now, because we don’t know any differently, we are recommending that anybody who has been sick goes ahead and gets the vaccine because we do have data that the vaccine does provide some protection. We don’t have data that natural infection does.

[00:30:53]Bill Walsh:  Thank you. Jean, who is our next caller?

[00:30:57]Jean Setzfand:  We have another YouTube question again, here from SG on YouTube. And the person is asking, “I’ve heard that some in media are telling people to sign up in all of the counties in the state,” and this person is coming from Tennessee. “I really object to that because it’s taking up slots from others and cannot sign up for that. What’s your guidance on this?”

[00:31:19]Bill Walsh:  Lilly, I wonder if you could address that question. Should people be signing up at all the different counties around the states?

[00:31:28]Lilly Kan:  Certainly the approach that states and local health departments are taking to start is to make sure that the residents of the communities that they are serving have all of the options that they have to register and preregister for when COVID-19 [vaccine] becomes available. So it’s really important, absolutely, that the first step should be to focus on the options that you have available within your community and with your county, especially recognizing that the appointments that are available per your county are also tied to the places where you are going to need to go. So to sign up for different counties may also ultimately be very challenging if then the actual appointment that is made in a different community is actually very difficult to get to. That said, we recognize that a lot of people are taking different approaches, but I would certainly say to start is focus on the options that you have available within your county or city or town, because again, that will be — also once an appointment is made and you can get the vaccine — the easiest place to physically get it.

[00:32:45]Bill Walsh:  Thanks for that, Lilly. And as SG points out in this question, it will not clog up the system for everyone else who actually lives in the county, right? It seems like it’s a way of gaming the system. All right, Jean, let’s go to our next caller.

[00:33:02]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Robert from Illinois.

[00:33:06]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Robert, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:33:09]Robert:  Thank you. Yes, I’m interested in the Johnson & Johnson, if and when it should get approved, how it’s limited to a one-shot deal? My question is, you explained earlier that any of the shots would prevent you from catching COVID. If that’s the case, what is the advantage, if any, for the Moderna and the Pfizer being a higher percentage rate of efficacy? What am I getting? What’s happening that’s so much better than the one-shot Johnson at 66.

[00:33:49]Bill Walsh:  Let’s ask Dr. Woods. You addressed this a little bit earlier, but maybe you could explain it again, Dr. Woods, ‘cause I think there is some confusion out there.

[00:33:56]Krystina Woods:  Yes, so again, when the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines were undergoing their trials, they were done in a setting in which we did not have any of the variants circulating. And so that is why we think that there’s such a difference in the efficacy that has been shown in those compared to the Johnson & Johnson trial, which has shown a lower efficacy compared to those two. However, again, I think the more important thing here is that what we’re looking at is we want to make sure that people aren’t getting severe COVID disease. We don’t know if some people who are vaccinated are getting COVID, but they’re just completely asymptomatic, so again, we have to sort of wait and see the data on that. But we do know that all of these vaccines are equally effective at preventing severe disease, at preventing hospitalization, and preventing death. And that’s really the thing that we look for with these vaccines, and really the message that I think really should be the one getting out there. I agree with you that getting a one-dose vaccine is easier because then you don’t have to worry about going back and scheduling your second dose or a lot of complications for that. Not everyone is able to get around as easily. Sometimes you’re waiting for other family members or friends or someone to help get you to the vaccine center and back. So I definitely see a good benefit in having a one-dose vaccine from that perspective, and if it were me and I was recommending it to a family member, I would feel equally comfortable with them getting any of those vaccines, knowing that they would be protected from severe illness, from hospitalization, and death.

[00:35:31]Bill Walsh:  It sounds like what you’re saying that aside from the one- or two-dose regimens for the different vaccines that they’re all equally effective at preventing hospitalizations, deaths, severe illnesses from COVID. Is that fair?

[00:35:45]Krystina Woods:  Yes. Where they’re not equally effective is that people who could potentially still have symptomatic disease. But again, if those symptoms are mild, we don’t worry about it as much because it’s not going to have an impact on somebody’s life and on … them needing to seek any kind of higher medical care. It’ll end up being something that’ll be more akin to an upper respiratory illness, a cold, a flu, but that’s mild compared to somebody who isn’t vaccinated, who could potentially end up in the hospital needing pretty severe medical care and potentially dying.

[00:36:22]Bill Walsh:  Right, very good. Thanks again for that clarification. Jean, let’s go back to the phones. Who is our next caller?

[00:36:30]Jean Setzfand:  We have another question coming in from Facebook, and this one’s coming from Kimberly, who’s asking, “What is this program that drugstores will be able to administer the vaccine? Shouldn’t it be through the health department assigning you a location? How can you just walk into a store and get a vaccine?”

[00:36:47]Bill Walsh:  Lilly, could you address that?

[00:36:50]Lilly Kan:  Absolutely. So what Kimberly is asking about is the federal retail pharmacy program. And this is a program that the federal government is rolling out incrementally now as an added way to increase access that people have to COVID-19 vaccinations. And this is not meant to replace what local health departments are already doing to administer their supply of COVID-19 vaccines. It is not meant to replace what hospitals and health centers are currently doing, as well as other community vaccinators. But it is also recognizing that people live in different places, and they have different access points. And pharmacies can be an important access point for many people to get their COVID-19 vaccination. The initial rollout of this program that is just happening this week, again, is an initial phase to test also the system and processes so that when vaccines can be more widely available in the upcoming months, that this system will also be robust and the rollout, and if there are any kinks, they are worked out during these next few months, so that, again, it is another layer that complements what health departments at the local level and also their community vaccinators are doing.

[00:38:28]Bill Walsh:  It’s very interesting. I mean, my own mother was told to go to her local pharmacy to get vaccinated, and that was pretty unusual. Are most pharmacies set up to administer vaccines?

[00:38:43]Lilly Kan:  It really does vary by city and county within states. We have certainly seen how pharmacies have been involved, and also working hand in hand with local health departments to coordinate their vaccination efforts to make sure that they are really reaching the widest set of their communities as possible, and not necessarily duplicating their reach to the same population. And a lot of that work and those partnerships have already been in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with other routinely recommended immunizations. And so there’s a good foundation from which we can build to continue leveraging those types of partnerships that happen within states with health departments as a part of it. I think one of the important things is there is actually so much happening right now with all of the different vaccination sites, that there certainly is more opportunity to continue shoring up the ways in which they’re coordinating. But certainly that is something that health departments and also pharmacies are working on.

[00:39:53]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. Let’s go back to the line. Who’s our next caller, Jean?

[00:40:00]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Yvette from New York.

[00:40:03]Bill Walsh:  Hey Yvette, welcome to the show. Go ahead with your question.

[00:40:07]Yvette:  Hi, thank you for taking my call. My elderly mom, she’s over 90, she’s had severe reactions to the flu vaccine and is hesitant about taking the COVID vaccine. What is your recommendation about having her get the COVID vaccine? And if so, which one?

[00:40:28]Bill Walsh:  Yvette, does she have any preexisting conditions?

[00:40:32]Yvette:  Yes, she does.

[00:40:35]Bill Walsh:  Can you say what those are? It might help in the answer.

[00:40:38]Yvette:  Yeah, she has high blood pressure.

[00:40:41]Bill Walsh:  High blood pressure. OK. Dr. Woods, I wonder if you could address Yvette’s question about her mother.

[00:40:47]Krystina Woods:  Hi, Yvette. As of right now, anybody who’s had any sort of severe reactions to the flu vaccine would not be somebody who would have any reason that we would not vaccinate for COVID. So the good news is that doesn’t mean that they can’t get a COVID vaccine. There are very, very few exceptions for which we would not give the COVID vaccines which are currently approved. And those have to do with allergies to specific components of the vaccine. Most people have problems with vaccines in the past because they’re allergic to eggs. This is not a problem with the COVID vaccine. And so there really is a tiny minority of people who are not going to be eligible for the COVID vaccine. So I think it’s good news that even if your mom has had some issues with the flu vaccine before, she should go ahead and get the COVID vaccine. And as for which one, any of the approved current COVID vaccines would be OK for her.

[00:41:45]Bill Walsh:  And as I understand it, folks who get the vaccine — any of the vaccines — are monitored for up to 30 minutes after they get the shot, isn’t that right?

[00:41:53]Krystina Woods:  There’s a difference in monitoring depending on whether or not someone reports allergies of any kind. If someone has allergies, they’re watched for 30 minutes, and that was partially because initially when there were reports of allergic reactions in people who got the vaccines, it wasn’t people who had a history of allergies. Subsequently there really wasn’t much of a specific link to like, say, a shellfish allergy in this. And so some centers aren’t necessarily continuing to do that, but it’s a minimum 15-minute wait usually after the vaccine that they do watch you. So again, have her talk to her doctor, make sure that there’s nothing that in this few-minutes or a few-seconds conversation that I’ve missed, but as of right now, the recommendation would be that she should be able to receive the COVID vaccine.

[00:42:39]Bill Walsh:  Great. Thank you for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

[00:42:44]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Robert from New York.

[00:42:47]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Robert. Welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:42:56]Robert:  Yes, this is Robert. I’m trying to find a place to get my vaccine. I called three pharmacies and went to the emergency room, went to the doctor’s office, and nobody has any supply.

[00:43:22]Bill Walsh:  OK. You know what, Robert, we’re going to ask our staff here to … well, they already pulled it up. They read my mind. Do you have a pencil, a piece of paper you can take down a phone number?

[00:43:36]Ray:  I have to go get it.

[00:43:39]Bill Walsh:  OK. We’ll wait on you. Go ahead. We’ve got the New York COVID vaccine hotline. And just to — while Robert’s getting his writing materials — to our other listeners, AARP has created state-by-state guidelines with helpful information for how you can reach out, and you’ll find toll-free numbers, websites, questions to ask. Go to aarp.org/coronavirus and just pull up your state, and it has all that helpful information. Are you back with us, Robert?

[00:44:28]Jean Setzfand:  Bill, we can follow up with Robert in one second. Let me ask a question from Facebook, and this is coming from Alice.

[00:44:38]Robert:  OK.

[00:44:39]Jean Setzfand:  OK, here we go. Let’s go back to Robert.

[00:44:41]Bill Walsh:  Hey Robert, let me give you this phone number. Are you ready?

[00:44:46]Robert:  Yeah.

[00:44:47]Bill Walsh:  Okay, it’s [833] 697- ...

[00:45:06]Robert:  Wait.

[00:45:06]Bill Walsh:  [833] 697-4829. So [833] 697-4829. That’s the vaccine hotline there in New York. Lilly, did you want to add something?

[00:45:30]Lilly Kan:  Actually, I wondered if I could also give a second number just in case. I know certainly phone lines and also websites have been overwhelmed, so if I can also give a second one for the state of New York, just in case the first one might be busy.

[00:45:45]Bill Walsh:  Sure, go ahead.

[00:45:46]Lilly Kan:  So that hotline is also, Robert, 888-364-3065. And now, this is the broader hotline for the state, so certainly you should try the vaccine specific one.

[00:46:10]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. Robert, you in good shape? OK, good luck, Robert. Jean, did you want to go to the question from Alice on Facebook?

[00:46:23]Jean Setzfand:  Sure. Alice is asking from Facebook, “For homebound senior vaccines, what will ever happen?” This person is a 70-year-old caregiver for an 84-year-old husband with Parkinson’s dementia. So Alice is asking what hope there is around homebound seniors.

[00:46:45]Bill Walsh:  Lilly, do you want to weigh in on that? Are there any states or counties that are doing a particularly good job … with mobile outreach or anything like that to get vaccines to people who are homebound?

[00:47:00]Lilly Kan:  Thank you so much for that, Bill. A lot of local health departments right now are indeed in the planning phases. In addition to some of the examples I provided earlier with the engagement that they’ve had with EMS to utilize paramedics, some are working with their local area agency on aging and social services. They’ve been gathering data right now. Just to give you a sense of where in the planning they are, they’ve been gathering data on the number of homebound, older adults. They are trying to match that number with the staff that they have available as they’re planning travel teams. Some health departments are doing nonCOVID-related home visits, such as home safety checks for older adults. And they’re also working with local accessibility services providers. And so what I would say is there are a lot of different partners that health departments are working with that have specifically supported older adults. And so, as a first step in your local community … you can ask those partners that are providing services beyond vaccinations to see if they have yet connected with their local health department to also plan around COVID vaccinations for homebound adults.

[00:48:23]Bill Walsh:  Thank you, Lilly, for that. And thanks to our listeners for your questions. We’re going to get to more of them shortly … We have the results of that poll we conducted at the outset of the broadcast. We asked about your biggest hurdle in signing up for a vaccine, and it looks like 30 percent of you said the biggest hurdle was having a reliable source of information on where and how to sign up — 30 percent. Nine percent said the technology was confusing; 14 percent of you said there are just too many steps involved. Another 14 percent said there were long wait times on phone lines. And 33 percent of you said you hadn’t had a problem getting signed up. So thank you very much for your answers. Let’s get back to our experts. Dr. Woods, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color has been well-documented. How has the vaccine distribution tried to address this?

[00:49:31]Krystina Woods:  So, unfortunately, I think COVID-19 … just like a lot of other diseases that we have in this country disproportionately affect people of color. And unfortunately, a lot of that has to do with the access for care in a lot of these communities. Different states have chosen to do this differently, and I can’t speak on a national level, but what I can say is I practice in New York, the hospital I work in is in New York, and there was a real concerted effort to try to get vaccine campaigns into these neighborhoods. Unfortunately, because of a lot of historical missteps and really sort of abuses of trust of the scientific community in these minority communities, there’s a lot of hesitancy around vaccines. There’s a lot of hesitancy around trusting medical information, and I completely understand why that would be the case. And because there’s an understanding that this has happened historically, there has been a lot more outreach to try to educate communities of color, to try to educate some of these communities that are harder hit about the vaccines, about the fact that they’re effective, and about the fact that they’re safe. And so that’s been something that has happened in New York, where there’s been specific outreach to these communities. And some of the ways in which the vaccine was distributed, according to the information that we’ve been getting from the governor and the local department of health, is that there has been an allotment made specifically for these communities. And again, I can’t speak to how it’s been done in other places, but I think it’s an important step, and I think it’s really an important step toward the broader conversation of needing to address the general health care disparities that … occur in these communities.

[00:51:24]Bill Walsh:  Thanks for that, and Dr. Woods, can you tell if there are any advance preparations that people need to do for a vaccine? I’m thinking about paperwork, insurance information, do they have to fast, or anything else they need to do to prepare.

[00:51:41]Krystina Woods:  Nothing that they need to do to prepare specifically. The only thing that we are telling people is that usually after you get your first vaccine, you are provided with a vaccine card. We’re asking people to remember to bring that to their next appointment. One thing that helps people — ‘cause sometimes I know I’ve forgotten to bring vaccine cards for my children when I bring them to the pediatrician — take a picture of that card. Oftentimes we don’t forget our phones, and at least then the person who is filling out your information will be able to see evidence of that first vaccine and give you a fresh card that can have the information that you need on there. So that’s really it — just come in, prepared, be ready for the vaccine. There are some people who have been taking Tylenol or Advil or things like that before they get vaccinated because they’re worried about some of the side effects. That’s not a recommended thing to do. Right now, there’s still a lot of work being done to understand whether or not that might impact … how much of an immune response you get after you get the vaccine. I would not recommend that someone takes these things specifically because they’re getting ready to get their vaccine that day. If there’s other reasons why someone is taking those medications, obviously it’s OK, but we don’t want them doing it specifically because they’re afraid that they might have some chills or body aches after the vaccine. After the fact, if someone has them, they can go ahead and take these medications. But we advise not to do it before.

[00:53:09]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. Thank you. Let’s turn to you again, Lilly. What are some of the ways that local health departments have been prioritizing vaccine outreach to people of color and to older adults?

[00:53:23]Lilly Kan:  Thanks, Bill, and I think that this also builds on what Dr. Woods had mentioned earlier about the need and the importance of supporting people of color through vaccine distribution that is equitable and easily accessible for all people. So local health departments are actively working on equitable COVID vaccine uptake across all communities, all races, ethnicities, and other geographies. And one way local health departments have been prioritizing vaccine outreach to people of color and older adults has, to start, been using data and other information to more specifically inform their outreach efforts. And so some states and counties, when they have this information, they’re also making it available to the public to show where communities and populations — especially those that have been most impacted by the pandemic — live. And so some states and counties … Santa Clara and Seattle King County, in California and Washington, are two examples that come to mind where they’ve also been able to show data and maps of their COVID-19 vaccination rates by race, ethnicity, and down to the zip code level in some cases. And all of this information helps local health departments to hone in on where they need to do more outreach. And it also helps local partners to work with local health departments on how to support different communities and the people within. And when we talk about outreach, Bill, that local health departments have been doing, it actually falls into two areas. And so one, it does speak to more of the distribution and administration and the logistics of access. It’s really making sure that people have access to vaccination points. So making sure that the clinics are purposefully held in different locations and at different times that are easy for different people with different needs to access. Again, with a high focus on the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. And we, and local health departments, have recognized that this is especially important for people who cannot travel far or at all, or can’t wait for long periods of time to get vaccinated. And they’re currently working on strategies to meet people where they are. Certainly, some of the examples that I’d shared earlier on the planning that they’re currently doing for homebound individuals — the same kind of planning is also happening for other older adults and also communities of color. Some are also providing ...

[00:55:54]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, did you have something else?

[00:56:02]Lilly Kan:  Yeah, some are providing limited vaccinations again in other strategies. But the other thing that I did want to touch upon, especially because Dr. Woods brought it up, there are other areas of outreach, and it really does involve engaging with communities to share information and answer questions about the vaccine itself. We know that there’s a big population that is currently still making their decision about getting vaccinated against COVID-19. We realize that local health departments are currently navigating the high demand; but of the people who are still currently making their decisions, they have a lot of questions. They need a lot of information. And it’s really important to recognize that people are making these decisions in context of their lived experience, and some of that lived experience, again, goes back to what Dr. Woods was saying. Some communities have had a deep history of racial, ethnic and other systemic injustices and inequities that have impacted their trust and confidence in our systems. And so it’s really important to have these conversations, hear the communities, listen to where they are, answer their questions as respectfully and sensitively as possible.

[00:57:21]Bill Walsh:  OK, Lilly, thanks. That’s all great advice. And Dr. Woods had wisely urged people to bring their vaccination cards if they have a vaccine appointment. One thing we would urge folks not to do is post pictures of that vaccine card online. We’ve seen that happen, and scammers are out there using people’s address to target them if they post those pictures online. So bring your card. Don’t post a picture of it online. Dr. Woods, back to you, we’ve received a lot of calls from people worried that a preexisting health condition or past issues taking vaccines, like the caller earlier, will prevent them from getting a COVID shot. Can you address what factors might preclude someone from receiving a vaccine, if there are any differences among the vaccines.

[00:58:13]Krystina Woods:  Yes, so if somebody had a reaction in which they were unable to breathe after having had a vaccine previously, that is something that we would need to know about. And in general, these people are excluded from this vaccine. There’s also allergies to something called polyethylene glycol, which exists in a certain form in some of the preparations that people might take as laxatives, or even in sugar-free gum. So if somebody has an allergic reaction to one of those two components, then we would advise them also to speak to an allergist. It depends on the severity of their reaction. If it’s just a rash, it may be something that might be able to work through, but if it’s a more severe reaction, they would be precluded. Other than that, there’s really no reason why somebody should not be able to be vaccinated with the currently approved COVID vaccines.

[00:59:16]Bill Walsh:  OK, that’s great news. Thank you for that, Dr. Woods.

[00:59:19]Krystina Woods:  And in fact, I should add that anyone with some of these preexisting medical conditions might be at higher risk for getting severe disease. We know that people with diabetes, with high blood pressure, with longstanding lung disorders, we worry that they’re going to get really sick if they get COVID. So we want them to come in and be vaccinated.

[00:59:38]Bill Walsh:  Right. So preexisting conditions are a reason to get vaccinated. Not a reason not to.

[00:59:43]Krystina Woods:  Absolutely.

[00:59:44]Bill Walsh:  All right. Thank you for that, Dr. Woods. And we’re going to get to more listener questions shortly. But before we do, I’d like to take a moment for an AARP Fraud Watch alert. As of Feb. 1, the Federal Trade Commission has logged nearly 339,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments, with almost 70 percent of them involving fraud or identity theft. Scammers continue to find ways to take advantage through calls, emails and texts, as well as fake ads, to convince people they can jump to the front of the vaccine lines for a fee or by providing their Social Security number or other sensitive personal information. Authorities also anticipate a fresh wave of stimulus scams with Congress approving new rounds of relief payments, enhanced unemployment benefits, and small business loans. But there are some ways you can protect yourselves. Here’s some tips: Be wary of emails, calls and social media posts advertising free or government-ordered COVID-19 tests. Check out the Food and Drug Administration’s website, fda.gov, for a list of approved tests and testing companies. Don’t click on links or download files from unexpected emails. Don’t share personal information such as your Social Security, Medicare or credit card numbers in response to an unsolicited call, text or email. And always turn to trusted sources such as your doctor or local health department for guidance regarding the distribution of a vaccine. Visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about these and other scams, or you can call the Fraud Watch Network Helpline at [877] 905-3360. Now it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Krystina Woods and Lilly Kan. Jean, who is next on the line?

[01:02:06]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Charles from Iowa.

[01:02:10]Bill Walsh:  Hey Charles, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[01:02:15]Charles:  Thank you for taking my call. I have just been concerned that I’ve heard conflicting people say that you’re supposed to take Pfizer Pfizer, Moderna Moderna; and then I’ve heard people say you can mix and match; and then I’ve heard people say, you only need one dose. What’s the bottom line?

[01:02:35]Bill Walsh:  You’re talking about the second dose. Could you take Pfizer first and Moderna second? Is that your question?

[01:02:40]Charles:  Yeah. Is that a doable thing? I need a clarification, please.

[01:02:44]Bill Walsh:  OK, thanks for that, Charles. Dr. Woods, can you address that?

[01:02:48]Krystina Woods:  Yes, so as of right now, the CDC has very clearly come out to say that we should not be mixing the manufacturers. So if you start with a Pfizer, your second dose should be Pfizer. If you start with the Moderna, your second dose should be Moderna. Those are not interchangeable. There has been some conversation outside of the United States about whether or not that is something that should be done, with different countries looking into whether or not that’s something that is allowable; and there are some studies ongoing. But for the United States, the recommendation remains that you get the same manufacturer. So again, if your first dose is Pfizer, your next dose is Pfizer. If your first dose is Moderna, your next dose is Moderna, and nobody is going to be mixing those. So that’s the official answer.

[01:03:40]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

[01:03:44]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Tom from Washington.

[01:03:47]Bill Walsh:  Hey Tom, go ahead with your question.

[01:03:51]Tom:  Hi, thanks very much. My name’s Tom. I’m just recently retired, and I’m 64 years old, currently not on any sort of a phase that I’m going to get a shot at our current rate of distribution in Washington State. It’s going to be mid-2022 before I’m actually vaccinated. So what I’m interested in, is there anything I can do to help out to speed this whole process up? What can, what could we do to help?

[01:04:20]Bill Walsh:  That’s a great question. And hopefully you’ll get your vaccination before mid-2022. But Lilly, can you tell Tom and some of our other listeners how they can help out.

[01:04:32]Lilly Kan:  Absolutely. Tom, thanks for your interest and question. Per what I mentioned earlier on, the situation is changing very rapidly. And so if you do have access to a computer and access to your local health department or state health department’s website, you should start by continuing to monitor those websites for the updates on supply, and as they are changing the different recommended groups. And again, I can’t stress enough how quickly some of that is changing, especially as everyone is trying to get shots into arms as quickly as possible. Now, in some cases — I don’t have information on whether this is available and/or an option for Washington State — but if you are able to volunteer as part of certain vaccination clinics — again, if you have the time, if you are physically able to — there may be some opportunities for those volunteers because, again, of how essential they are to those critical public health and health activities. That might be an option as well. And also the benefit of that is the time that you’re able to support all of the efforts that are happening. But again, that varies by locality and state.

[01:05:54]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that, Lilly. And Tom and other listeners who want to help out with volunteer opportunities, I’ll just point to an AARP site that kind of brings all those opportunities together — and you can check by your own zip code about local opportunities. And that site is aarp.org/createthegood. You can also look for AARP’s Community Connections Site, where you can plug into local opportunities. All right, Jean, who is our next caller?

[01:06:39]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Brian from New York.

[01:06:46]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Brian, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[01:06:51]Brian:  Some of us are disabled mentally, physically, or both. I heard Nancy from AARP mention mobile vans. How can these disabled, some of whom are immobile, receive a vaccine? Thank you.

[01:07:06]Bill Walsh:  Lilly, do you want to tackle that question?

[01:07:11]Lilly Kan:  Thanks so much for that question, Brian. We recognize that people who have disabilities have also been among the people who have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic because of certain challenges in being able to access services and support. Local health departments are working with community partners to also serve and represent communities who have disabilities to make sure they are getting fair and equitable access to COVID vaccination. A lot of planning and a lot of work is underway. And again, a part of what has kept health departments from fully being able to implement some of these programs right now, again, is because the supply is so limited. But also certainly there has been a lot of resources that are currently, as of now, reaching local health departments to do some of that planning and make sure that they have the right staff and partnerships in place to support people with disabilities as equitably and as appropriately as possible.

[01:08:23]Bill Walsh:  And Brian, I know you’re in New York. We gave out this number earlier, but just in case you didn’t get it, the vaccine hotline in New York is [833] 697-4829. My hope is that they can answer some questions about transportation as well. Jean, who is our next caller?

[01:08:48]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Patrice from Michigan.

[01:08:51]Bill Walsh:  Hey Patrice, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[01:08:55]Patrice:  Thank you for taking my question. I know here in Michigan, the governor wants at least 70 percent of our population to be vaccinated. So my question is once everyone who wants the vaccine actually gets the vaccine, going forward, is this a vaccine that is … similar to the flu vaccine in only in the case that they should get it every single year?

[01:09:20]Bill Walsh:  Dr. Woods, can you address that? I’m not sure we know the answer to that question yet, do we?

[01:09:25]Krystina Woods:  We do not. So there’s still ongoing work to understand whether or not this is going to be a vaccine that’s going to need to be given every year like the flu, or maybe it’s going to be a booster that you need every five or every 10 years, like with tetanus. You have to remember that the virus has really only been known to be circulating on the planet for just a little bit over a year at this point. And the vaccines were created over the summer and were at trial during the summer, so we don’t even have a year’s worth of information yet on those. So we don’t really have enough to say for sure whether or not we’re going to need to have boosters or if we’re going to need to have vaccines every year. I think some of that information will become a little bit more available later on in this year. And we will all have to stay tuned and see what the prevailing scientific data says.

[01:10:19]Bill Walsh:  And Patrice had mentioned that the governor in Michigan targeted 70 percent of the population. I assume this has something to do with the concept of herd immunity. Can you talk a little bit about that, and is 70 percent the right number we should be aiming for?

[01:10:35]Krystina Woods:  So there’s a concept of herd immunity — or as I prefer to call it, herd protection. And the idea is that when you have a certain number of people who are immune or who have some protection against a certain disease, that the likelihood of that disease being able to circulate drops because there are no eligible people for it to infect, or so few that it wouldn’t be able to effectively pass from person to person. As we saw in the spring where there was no immunity to this virus, large amounts of communities were being affected and were becoming ill. What we hope with all vaccines is that we can prevent enough disease from transferring in a population. And that’s what this concept of herd immunity or herd protection is. The exact number for that has really been sliding a lot throughout the last several months — numbers that have ranged from 65 percent to 85 percent. Generally for viruses, the amount that we need really depends on how the virus reproduces and how contagious it is. And so we don’t really have a very good handle on what that number is going to be. The most recent data seems to suggest that 70 percent is not going to be enough. But again, that’s really been a sliding target, and I think we’re still learning about that.

[01:11:58]Bill Walsh:  There’s so much we’re learning about this as we’re experiencing it, isn’t it? Isn’t that right.

[01:12:03]Krystina Woods:  Yeah, it’s an interesting thing. You know, we’re really living in a historic moment where we have something that hasn’t really happened in a very long time. The last time we can point to any large pandemic was the flu pandemic in 1918. At that time it really did take a good two years before there was any sort of a movement back toward a more normal life in that setting. And that was in a time where they didn’t have the scientific advances that we have. They didn’t have a vaccine. Some of the basic understanding of how diseases transmit were still sort of in their infancy. And so we’re in a better place to tackle it now. And part of it is also that we’re able to have conversations like this, that you’re able to get information, that you’re able to use that information to then protect yourself and to make the best decisions for you and your family. So, there are some benefits to it, but we all have to be patient. And I think in some ways we’ve forgotten how to do that because we’ve gotten so used to things really kind of happening instantly.

[01:13:02]Bill Walsh:  Exactly. Well, thank you. Jean, let’s go back to the lines. Who is our next caller?

[01:13:08]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Betty from Wyoming.

[01:13:11]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Betty. Welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[01:13:16]Betty:  Thank you for taking my question. We have a son who is living with us as a different age. He will be 60 this year. We’re in our 80s with underlying factors and we’ve had our first shot, but we’re concerned that he hasn’t been able to get a shot, and we wouldn’t be able to stay here without his help. When will caretakers be able to get theirs?

[01:13:48]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that, Betty. That’s an excellent question, one we’re hearing from around the country. Lilly, I wonder if you could weigh in on this. For family caregivers who may not be old enough to meet those eligibility guidelines yet. Where do they stand in terms of prioritization?

[01:14:04]Lilly Kan:  Yeah, certainly. You know, to start because some of the decisions about who is eligible to get vaccines … stem from the federal government but then get applied within state and local jurisdictions by the state health department and in collaboration with different important partners within the state. It’s really important to first check with your local government or state government, and so in most cases, that is either the local health department hotline or website or the state health department website or hotline, because that will give you the best locally tailored information to what groups and what people are recommended. And again, in many cases that is also dependent on what current supply is available and who the local or state health departments and their community partners have already vaccinated. And I’m happy to provide the state COVID hotline number. Certainly, Bill, I recognize that AARP has a number as well.

[01:15:21]Bill Walsh:  Sure, go for it if you’ve got it there handy.

[01:15:24]Lilly Kan:  So the state COVID-19 hotline for Wyoming … Betty, if you are ready, do you have a pen?

[01:15:32]Bill Walsh:  She is not on the line, but go ahead and give it to her.

[01:15:36]Lilly Kan:  Sure.

[01:15:37]Bill Walsh:  We’ll make sure she gets it. Go ahead, call it out.

[01:15:39]Lilly Kan:  Great. That number is 888-425-7138.

[01:15:48]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. And just for all of our listeners, again, AARP has state-by-state guides with helpful toll-free numbers, websites, and questions to ask. if you go to aarp.org/coronavirus and just look for your state there. Jean, who is next on the line?

[01:16:13]Jean Setzfand:  We have Alan from Florida online.

[01:16:16]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Alan, go ahead with your question.

[01:16:19]Alan:  Hi, can you hear me?

[01:16:21]Bill Walsh:  I can hear you just fine.

[01:16:23]Alan:  Thank you very much. I have a three-part question. My local health department has contacted me to schedule my second Pfizer COVID vaccine and … changed my date from 21 days after the first vaccine to now 17 days for the second. I read the CDC has said it may, that it can be four days earlier, but is it really safe to get it after 17 days and not wait 21?

[01:16:54]Bill Walsh:  OK, and did you say you had another question?

[01:16:57]Alan:  And with regard to that question, will my response or immunity be affected? And could I have more side effects from this vaccine because I’m getting it earlier?

[01:17:10]Bill Walsh:  Let’s ask Dr. Woods about that.

[01:17:12]Krystina Woods:  I can tell you that you’re not alone. My hospital had started vaccinating health care workers in late December, and we actually did it 17 days apart. And we also had the Pfizer. So like you, I got mine in 17 days. We can absolutely do that without there being any safety issues. There’s no evidence to say that you’re going to have any more or less side effects by moving it up to 17 days. And in some way, I think that it may just sort of help states to … schedule people and to kind of keep people moving. So I don’t … object to them doing that, and I don’t have any concerns about it. And as far as any immune response, there’s no evidence to show that your immune response should be any worse or any different by getting it a few days early. So feel confident in the date. Go get your second vaccine, and hopefully you’ll be well-protected.

[01:18:05]Bill Walsh:  Very good, thank you Dr. Woods. And thanks Alan, for that question. Jean, who is next on the line?

[01:18:11]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Carol from Maryland.

[01:18:14]Bill Walsh:  Hey Carol, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[01:18:18]Carol:  I’m the one who called about the question about the antibodies and the immune response to the vaccine, if it’s sufficient to be a protection. And Dr. Fauci did mention something about an enhancement, I guess, of the virus, if you don’t produce your own antibodies … in sufficient quantity. So I was concerned if that’s the mechanism, and if it’s an attenuated virus, it’s not completely killed, I can’t get the live vaccine. For instance, the shingles, I couldn’t get that because of [inaudible], but I tend to all the necessary vaccinations that I could get. And especially the flu every year by October, I get it because of my problem. So should I not worry about getting the vaccine? Could I possibly have what Dr. Fauci described as an enhancement? And one of the, I believe it was, I don’t know what organization, one doctor from that mentioned also, he mentioned it as an enhancement. So I’m hesitant for that reason about the vaccine, and how it would affect me … or not be of any effect for that matter.

[01:19:41]Bill Walsh:  OK, let’s ask Dr. Woods if she can help out with that.

[01:19:47]Krystina Woods:  I didn’t quite grasp the entirety of the question, but I’m going to try to do my best to piece it together. If you have any kind of a medical problem that prevents you from having a very strong immune response — so if you don’t really tend to mount antibodies, say, to other vaccines — there is a potential that you may not mount the best response to this vaccine as well. I don’t think that that’s a reason to not get it, because even if you were to have some small amount of protection, my argument would be that the disease is severe enough that I would prefer my patients, my relatives, to even have some small amount of protection over none at all. And we don’t really have a perfect way of measuring how well we respond to this vaccine yet in terms of any kind of blood tests in a laboratory. I would say that somebody should try to get some amount of protection as opposed to none. With regards to problems with live vaccines, this is not a live vaccine, so you should not have any problems with getting this. They’re not injecting virus — actually with the Pfizer and the Moderna, what they’re doing is they’re injecting you with a little fat bubble and inside that fat bubble is essentially a recipe for the spike protein, which sits on the coronavirus. I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of it. It looks like a spiky ball, and those little spikes that come off of it are the things that this vaccine is training our own immune system to respond to. So if you’ve had problems with live vaccines before, again, this is not a contraindication. You can go ahead and get the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine without an issue. If you’re saying that you had COVID before, and the question is whether or not this is going to do anything to the immune response there, there was some suggestion that people who had COVID, when they get these vaccines, that they might have a more severe reaction to it. Maybe some fevers and chills and things like that. That hasn’t born out in a lot of the scientific studies that have come out on that, and at least also from speaking to people, even within my own hospital community who did have COVID last spring, they on the whole did not have any sort of symptoms that were more severe compared to their peers who didn’t have it. And so there’s also a question as to whether or not somebody who had it in the past needs to have both vaccines. The conversation that I had heard Dr. Fauci having about this was that the vaccine can sort of serve as a booster to someone’s own natural immunity against COVID. As of right now, the recommendation still does remain that somebody who has had COVID in the past goes and gets both doses, if they’re getting the Pfizer and Moderna; if they’re getting the Johnson & Johnson, there’s just one, anyway. So hopefully that answers your questions. I’m trying to imagine … what I missed at the very beginning of the conversation. It was cutting out.

[01:22:58]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Let’s take one more question. Jean, who do we have on the line?

[01:23:04]Jean Setzfand:  Our last caller is Myrtle from Missouri.

[01:23:08]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Myrtle. Go ahead with your question.

[01:23:11]Myrtle:  Hello? Can you hear me?

[01:23:12]Bill Walsh:  I can hear you just fine. Go ahead with your question.

[01:23:14]Myrtle:  My question is — you kind of answered some of it; it’s kind of two-part. You addressed, like I said, the areas of color where there’s like a distrust, and I have to say, I’m in that category. So based on how this vaccine was created at warp speed and it’s a new technology, this messenger RNA, how can the person feel confident that this vaccine, taking the vaccine is not going to either affect them immediately or in the long term? What I mean, what evidence supports that taking the vaccine is safe?

[01:23:54]Bill Walsh:  That’s a great question, Myrtle. Thanks for that. Dr. Woods, can you address the science behind it and how do we know it works, how do we know it’s safe?

[01:24:04]Krystina Woods:  Absolutely. And I completely understand those concerns. And I think that when we look at it on balance, all communities are concerned about whether or not this is safe. And I can completely understand that in certain communities, again, where there is just a hesitancy toward vaccines and sort of toward information, that you kind of think about it twice and want to really kind of get a granular understanding of how this happened. I think the unfortunate thing was that this whole process was titled Warp Speed. I think … on reflection perhaps there could have been a better sort of term for that whole process, because I think that also has increased some of the anxiety that people have. But to break it down, this is a new technology, but it’s not something that has only been developed in the last year. This vaccine technology has been around for over a decade. It’s been used in other applications, including in cancer. And so we do have safety data based on at least that amount of time to know that there have not been safety concerns tied to this type of technology for vaccines. I think that’s reassuring. The other thing to understand is that usually when there’s vaccine trials, they do take a long time, and that’s for a variety of reasons. Part of it is because they require funding, and funding for certain diseases is not necessarily always very exciting, especially if it’s a disease that’s thought to be maybe not as troublesome or not as immediately important. So because this affected the globe in such a really overwhelming way, the funding for this vaccine was readily available in a lot of governments and a lot of organizations stepped forward to fund it. So that helped take care of that hurdle. The other thing is getting people to enroll, and, again, to convince someone that it’s important to enroll for a vaccine for a disease that affects some small population somewhere that’s really far away is a tough thing to do. And there are people who do enroll in trials and do sort of participate in this type of scientific discovery, but for the most part, enrolling people in enough numbers has always been a challenge for a lot of vaccine trials. And so that’s another reason why it traditionally would take longer. But again, understanding of how urgent this is, a lot of people did step forward and volunteer for it. And so the numbers that they were able to recruit were really large. Most of the time when we see any sort of really concerning types of problems that arise from vaccines, it happens in the first 90 days in which we would expect to see anything really major happen. Other things happen more immediately, so within the first 30 days, you can have other effects also. And again, these trials were done over the summer. We have now at least more than three months’ worth of data in which to say that it is safe in that time. And again, we do still have a decades-plus worth of data of that technology to say that it is safe. So while it did move very quickly for coronavirus itself, the technology has been around for over a decade and there is safety data that does support that. I also think that if you look at the efficacy again, it is really staggering to see that it really is preventing hospitalizations and deaths, and in communities of color who have been so disproportionately affected by this. I think that really is a compelling argument for getting the vaccine. These are the communities that you would want to accept this vaccine more because they are the communities that are being most effected, and so I would hope that you and the members of your community do weigh this up and do seriously consider being vaccinated.

[01:28:01]Bill Walsh:  OK, Dr. Woods. Thank you so much for that. Myrtle, thanks for that question. Dr. Woods and Lilly Kan, I wonder if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations that our listeners should understand most from the conversation today? Lilly, do you want to go first?

[01:28:17]Lilly Kan:  Sure. Thank you, Bill. We certainly recognize that there have been bumps in the road as the COVID-19 vaccination program has been rolled out. And it was something that was to be expected. It is a very complex, fast-moving system that public health practitioners at all levels of government have been working really hard to put into place. The good news is that the same public health experts who are working on this have extensive experience with vaccine distribution and administration, and will continue to work hard and quickly to overcome obstacles. And so really, with that in mind, we just so appreciate your understanding and patience as you have been navigating the complex circumstances and not always having the information that you need. But know that everyone is working really hard to correct these things. Thanks, Bill.

[01:29:12]Bill Walsh:  Thank you very much for that, Lilly. Dr. Woods, any closing thoughts or recommendations?

[01:29:18]Krystina Woods:  Just wanted to say to all the listeners, thank you for coming and looking for the information and for really wanting to understand this. And I think it’s really important that you talk to your friends and your family and try to gather as much information as you can about the vaccine, about its safety, and hopefully you’ll be able to make those appointments when they become available to you. I understand your frustration in wanting to get this, and I’m really, really heartened by the fact that so many people are really embracing the vaccination process and wanting to do it. I can say that amongst the health care professionals, that is something that we’re very excited to see that this is being well received by the public. And I just urge you to try to get yourself registered for this vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. Stick with the process and know that it will provide you with the protection that we were all hoping that it would when it was being developed.

[01:30:12]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for that, Dr. Woods, and thanks to both of you for answering our questions. It’s been a really informative session. And thank you to you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we’re providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and prevent its spread to others while also taking care of themselves. All of the resources we referenced today, including a recording of today’s Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning Feb. 12. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you or your loved ones healthy and safe. Please join us again in two weeks, that’s Feb. 25, for our next live discussion about coronavirus vaccines. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

[01:31:40]

 

Hola, soy Bill Walsh, Vicepresidente de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. Antes de comenzar, si deseas escuchar esta teleasamblea en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora.

 

AARP, una organización de socios, sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores en EE.UU. durante más de 60 años. Frente a la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP está proporcionando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan. Por supuesto, la distribución de vacunas es una prioridad para todos, ya que el coronavirus continúa limitando nuestra libertad y amenazando nuestro sentido de seguridad y bienestar. La ansiedad y la frustración son altas con la aparición de nuevas variantes de virus, los continuos retrasos en la distribución de vacunas y los confusos sistemas de registro. Abordaremos estos problemas y más con nuestro panel de expertos y responderemos sus preguntas en vivo.

 

Si ya has participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabes que es similar a un programa de radio y tendrás la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo. Si deseas escuchar en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora. Para aquellos de ustedes que nos acompañan por teléfono, si desean hacer una pregunta sobre la pandemia de coronavirus, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta, y los ubicará en una cola para hacer esa pregunta. Si se unen a través de Facebook o YouTube, pueden publicar su pregunta en la sección de comentarios.

 

¡Hola! Si acabas de unirte, soy Bill Walsh de AARP y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estaremos hablando con principales expertas y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3, y si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, puedes publicar tu pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Hoy nos acompañan la doctora Krystina Woods, epidemióloga y Directora Médica de Prevención de Infecciones en Mount Sinai West. También es profesora asistente sénior en la División de Enfermedades Infecciosas de la Escuela de Medicina Icahn en Mount Sinai. También tenemos a Lilly Kan, directora sénior de Enfermedades Infecciosas e Informática de la Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios de Salud del Condado y la Ciudad. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand, quien ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy.

 

Este evento está siendo grabado y podrán acceder a la grabación en aarp.org/coronavirus, 24 horas después de que terminemos. Nuevamente, para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para conectarte con un miembro del personal de AARP. O si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, coloca tu pregunta en la sección de comentarios.

 

Ahora, me gustaría traer a nuestra invitada, la Dra. Krystina Woods, epidemióloga del hospital y directora médica de Prevención de Infecciones en Mount Sinai West. También es profesora asistente sénior en la División de Enfermedades Infecciosas de la Escuela de Medicina Icahn en Mount Sinai. Bienvenida de nuevo al programa Dra. Woods.

 

Krystina Woods: Muchas gracias, Bill, estoy muy feliz de estar aquí.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, estamos encantados de tenerte. También me gustaría dar la bienvenida a Lilly Kan. Lilly es la directora sénior de Enfermedades Infecciosas e Informática de la Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios de Salud del Condado y la Ciudad. Es experta en infecciones asociadas a la salud que impactan la salud pública a nivel local. Bienvenida al programa, Lilly.

 

Lilly Kan: Muchas gracias, Bill. Encantada de estar con todos ustedes.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, comencemos con la discusión y como recordatorio, para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3 en el teclado de tu teléfono o déjala en la sección de comentarios en Facebook o YouTube. Antes de comenzar, queremos saber de ustedes. Tómense un momento para decirnos cuál es su mayor obstáculo a la hora de inscribirse para recibir una vacuna. Presiona 1 en el teclado de tu teléfono para "Obtener una fuente confiable de información al registrarme". Presiona 2 para "Usa tecnología confusa". Presiona 3 si "involucra demasiados pasos". Presiona 4 para "largos tiempos de espera en las líneas telefónicas" y presiona 5 si no has tenido problemas para inscribirte para la vacuna.

 

Entonces, una encuesta rápida, "¿Cuál es tu mayor necesidad en torno a la distribución de vacunas?" Presiona 1 para "Obtener una fuente confiable de información al registrarse". Presiona 2 para "Usa tecnología confusa". Presiona 3 para "demasiados pasos para registrarse". Presiona 4 para "tiempos de espera prolongados en las líneas telefónicas" y presiona 5 si no has tenido problemas para registrarse para la vacuna. Gracias, y daremos los resultados de esa encuesta, más adelante en el evento.

 

Y ahora, a nuestras expertas. Dra. Woods, comencemos con usted. En este momento, tenemos dos vacunas aprobadas, la de Moderna y la vacuna de Pfizer, y se esperan dos más. Una de AstraZeneca y otra de Johnson & Johnson. ¿Cuáles son las diferencias clave entre estas vacunas? Y ¿los consumidores tienen una opción sobre cuál recibir?

 

Krystina Woods: Bueno, las diferencias están principalmente en la forma en que las vacunas están diseñadas. Las vacunas de Moderna y Pfizer están diseñadas de una manera más nueva, se llaman vacunas de ARNm y las vacunas AstraZeneca y Johnson and Johnson están diseñadas en base a tecnologías más antiguas que tenemos.

 

En general, realmente no hay una opción de cuál recibir. Los centros de vacunación tienen ciertas asignaciones de vacunas y muchas se basan en su capacidad para almacenar las vacunas correctamente. Entonces, a menudo, cuando vas, no es como si te dieran un menú y te dijeran: "Bueno, ¿te gustaría esta o esa?" Suelen tener una determinada en existencia y esa es la que recibes cuando llegas al centro o a la farmacia.

 

Bill Walsh: Entiendo, y creo que, como todos sabemos ahora, la vacuna de Johnson & Johnson es una sola inyección y tiene una eficacia del 66% en comparación con el 95% de eficacia de las vacunas anteriores que requieren las dos inyecciones. ¿Importa la eficacia reducida de las vacunas de inyección única?

 

Krystina Woods: Creo que hay muchos malentendidos sobre lo que se entiende por eficacia cuando se trata de vacunas. No es que, ya sabes, la mayoría de la gente piense que "Bueno, si es un 95% efectivo, entonces tengo un 95% de posibilidades de estar cubierto por la vacuna y un 5% de posibilidades de no estar cubierto por la vacuna". Y no es eso lo que realmente significa.

 

Lo que significa es que cuando miraron los ensayos, las personas que recibieron la vacuna, en comparación con las que no recibieron la vacuna, cuando dijeron que es eficaz, por lo que el 95% de eficacia significa eso en comparación con las que no recibieron la vacuna, los que fueron vacunados tenían un riesgo un 95% menor de contraer la enfermedad sintomática. Entonces, creo que eso es lo primero que debemos entender cuando hablamos de eficacia.

 

La otra cosa es que cuando ocurrieron estos ensayos, sucedieron en momentos diferentes. Entonces, el ensayo de Johnson % Johnson estaba sucediendo durante un tiempo en el que circulaban más de estas variantes. En particular, cuando circulaba la variante Kent o también llamada variante del Reino Unido. Entonces, eso puede haber tenido un impacto en la eficacia de la vacuna, pero la discusión más importante y este es el hecho de que todas las vacunas han demostrado una eficacia del 100% para prevenir enfermedades graves y creo que ese es realmente el punto clave.

 

No importa cuál recibas, tiene una eficacia del 100% para prevenir enfermedades graves. Y aquellos que realmente esperaron todo el tiempo desde el momento en que recibieron su primera dosis, hasta el momento en que se consideró completamente efectiva, que es seis semanas desde la primera dosis de la vacuna Moderna o siete semanas desde la primera dosis de la vacuna de Pfizer o Johnson % Johnson, no hubo hospitalizaciones ni muertes por COVID-19. Y creo que eso es realmente lo más importante de entender. Que los números de eficacia son interesantes desde un punto de vista científico, pero desde el punto de vista práctico quieres saber que no vas a terminar en el hospital, y quieres saber que no vas a terminar muriendo por esto. Y todas las vacunas tenían una eficacia del 100% que lo impedía.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, gracias por esa aclaración. Eso fue realmente útil, Dra. Woods. Lilly, me gustaría invitarte aquí para que comencemos con el tema más importante para tanta gente en este momento que es tener acceso a la vacuna. Si bien la situación variará de un lugar a otro, si alguien tiene un problema con una cita local para la vacunación, ¿qué debe hacer?

 

Lilly Kan: Gracias por esa pregunta, Bill. En primer lugar, realmente quiero comenzar agradeciendo a todos los que están escuchando hoy. Primero, por todo el trabajo que están haciendo para mantenerse sanos y salvos, mientras esperamos que las vacunas COVID-19 estén disponibles más ampliamente, es muy importante y sabemos que requiere mucho trabajo. Entonces, todas las cosas que están haciendo, seguir distanciándose socialmente, practicando una buena higiene de manos y usando mascarillas durante este tiempo, siguen siendo las cosas más importantes que podemos seguir haciendo. Entonces, con eso en mente, si alguien tiene problemas para obtener una cita para la vacuna localmente porque quizás las citas simplemente no están disponibles en este momento, primero es muy importante recordar que el suministro actual de vacunas contra la COVID-19 aún es muy bajo, lo que se vuelve especialmente desafiante a medida que más personas se vuelven elegibles para recibir la vacuna.

 

Entonces, por ejemplo, un estado está recibiendo aproximadamente 10,000 dosis por día para más de 1.5 millones de personas que son elegibles. A un departamento de salud local de otro estado se le asignaron 100 dosis esta semana para su comunidad. Ahora, los departamentos de salud locales han estado trabajando muy duro para administrar rápidamente las dosis de vacuna que tienen, pero nuevamente, hay departamentos de salud locales que han recibido muy pocas dosis de vacunas para administrar en este momento, y este también puede ser el caso de otros lugares que también están vacunando a personas, como hospitales, farmacias o centros de salud, y estos lugares están trabajando junto con los departamentos de salud locales para vacunar a las personas y es posible que tampoco tengan suficiente suministro en este momento.

 

Pero de nuevo, como dijiste, Bill, la situación realmente varía de un lugar a otro, y la situación cambia constantemente. Especialmente cuando se trata de suministro de vacunas. Estoy segura de que muchos de ustedes han escuchado en las noticias acerca de cómo el Gobierno federal está trabajando para aumentar el suministro a los estados, tribus y territorios, y es importante recordar que la vacuna eventualmente estará disponible para todos, pero no todavía.

 

Y me doy cuenta de que puede ser realmente difícil tener paciencia en estos días, cuando todos estamos tan listos para superar esta pandemia, pero en realidad, tener paciencia y permanecer alerta sobre cuándo estarán disponibles las citas y las clínicas para vacunas son algunas de las cosas importantes que la gente puede hacer ahora mismo, ya que todavía estamos lidiando con el suministro de vacunas muy limitado.

 

Bill Walsh: Algo muy bueno de AARP es que hemos creado guías estado por estado para ayudar a las personas a descubrir a qué sitios web y a qué números de teléfono llamar en sus estados. Entonces, si estás buscando esa información, visita aarp.org/coronavirus. Simplemente elije el nombre de tu estado y tenemos una gran cantidad de información allí sobre cómo comunicarte localmente. No hay garantía de que tengan los suministros de vacunas, señaló Lilly, pero el recurso está ahí y puedes comenzar a intentar registrarte.

 

Lilly, déjame seguir con eso. Representas a los funcionarios de salud locales, que han estado a la vanguardia de la pandemia desde el primer día y, como acabábamos de discutir, estamos en modo de crisis en la distribución de vacunas. Hemos visto largas filas y personas que no pueden obtener citas, ¿cuál es el mayor desafío para los funcionarios de salud locales y qué se está haciendo para abordarlo?

 

Lilly Kan: Sí, más allá del desafío de navegar por el suministro limitado de vacunas, que de nuevo, sé que es un desafío que muchos de nosotros estamos enfrentando, el mayor desafío para los funcionarios de salud locales ha sido tener recursos insuficientes, y específicamente dinero y gente desde el principio. Y así, para proporcionar un poco más de contexto, antes de la pandemia, habíamos visto a los departamentos de salud locales perder casi una cuarta parte de su fuerza laboral desde el 2008. Es decir, eliminar más de 50,000 puestos de trabajo y, por lo tanto, con estas circunstancias, los departamentos de salud locales se ven obligados a trasladar recursos de otras actividades de salud pública para adaptarse a las demandas de las emergencias.

 

Entonces, desde el comienzo de la pandemia, el personal del departamento de salud local se ha apartado de otras áreas esenciales como la seguridad alimentaria, la prevención del VIH, la prevención y respuesta a sobredosis y también las vacunas. De hecho, cuando preguntamos la primavera pasada cómo había afectado la COVID-19 a los programas y servicios de inmunización del departamento de salud local, la mayoría de los que respondieron indicaron que tenían que asignar a su personal de inmunización para apoyar la respuesta, y varios departamentos de salud locales también indicaron que necesitaban transferir dinero de los presupuestos de sus programas de inmunización regulares para apoyar la respuesta, y estas actividades de inmunización regulares eran esfuerzos que los departamentos de salud estaban tomando para prevenir y protegernos a nosotros y a nuestros seres queridos del sarampión, la influenza estacional, la hepatitis A y otras enfermedades prevenibles por vacunación.

 

Entonces, en este contexto, trato de decir que el mismo personal del departamento de salud local que es responsable de las vacunas y la protección de nuestras comunidades, era el mismo personal que fue retirado de esos deberes, nuevamente, para apoyar cosas como el rastreo de contacto de COVID-19 y apoyar a las personas que necesitaban aislar y poner en cuarentena. Y ahora confiamos en esas mismas personas para vacunarnos contra la COVID-19, pero la buena noticia es que los fondos y los recursos están cada vez más disponibles para apoyar a los departamentos de salud, pero incluso entonces podría tomar tiempo para que esos recursos lleguen a los departamentos de salud locales de una manera que les permita atraer a más personas capacitadas y experimentadas. Pero también sabemos que los departamentos de salud están trabajando en esto ahora, incluso mientras administran el suministro actual que tienen.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias Lilly. Permítame volver a hablar con usted, Dra. Woods. Me pregunto si puede hablar sobre las nuevas variantes de COVID-19, de las que tanto escuchamos. ¿Cuál es la amenaza de que se conviertan en la cepa dominante y dónde nos deja eso? ¿Son eficaces las vacunas contra estas nuevas variantes?

 

Krystina Woods: Obviamente, las noticias han informado sobre esto de manera bastante amplia. Hay tres que hemos estado observando muy de cerca, pero creo que todos deben entender que la base de la forma en que funcionan los virus es que mutan. Entonces, esto no es algo inesperado, ciertamente es algo que sabemos que sucede. Y lo que hacemos es mirarlos y ver si estas mutaciones que experimentan los virus para convertirse en estas variantes, si eso las hace o no más peligrosas. Ya sea que los haga más fáciles de transmitir, si hace que las personas se enfermen más, en mayor número o una enfermedad más grave después de contraerla. Entonces, estas son las cosas que miramos.

 

Sabemos por la información del Reino Unido, que la variante que se encontró allí, nuevamente, la variante Canterbury o la llamada variante COVID-19 del Reino Unido, en realidad se convirtió rápidamente en una cepa bastante dominante allí, y eso es porque es mucho más contagiosa, y eso tiene sentido. Si algo es más contagioso, se propagará más y se puede arraigar un poco más.

 

Sin embargo, lo que sí sabemos es que, hasta ahora, las vacunas que tenemos parecen tener una buena eficacia contra esa variante. La única variante que potencialmente podría no tener tan buena eficacia es la que viene de Sudáfrica, y muchos de los fabricantes de vacunas ya lo saben, y están trabajando para ajustar la vacuna ellos mismos para que puedan ser más efectivas hacia esa variante.

 

Todavía no sabemos si eso significará que en algún momento vamos a necesitar un refuerzo especial para esa variante específica. A partir de ahora, nuevamente, no está circulando en cantidades tan grandes, ni es una preocupación tan grande que pensemos que esto es algo que tiene que suceder de inmediato, pero es bueno saber que los fabricantes lo saben, y están trabajando en una vacuna que será más específica para ser más eficaz contra esa variante.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias Dra. Woods. Lo apreciamos, y como recordatorio a nuestros oyentes, para hacer una pregunta a nuestro panel de expertas hoy, por favor presiona * 3 en el teclado de tu teléfono. Vamos a abordar sus preguntas en breve, pero antes de hacerlo, quería traer a la vicepresidenta ejecutiva y directora de Activismo Legislativo y Compromiso, de AARP, Nancy LeaMond. Bienvenida, Nancy.

 

Nancy LeaMond: Gracias, Bill. Un placer estar aquí.

 

Bill Walsh: Nancy, mientras se distribuyen las vacunas, hay mucha confusión en todo el país, y escuchamos y vemos mucha frustración de las personas mayores. ¿Qué está haciendo AARP para luchar por estas personas?

 

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, gracias de nuevo por invitarme, Bill. Ha pasado casi un año desde que la COVID-19 cambió la vida como todos la conocíamos. Nos han aislado de nuestros seres queridos y muchos han perdido familiares, amigos, trabajos y ahorros de toda su vida. Los estadounidenses mayores se han visto especialmente afectados. Más del 95% de las más de 440,000 muertes se han producido entre personas de 50 años o más. Y la pérdida de más de 153,000 vidas en hogares de ancianos es una vergüenza nacional.

 

Todos hemos estado esperando vacunas para ayudar a detener la enfermedad y restaurar nuestro estilo de vida, pero las vacunas solo funcionan si podemos llevarlas a los brazos de las personas y existe una enorme demanda de vacunas, y esa demanda también se encuentra con una enorme confusión. Sé que están increíblemente frustrados, muchos de ustedes que están en la línea hoy, y yo también estoy frustrada. He pasado la mayor parte de las últimas dos semanas en sitios web, aquí en mi propia ciudad.

 

Pero es por eso que AARP está luchando para que los adultos mayores tengan prioridad y lucha para facilitar el proceso en línea, de modo que puedas ir a un lugar y obtener información clara sobre cuándo, dónde y cómo registrarse para vacunarse. Y para aquellos que no están en línea o tienen dificultades para navegar por todos los sistemas en línea, instamos al Gobierno federal a trabajar con los estados para desarrollar números 1-800 para programar citas de vacunas que estén centralizados, bien dotados de personal y que ofrezcan a los clientes con confianza cultural servicio en varios idiomas.

 

También apoyamos que las camionetas móviles estén disponibles para aquellos que simplemente no pueden salir de sus hogares. Elogiamos las acciones tomadas por la Administración de Biden para llevar más suministro de vacunas a los estados y expandir los lugares donde hay vacunas disponibles. Incluir más farmacias, centros de salud comunitarios y, en algunos estados, incluso estadios deportivos.

 

AARP aboga en todos los estados y nos aseguramos de instar a los gobernadores, legisladores estatales y todos los funcionarios electos a mejorar la información y la coordinación sobre el lanzamiento de la vacuna contra la COVID-19. Y muchos que forman parte de nuestro personal y nuestros voluntarios forman parte de juntas asesoras. También estamos ampliando nuestros esfuerzos para brindar información confiable sobre las vacunas a las personas mayores de 50 años. Por ejemplo, como mencionó Bill, hemos publicado guías en línea para todos los estados, en las que se explica cómo obtener la vacuna en el lugar donde vives.

 

Las oficinas estatales de AARP también están organizando decenas de conversaciones locales como esta cada semana, y los voluntarios están encontrando formas de comunicarse con otros para brindar información local sobre las vacunas. A medida que continúe la implementación, mantendremos la presión sobre los funcionarios electos y continuaremos brindando información crítica a nuestros socios. Para mantenerse actualizados sobre todos estos esfuerzos y encontrar resúmenes de los planes estatales para la distribución de vacunas, visiten aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Gracias de nuevo, Bill.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, gracias Nancy, por esa actualización. Realmente lo aprecio y como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer una pregunta, por favor presiona * 3. Ahora es el momento de abordar sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus con la Dra. Krystina Woods y Lilly Kan. Presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para comunicarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para compartir su pregunta en vivo. Ahora me gustaría traer a mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand, para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas. Bienvenida, Jean.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muchas gracias, Bill. Encantada de estar aquí.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, ¿quién es la primera persona que llama?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra primera llamada es Eileen de Nueva York.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Eileen, bienvenida al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Eileen: Hola.

 

Bill Walsh: Adelante, Eileen. Muy bien. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Eileen: Me gustaría saber, después de la segunda dosis de la inyección, ¿cuántas semanas tarda el cuerpo en desarrollar inmunidad después de la vacuna? Ya sea Moderna o Pfizer.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, bueno, hagamos esa pregunta a la Dra. Woods. Dra. Woods, ¿puede responder la pregunta de Eileen?

 

Krystina Woods: Bueno, creo que la mejor manera de ver esto es contar desde la primera dosis que recibió, en lugar de la segunda porque hay una pequeña diferencia en la cantidad de días que posiblemente puedes recibir tu segunda dosis. Entonces, serían seis semanas desde la primera dosis de la vacuna Moderna, o siete semanas desde la primera dosis de Pfizer o Johnson & Johnson.

 

Por lo tanto, fíjate en la dosis de la primera, o la fecha de la primera, y serán seis semanas a partir de esa fecha, asumiendo que has recibido ambas dosis. Entonces, si te saltas la segunda dosis, eso no cuenta, pero si recibes las dos, seis semanas después de la primera dosis de Moderna o siete semanas después de la primera dosis de Pfizer o Johnson & Johnson consideraríamos la máxima eficacia, asumiendo que tampoco tienes problemas inmunológicos.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Déjame continuar con eso. Dados los problemas de suministro, si la gente recibió su primera dosis, pero hay un retraso en la segunda, ¿qué deben hacer?

 

Krystina Woods: El consejo es que realmente intentes ir al centro de vacunas y te asegures de recibir tu segunda dosis. Sé que están teniendo problemas en el estado de Nueva Jersey, donde vivo, donde la gente hizo su primera cita, y no consiguió una segunda, y están haciendo esfuerzos para intentar llamar a esos individuos. Los han identificado y están tratando de llamarlos, pero imagino que será un proceso largo.

 

El mejor consejo que tengo para cualquiera es que si van a recibir su primera dosis, antes de irse, asegúrese de que haya una segunda que haya sido programada. Tendrán mucha mejor suerte cuando estén en el sitio tratando con alguien allí, que si ya se fueron a casa y tratan de llamar y hacer todos esos procesos. Sabemos que hay un poco de tiempo en el que hay un margen de maniobra, por lo que no todo está perdido si esperas un poco más de lo esperado para la segunda dosis. Pero ciertamente, cuanto más se acerque al tiempo que recomendamos, mejor.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias. Jean, ¿quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Sandy de California.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, bienvenida al programa, continúa.

 

Sandy: Hola. Gracias por atender mi llamada y buenos días a todos. Estoy confinada en casa, no conduzco, realmente no tengo a nadie que me ayude y no puedo usar internet, tengo problemas de visión. ¿Qué hago para vacunarme?

 

Bill Walsh: Dra. Woods, ¿quiere intentar abordar esa pregunta?

 

Krystina Woods: Eso es muy difícil. Sé que muchos hospitales, como el mío incluido, tenemos listas de pacientes que son elegibles para una vacuna, y tenemos algunas personas que se están comunicando con esos pacientes, los llaman y les preguntan si tienen la intención de vacunarse y tratan de ayudarlos en ese proceso. No sé si tiene vínculos con un centro médico donde recibes su atención o si tienes un consultorio médico, ese puede ser un lugar para comenzar. Especialmente si se trata de una práctica más grande o, de nuevo, algo vinculado a un hospital donde puede haber trabajadores sociales u otros voluntarios que estén trabajando en esto. Sabes, no sé si nuestra otra panelista, Lilly, no sé si tienes alguna otra sugerencia.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, Lilly, ¿tienes alguna sugerencia para Sandy?

 

Lilly Kan: Sí, muchas gracias, Dra. Woods y Bill. También reconozco el gran desafío que representa para las personas confinadas en sus hogares y que también tienen dificultades para acceder a la información en línea. Creo que, donde hay números de teléfono disponibles a nivel estatal y local, y ciertamente, el recurso, Bill, que mencionaste de AARP es un recurso realmente importante para obtener algo de esa información. También tiene un documento de información de contacto a nivel estatal y local al que las personas pueden llamar.

 

Si no tienes a alguien que pueda ayudarte con algunas de esas cosas, hemos escuchado ejemplos de departamentos de salud locales en este momento, que están planificando o en las diversas etapas de implementación de esfuerzos para llegar mejor a las personas confinadas en sus hogares, que normalmente han sido adultos mayores. Y así, por ejemplo, algunos departamentos de salud locales están colaborando con los servicios médicos de emergencia para utilizar paramédicos y socios de servicios para personas mayores para llegar a las personas en sus hogares.

 

De hecho, algunos ya estaban brindando servicios de pruebas de COVID-19 a adultos mayores confinados en casa de manera muy limitada. Entonces, están tratando de descubrir cómo usar parte de esa infraestructura para ayudar a las personas a recibir las vacunas de COVID-19. Ahora, actualmente no tengo información sobre si eso está sucediendo en California en este momento, porque si esto realmente ya está sucediendo a nivel local, realmente varía.

 

Nuevamente, sabemos que solo los diferentes departamentos de salud locales se encuentran en las diversas etapas para poder hacer esto de manera más amplia. En parte, porque nuevamente, el suministro de vacunas es muy bajo. Los departamentos de salud locales han estado determinando absolutamente cómo pueden trabajar para formar equipos de personas que puedan llegar a las personas confinadas en sus hogares.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias, Lilly y Dra. Woods. Y Sandy, espera en la línea, estamos buscando el número del departamento de salud cercano a ti. Nuestro excelente personal aquí en AARP acaba de conseguirlo. Si tienes algo con qué escribir, tal vez puedas anotar este número, Sandy, es 833-422-4255. Eso es 833-422-4255. Esa es la línea directa para COVID-19 en California, y deberían poder brindarte cierta información. Entonces, espero, que te sirva, Sandy. Muchas gracias por la llamada. Jean, ¿quién es el siguiente en la línea?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Bunny de Wyoming.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Bunny. Bienvenida al programa, continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Bunny: Muchas gracias. Hoy escuché que los CDC dicen que las personas con vacunación completa no necesitan ponerse en cuarentena después de una exposición a la COVID-19, ¡Me suena genial! ¿Lo han escuchado y es verdad?

 

Bill Walsh: No lo he hecho, pero hagamos que la Dra. Woods evalúe eso. ¿Ha oído eso, Dra. Woods?

 

Krystina Woods: Sí. En este momento, están diciendo que si estás completamente vacunado, significa que han pasado al menos dos semanas desde su segunda dosis, o si pasaron más de dos semanas desde que recibes la primera dosis de una vacuna de dosis única. Entonces, nuevamente, si recibes la Johnson & Johnson, solo necesitas una, y siempre que estés asintomático, lo que significa que no tienes ningún síntoma de COVID-19, y si es dentro de los tres meses posteriores a la recepción de la última dosis. Entonces no necesitarías ponerte en cuarentena.

 

Pero hay un par de excepciones a eso. Debes asegurarte de estar en el tiempo correcto después de haber recibido tu segunda dosis o tu última dosis de la vacuna, que estás dentro de los tres meses posteriores a que eso suceda y que no tienes ningún síntoma. Entonces, sospecho que habrá algunos cambios en esto a medida que recopilemos más información, pero eso es lo que están diciendo a partir de, creo, lo que salió ayer.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Esa guía, Dra. Woods, abordó el uso de mascarillas o el distanciamiento social si la gente sale?

 

Krystina Woods: Todavía tenemos que hacer todo eso, y parte de la suposición es que incluso después de esta exposición, la persona que ha estado expuesta continúe usando mascarilla y manteniendo distancia. Así que eso aún no ha desaparecido, y parte de eso se debe a que las vacunas evaluaron si las personas podían contraer COVID-19 sintomático o no.

 

En realidad, no evaluaron hasta qué punto puedes estar infectado asintomáticamente después de esta vacuna, o hasta qué punto puedes portar COVID-19 si estás en contacto con alguien que sea positivo. Entonces, hasta que tengamos esa información, que ellos están investigando, no podremos deshacernos de las mascarillas, y no podremos brindar más orientación sobre cómo cambiar algunos de los comportamientos que le hemos pedido a la gente que continúe teniendo. Entonces, por ahora, el uso de mascarillas y el distanciamiento social continúan, el lavado de manos permanece, pero potencialmente algunas de las restricciones de cuarentena pueden estar cambiando.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Gracias por eso, Jean, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos bastantes llamadas, o preguntas provenientes de YouTube y Facebook. Entonces, esta viene de Tom en YouTube, y él pregunta: "¿Mi inmunidad me protege de las variantes de COVID-19 o debería recibir la vacuna ahora? Estoy en Pittsburgh, PA, y la variante del Reino Unido se ha encontrado aquí”.

 

Bill Walsh: Dra. Woods, ¿tiene alguna idea al respecto?

 

Krystina Woods: Por ahora, debido a que no sabemos nada diferente, estamos recomendando que cualquier persona que haya estado enferma se vacune, porque tenemos datos de que la vacuna brinda cierta protección. No tenemos datos de que la infección natural lo haga.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, gracias. Jean, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos otra pregunta de YouTube de SG, en YouTube. Y la persona pregunta: "Escuché que algunos medios de comunicación le dicen a la gente que se registre en todos los condados del estado". Y esta persona viene de Tennessee. "Realmente me opongo a eso porque está ocupando espacios de otros y no puedo inscribirme en eso, ¿cuál es su orientación al respecto?"

 

Bill Walsh: Lilly, me pregunto si podrías abordar esa pregunta. ¿Debería la gente registrarse en todos los diferentes condados del estado?

 

Lilly Kan: Ciertamente, el enfoque que están adoptando los departamentos de salud estatales y locales para comenzar es asegurarse de que los residentes de las comunidades a las que sirven tengan todas las opciones posibles para registrarse y preinscribirse para cuando la vacuna contra la COVID -19 esté disponible. Por lo tanto, es realmente importante, absolutamente, que el primer paso sea concentrarse en las opciones que tienes disponibles dentro de tu comunidad y dentro de tu condado, especialmente reconociendo que las citas disponibles en tu condado también están vinculadas a los lugares donde van a tener que ir.

 

Por lo tanto, inscribirse en diferentes condados también puede ser, en última instancia, muy desafiante si la cita real que se consigue es en una comunidad diferente a la que es realmente muy difícil de llegar. Dicho esto, reconocemos que muchas personas están adoptando enfoques diferentes, pero ciertamente diría para comenzar que se concentren en las opciones que tienen disponibles dentro de su condado o ciudad, o pueblo, porque nuevamente, una vez que se hace una cita y puedes recibir la vacuna, que sea en el lugar más fácil de acceder.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias por eso Lilly, y como ella señala en esta pregunta, no obstruirá el sistema para todos los demás que realmente viven en el condado. ¿Correcto? Parece que es una forma de engañar al sistema, sí. Bien, bien, Jean, vayamos a nuestra próxima llamada.

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestro próximo interlocutor es Robert de Illinois.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Robert, bienvenido al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Robert: Gracias. Sí, estoy interesado en la de Johnson % Johnson, siempre y cuando se apruebe, cómo se limita a una única inyección. Mi pregunta es, ustedes explicaron anteriormente que cualquiera de las vacunas te impediría contagiarte de COVID-19, si ese es el caso, ¿cuál es la ventaja, si la hay, de que la Moderna y Pfizer tengan un porcentaje de eficacia más alto? ¿Qué estoy obteniendo? ¿Qué está pasando que es mucho mejor que la única dosis de Johnson al 66%?

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, está bien, preguntémosle a la Dra. Woods. Abordó esto un poco antes, pero tal vez pueda explicarlo de nuevo, Dra. Woods, porque creo que existe cierta confusión.

 

Krystina Woods: Nuevamente, cuando las vacunas Moderna y Pfizer estaban en sus pruebas, se hicieron en un escenario en el que no teníamos ninguna de las variantes circulando y por eso pensamos que existe tal diferencia en la eficacia que se ha demostrado en aquellos comparados con el ensayo de Johnson & Johnson, que ha mostrado una eficacia menor en comparación con esas dos.

 

Sin embargo, de nuevo, creo que lo más importante aquí es que lo que estamos viendo es que queremos asegurarnos de que las personas no contraigan la enfermedad COVID-19 grave. No sabemos si algunas personas que están vacunadas están contrayendo COVID-19, pero son completamente asintomáticas. Entonces, nuevamente, tenemos que esperar y ver los datos al respecto, pero sabemos que todas estas vacunas son igualmente efectivas para prevenir enfermedades graves, para prevenir la hospitalización y prevenir la muerte. Y eso es realmente lo que buscamos con estas vacunas, y realmente, el mensaje que creo que realmente debería ser el que se difunda.

 

Estoy de acuerdo con usted en que recibir una vacuna de una dosis es más fácil porque entonces no tiene que preocuparse por volver atrás y programar su segunda dosis, o muchas complicaciones por eso. No todo el mundo puede moverse con tanta facilidad. A veces, ya sabes, estás esperando a que otros familiares o amigos, o alguien que te ayude, ya sabes, te lleve al centro de vacunas y regrese. Entonces, definitivamente veo un buen beneficio en tener una vacuna de una dosis desde esa perspectiva, y si fuera yo, y se la recomendara a un miembro de la familia, me sentiría igualmente cómodo con que ellos recibieran cualquiera de esas vacunas, sabiendo que estaría protegido de enfermedades graves, de hospitalización y muerte.

 

Bill Walsh: Parece que lo que está diciendo es que, aparte del régimen de una o dos dosis para las diferentes vacunas, todas son igualmente efectivas para prevenir hospitalizaciones, muertes y enfermedades graves por COVID-19. ¿Estoy en lo correcto?

 

Krystina Woods: Sí, sí. Donde no son igualmente efectivas es en las personas que potencialmente aún podrían tener la enfermedad sintomática, pero nuevamente, si esos síntomas son leves, no nos preocupamos tanto porque no va a tener un impacto en la vida de alguien, ya sabes, en la necesidad de buscar algún tipo de atención médica superior. Terminará siendo algo más parecido a una enfermedad de las vías respiratorias superiores, un resfriado, una gripe, eso es leve, en comparación con alguien que no está vacunado, que potencialmente podría terminar en el hospital necesitando atención médica bastante severa y potencialmente muera.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, muy bien. Gracias de nuevo por esa aclaración. Jean, volvamos a los teléfonos. ¿Quién es nuestro próximo interlocutor?

 

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos otra pregunta que viene de Facebook, y esta viene de Kimberly, quien pregunta: "¿Qué programa es ese para que las farmacias puedan administrar la vacuna? ¿No debería ser a través del departamento de salud que se asigne una ubicación? ¿Cómo puedes entrar en una tienda y vacunarte?"

 

Bill Walsh: Lilly, ¿podrías abordar eso?

 

Lilly Kan: Sí, absolutamente. Entonces, lo que pregunta Kimberly es sobre el programa Federal Retail Pharmacy. Este es un programa que el Gobierno federal está implementando gradualmente ahora como una forma adicional de aumentar el acceso de las personas a las vacunas contra la COVID-19. Y esto no pretende reemplazar lo que los departamentos de salud locales ya están haciendo para administrar su suministro de vacunas contra la COVID-19. No pretende reemplazar lo que los hospitales y centros de salud están haciendo actualmente, así como otras vacunas comunitarias, pero también reconoce que las personas viven en diferentes lugares y tienen diferentes puntos de acceso. Y las farmacias pueden ser un punto de acceso importante para que muchas personas obtengan la vacuna contra la COVID-19.

 

El lanzamiento inicial de este programa que está sucediendo esta semana, nuevamente, es una fase inicial para probar también el sistema y los procesos, de modo que cuando las vacunas puedan estar más ampliamente disponibles en el próximo mes, este sistema también será robusto y la implementación, y si hay problemas, se resolverán durante los próximos meses. Entonces, nuevamente, es otra capa que complementa lo que están haciendo los departamentos de salud a nivel local y también sus vacunaciones comunitarias.

 

Bill Walsh: Es muy interesante. Quiero decir, a mi propia madre le dijeron que fuera a la farmacia local para vacunarse, y eso fue bastante inusual. ¿La mayoría de las farmacias están preparadas para administrar vacunas?

 

Lilly Kan: Realmente varía según la ciudad y el condado, y dentro de los estados. Ciertamente, hemos visto cómo las farmacias han estado involucradas y también trabajando mano a mano con los departamentos de salud locales para coordinar sus esfuerzos de vacunación, para asegurarnos de que realmente están llegando al conjunto más amplio de sus comunidades y no necesariamente duplicando su alcance a las mismas poblaciones. Y así, mucho de ese trabajo y esas asociaciones ya se han establecido antes de la pandemia de COVID-19 con otras inmunizaciones recomendadas de forma rutinaria.

 

Entonces, hay una buena base a partir de la cual podemos construir para continuar aprovechando ese tipo de asociaciones que ocurren dentro de los estados, con los departamentos de salud como parte de ella. Creo que una de las cosas importantes es que en realidad están sucediendo tantas cosas en este momento con todos los diferentes sitios de vacunación, que ciertamente hay más oportunidades de continuar reforzando las formas en las que se están coordinando, pero ciertamente, eso es algo en que los departamentos de salud y también farmacias están trabajando.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien. Volvamos a nuestra línea. ¿De quién es nuestra próxima llamada, Jean?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es de Yvette de Nueva York.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Yvette, bienvenida al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Yvette: Muy bien, gracias por atender mi llamada. Mi madre anciana, tiene más de 90 años, ha tenido reacciones graves a la vacuna contra la gripe y no se atreve a recibir la vacuna contra la COVID-19. ¿Cuál es su recomendación acerca de que reciba la vacuna contra la COVID-19 y, de ser así, cuál?

 

Bill Walsh: Yvette, ¿tiene alguna condición preexistente?

 

Yvette: Sí. Las tiene.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Puedes decir cuáles son? Podría ayudar en la respuesta.

 

Yvette: Sí, tiene la presión arterial alta.

 

Bill Walsh: Presión arterial alta, de acuerdo. Dra. Woods, me pregunto si podría abordar la pregunta de Yvette sobre su madre.

 

Krystina Woods: Hola, Yvette, hasta ahora, cualquiera que haya tenido algún tipo de reacción grave a la vacuna contra la gripe, no lo convierte en alguien que tuviera algún impedimento para vacunarse contra la COVID-19. Entonces, la buena noticia es que eso no significa que no puedan recibir una vacuna contra la COVID-19. Hay muy, muy pocas excepciones para las que no daríamos las vacunas contra la COVID-19, que actualmente están aprobadas. Y tienen que ver con alergias con componentes específicos de la vacuna.

 

La mayoría de las personas han tenido problemas con las vacunas en el pasado porque son alérgicas a los huevos. Esto no es un problema con la vacuna contra la COVID-19 y, por lo tanto, realmente hay una pequeña minoría de personas que no serán elegibles para la vacuna. Entonces, creo que es una buena noticia que incluso si su madre tuvo algunos problemas con la vacuna contra la gripe antes, podría recibir la vacuna contra la COVID-19, y en cuanto a cuál, cualesquiera de las vacunas contra la COVID-19 actuales aprobadas sería buena para ella.

 

Bill Walsh: Y según tengo entendido, las personas que reciben la vacuna, cualquiera de las vacunas, son monitoreadas hasta 30 minutos después de recibir la inyección. ¿No es así?

 

Krystina Woods: Existe una diferencia en el seguimiento dependiendo de si alguien informa o no alergias de cualquier tipo. Si alguien tiene alergias, lo vigilan durante 30 minutos y eso se debe en parte a que, inicialmente, cuando hubo informes de reacciones alérgicas en personas que recibieron las vacunas, no eran personas que tenían antecedentes de alergias.

 

Posteriormente, realmente no hubo mucho vínculo específico con, por ejemplo, una alergia a los mariscos, y por lo tanto, algunos centros no necesariamente continúan haciendo eso, pero es un mínimo de 15 minutos de espera, generalmente después de la vacuna que te observan. Entonces, nuevamente, pídele que hable con su médico, asegúrate de que no haya nada que en los pocos minutos, o en los pocos segundos de conversación que me he perdido, pero hasta ahora, la recomendación sería que ella debería poder recibir la vacuna contra la COVID-19.

 

Bill Walsh: Genial. Gracias. Jean, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestro próximo interlocutor es Robert de Nueva York.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Robert, bienvenido al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

Robert: Sí, habla Robert. Estoy tratando de encontrar un lugar para vacunarme. Llamé tres veces, fui a urgencias, fui al consultorio del médico y nadie tiene ningún suministro.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, ¿sabes qué, Robert? Vamos a pedirle a nuestro personal que... Bueno, ya lo sacaron, ¡me leyeron la mente! ¿Tienes un lápiz o una hoja de papel? Puede anotar un número de teléfono.

 

Robert: Tengo que ir a buscarlo.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, bueno, te esperamos. Adelante, tenemos la línea directa de vacunas contra la COVID-19 de Nueva York. Y mientras Robert busca sus materiales de escritura, para nuestros otros oyentes, AARP ha creado pautas estatales por estado con información útil sobre cómo comunicarse. Y encontrarán números de teléfono gratuitos, sitios web, preguntas para hacer, vayan a aarp.org/elcoronavirus y simplemente busca tu estado, y tienes toda esa información útil. ¿Has vuelto, Robert? Bueno.

 

Jean Setzfand: Bill, podemos seguir con Robert en un segundo. Déjame hacerte una pregunta de Facebook y viene de Alice.

 

Robert: Está bien.

 

Jean Setzfand: Está bien, aquí vamos. Volvamos a Robert.

 

Bill Walsh: Oye, Robert, déjame darte esto, claro. Déjame darte este número de teléfono. ¿Estás listo?

 

Robert: Sí.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, es 833-697--

 

Robert: Espera. 8.

 

Bill Walsh: 833.

 

Robert: Sí.

 

Bill Walsh: 697-4829. ¿De acuerdo? Entonces, 833-697-4829. Esa es la línea directa de vacunas en Nueva York. Lilly, ¿quieres agregar algo?

 

Lilly Kan: Y de hecho, me preguntaba si también podría dar un segundo número, por si acaso. Sé, sin duda, que las líneas telefónicas y también los sitios web se han visto abrumados. Entonces, ¿si pudiera dar también un segundo para el estado de Nueva York? Por si acaso el primero pueda estar ocupado.

 

Bill Walsh: Claro, adelante.

 

Lilly Kan: Entonces, esa línea directa también es, Robert, 1-888-364-3065. Ahora, esta es la línea directa más amplia para el estado, así que ciertamente debería probar la específica para la vacuna.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Muy bien. Robert, ¿estás en buena forma? Bien, buena suerte, Robert. Jean, ¿querías ir a la pregunta de Alice en Facebook?

 

Jean Setzfand: Claro. Alice pregunta desde Facebook: "Para las vacunas para personas mayores confinadas en el hogar, ¿qué pasará?" Esta persona es única cuidadora de 70 años de un esposo de 84 años con demencia por Parkinson. Entonces, Alice pregunta qué esperanza hay en torno a las personas mayores confinadas en casa.

 

Bill Walsh: Lilly, ¿quieres opinar sobre eso? ¿Hay estados o condados que estén haciendo un buen trabajo de alcance móvil o algo por el estilo? ¿Para poner las vacunas a las personas confinadas en casa?

 

Lilly Kan: Muchas gracias, Bill. En este momento, muchos departamentos de salud locales se encuentran en las fases de planificación. Además de algunos de los ejemplos que proporcioné anteriormente con el compromiso que tenían con EMS para utilizar paramédicos. Algunos están trabajando con su agencia local sobre el envejecimiento y los servicios sociales. Han estado recopilando datos hasta ahora, solo para darles una idea de dónde se encuentran en la planificación.

 

Han estado recopilando datos sobre la cantidad de adultos mayores confinados en sus hogares, están tratando de hacer coincidir ese número con el personal que tienen disponible mientras planifican equipos de viaje. Algunos departamentos de salud están realizando visitas domiciliarias no relacionadas con la COVID-19, como controles de seguridad en el hogar para adultos mayores, y también están trabajando con proveedores de servicios de accesibilidad locales.

 

Entonces, lo que yo diría es que hay muchos socios diferentes con los que están trabajando los departamentos de salud, que han apoyado específicamente a los adultos mayores. Entonces, como primer paso, en su comunidad local, puedes pedir a los socios que brindan servicios más allá de las vacunas para ver si ya se han conectado con sus departamentos de salud locales, para que también planifiquen las vacunas contra la COVID-19 para adultos confinados en el hogar.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias, Lilly, por eso, y gracias a nuestros oyentes por sus preguntas. En breve veremos más, y recuerden, si desean hacer su pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono. Tenemos los resultados de esa encuesta que realizamos al comienzo de la transmisión. Les preguntamos cuál es su mayor obstáculo para inscribirse en una vacuna, y parece que el 30% de ustedes dijo que el mayor obstáculo era tener una fuente confiable de información sobre dónde y cómo inscribirse. 30%. El 9% dijo que la tecnología era confusa. El 14% de ustedes dijo que involucra demasiados pasos, otro 14% dijo que había largos tiempos de espera en las líneas telefónicas. Y el 33% de ustedes dijo que no había tenido problemas para inscribirse. Así que, muchas gracias por sus respuestas.

 

Volvamos a nuestros expertos. Dra. Woods, el impacto desproporcionado de la COVID-19 en las personas de color ha sido bien documentado, ¿cómo ha tratado de abordar esto la distribución de vacunas?

 

Krystina Woods: Desafortunadamente, creo que la COVID-19, al igual que muchas otras enfermedades que tenemos en este país, afectan de manera desproporcionada a las personas de color y, desafortunadamente, mucho de eso tiene que ver con el acceso a la atención en muchas de estas comunidades. Diferentes estados han optado por hacer esto de manera diferente, y no puedo hablar, ya sabes, a nivel nacional, pero lo que puedo decir es que práctico en Nueva York, el hospital en el que trabajo está en Nueva York.

 

Y hubo un verdadero esfuerzo concertado para tratar de llevar campañas de vacunación a estos vecindarios. Desafortunadamente, debido a muchos errores históricos y, en realidad, a los abusos de confianza de la comunidad científica en estas comunidades minoritarias, hay muchas dudas en torno a las vacunas. Hay muchas dudas sobre la confianza en la información médica y entiendo completamente por qué ese sería el caso, y debido a que existe un entendimiento de que esto ha sucedido históricamente, ha habido mucho más alcance para tratar de educar a las comunidades de color, tratar de educar a algunas de estas comunidades más afectadas sobre las vacunas, sobre el hecho de que son efectivas y sobre el hecho de que son seguras.

 

Y así, eso ha sido algo que ha sucedido en Nueva York, donde ha habido un acercamiento específico a estas comunidades, y algunas de las formas en que se distribuyó la vacuna, de acuerdo con la información que hemos estado obteniendo del gobernador y del departamento de salud local es que ha habido una asignación hecha específicamente para estas comunidades. Y nuevamente, no puedo hablar de cómo se ha hecho en otros lugares, pero creo que es un paso importante, y creo que es realmente un paso importante hacia la conversación más amplia de la necesidad de abordar las disparidades generales de atención médica que ocurren en estas comunidades.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias por eso. Y Dra. Woods, ¿puede decirnos si hay alguna preparación previa que la gente deba hacer para obtener una vacuna? Me refiero a papeleo, información del seguro, ¿tienen que ayunar? ¿O algo más que necesiten hacer para prepararse?

 

Krystina Woods: No hay nada que deban hacer específicamente para prepararse. Lo único que le decimos a la gente es que, por lo general, después de recibir su primera vacuna, se le proporciona una tarjeta de vacunación. Por lo tanto, les pedimos a las personas que recuerden llevar eso a su próxima cita. Una cosa que ayuda a la gente, porque a veces sé que me he olvidado de llevar las tarjetas de vacunas para mis hijos cuando las llevo al pediatra. Toma una foto de esa tarjeta.

 

A menudo no nos olvidamos de nuestros teléfonos y al menos entonces la persona que está completando su información podrá ver la evidencia de esa primera vacuna y darte una tarjeta nueva que puede tener la información que necesitas en ella. Así que realmente, ya sabes, entra preparado, prepárate para la vacuna. Hay algunas personas que han estado tomando Tylenol o Advil, o cosas por el estilo, antes de vacunarse porque les preocupan algunos de los efectos secundarios. Eso no es algo recomendable.

 

En este momento, todavía hay mucho trabajo por hacer para comprender si eso podría afectar o no la respuesta inmunitaria después de recibir la vacuna. Por lo tanto, no recomendaría que alguien tome estas cosas específicamente porque se está preparando para recibir la vacuna ese día. Si hay otras razones por las que alguien está tomando esos medicamentos, obviamente está bien, pero no queremos que lo hagan específicamente porque temen que puedan tener escalofríos o dolores corporales después de la vacuna. Después del hecho, si alguien los tiene, puede tomar estos medicamentos, pero les recomendamos que no lo hagan antes.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, muy bien. Gracias. Volvamos a ti de nuevo, Lilly. ¿Cuáles son algunas de las formas en que los departamentos de salud locales han priorizado el alcance de las vacunas para las personas de color y los adultos mayores?

 

Lilly Kan: Sí, gracias Bill, y creo que esto también se basa en lo que la Dra. Woods mencionó anteriormente sobre la necesidad y la importancia de apoyar a las personas de color a través de la distribución de vacunas, que sea equitativa y de fácil acceso para todas las personas. Por lo tanto, los departamentos de salud locales están trabajando activamente en la adopción equitativa de la vacuna contra la COVID-19 en todas las comunidades, todas las razas, etnias y grupos geográficos.

 

Y una de las formas en que los departamentos de salud locales han priorizado el alcance de las vacunas para las personas de color y los adultos mayores tiene que ver con comenzar a usar datos y otra información para informar más específicamente sus esfuerzos de alcance. Y así, algunos estados y condados, cuando tienen esta información, también la ponen a disposición del público para mostrar dónde viven las comunidades y poblaciones, especialmente aquellas que han sido más afectadas por la pandemia.

 

Entonces, algunos estados y condados, Santa Clara y Seattle King County, en California y Washington, son dos ejemplos que me vienen a la mente. Donde también han podido mostrar datos y mapas de sus tasas de vacunación contra la COVID-19 por raza, etnia y hasta el nivel del código postal en algunos casos. Y así, toda esta información ayuda a los departamentos de salud locales a precisar dónde necesitan hacer más alcance, y también ayuda a los socios locales a trabajar con los departamentos de salud locales sobre cómo apoyar a las diferentes comunidades y a las personas dentro.

 

Y cuando hablamos de alcance, Bill, lo que han estado haciendo los departamentos de salud locales. En realidad, se abre a dos áreas. Y entonces, uno, habla más de la distribución y administración, y la logística para acceder. Realmente se trata de asegurarse de que las personas tengan acceso a los puntos de vacunación. Por lo tanto, asegurarse de que las clínicas se realicen a propósito en diferentes lugares y en diferentes momentos que sean fáciles de acceder para diferentes personas con diferentes necesidades. Nuevamente, con un alto enfoque en las comunidades que se han visto afectadas de manera desproporcionada por la pandemia.

 

Y nosotros, y los departamentos de salud locales, hemos reconocido que esto es especialmente importante para las personas que no pueden viajar muy lejos o que no pueden esperar mucho tiempo para vacunarse, y actualmente están trabajando en estrategias para ir a donde se encuentra la gente. Ciertamente, algunos de los ejemplos que compartí anteriormente sobre la planificación que están haciendo actualmente para las personas confinadas en el hogar y el mismo tipo de planificación también está sucediendo para otros adultos mayores y también para las comunidades de color.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien.

 

Lilly Kan: Algunos están...

 

Bill Walsh: Adelante.

 

Lilly Kan: Algunos también están proporcionando, sí. Algunos están proporcionando vacunas limitadas, nuevamente, en otras estrategias. Pero la otra cosa que sí quería mencionar, especialmente porque la Dra. Woods lo mencionó, hay otras áreas de alcance y realmente implica comunicarse con las comunidades para compartir información y responder preguntas sobre la vacuna en sí. Sabemos que hay una gran población que actualmente todavía está tomando la decisión de vacunarse contra la COVID-19.

 

Nos hemos dado cuenta de que los departamentos de salud locales están navegando actualmente una alta demanda, pero también, las personas que todavía están tomando sus decisiones. Tienen muchas preguntas, necesitan mucha información y es muy importante reconocer que las personas toman estas decisiones en el contexto de su experiencia vivida. Y algo de esa experiencia vivida, nuevamente, se remonta a lo que decía la Dra. Woods.

 

Algunas comunidades han tenido un historial profundo de injusticias y desigualdades raciales, étnicas y otras injusticias sistémicas que han afectado su confianza en nuestros sistemas. Entonces, es realmente importante tener estas conversaciones, escuchar a las comunidades, escuchar dónde están, responder sus preguntas de la manera más respetuosa y sensible posible.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, Lilly, gracias por ese buen consejo. Y la Dra. Woods había instado sabiamente a las personas a traer su tarjeta de vacunación si tenían una cita para vacunarse. Una cosa que recomendamos a la gente que no haga es publicar fotos de esa tarjeta de vacuna en línea. Hemos visto que eso sucede y los estafadores usan las direcciones de las personas para elegirlas como blanco, si publican esas imágenes en línea. Por lo tanto, lleva tu tarjeta, no publiques una foto de ella en línea.

 

Dra. Woods, volviendo a usted. Hemos recibido muchas llamadas de personas preocupadas de que una enfermedad preexistente o problemas pasados ​​al tomar vacunas, como la llamada anterior, les impida recibir una vacuna contra la COVID-19. ¿Puede abordar qué factores podrían impedir que alguien reciba una vacuna si hay diferencias entre las vacunas?

 

Krystina Woods: Sí, si alguien tuvo una reacción en la que no pudo respirar después de haber recibido una vacuna previamente, eso es algo que deberíamos saber, y en general, estas personas están excluidas de esta vacuna. También hay alergias a algo llamado polietilenglicol, que existe en cierta forma en algunas de las preparaciones que las personas pueden tomar como laxantes, o incluso en goma de mascar sin azúcar.

 

Por lo tanto, si alguien tiene una reacción alérgica a uno de esos dos componentes, le recomendamos que también hable con un alergista. Depende de la gravedad de la reacción. Si es solo una erupción, puede ser algo con lo que se pueda trabajar, pero si se trata de una reacción más severa, se excluirán. Aparte de eso, realmente no hay ninguna razón por la que alguien no pueda ser vacunado con las vacunas contra la COVID-19 actualmente aprobadas.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, esa es una gran noticia. Gracias por eso, Dra. Woods.

 

Krystina Woods: Y de hecho, debo agregar que cualquier persona con estas afecciones médicas preexistentes podría tener un mayor riesgo de contraer una enfermedad grave, así que, ya sabes, sabemos que las personas con diabetes, presión arterial alta, con trastornos pulmonares permanentes, nos preocupa que se enfermen mucho si contraen COVID-19, por lo que queremos que vayan y se vacunen.

 

Bill Walsh: Claro. Entonces, las enfermedades preexistentes son una razón para vacunarse, no una razón para no hacerlo.

 

Krystina Woods: Absolutamente.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Bueno, gracias, Dra. Woods, y en breve abordaremos más preguntas de los oyentes, pero antes de hacerlo, me gustaría tomarme un momento una alerta AARP Fraud Watch. Al 1.° de febrero, la Comisión Federal de Comercio ha registrado casi 339,000 quejas de consumidores relacionadas con la COVID-19 y los pagos de estímulo. Casi el 70% de ellas involucran fraude o robo de identidad.

 

Los estafadores continúan encontrando formas de aprovecharse a través de llamadas, correos electrónicos y mensajes de texto, así como anuncios falsos para convencer a las personas de que pueden saltar al frente de las filas de vacunas por una tarifa, o proporcionando su número de Seguro Social u otro tipo de información confidencial y personal.

 

Las autoridades también anticipan una nueva ola de estafas de estímulo con el Congreso aprobando nuevas rondas de pagos de ayuda, beneficios mejorados por desempleo y préstamos para pequeñas empresas. Pero hay algunas formas en que pueden protegerse. Estos son algunos consejos. Estén alerta ante correos electrónicos, llamadas y publicaciones en las redes sociales con publicidad de pruebas de detección gratuitas ordenadas por el Gobierno.

 

Visiten el sitio web de la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos, fda.gov, para obtener una lista de empresas de pruebas aprobadas. No hagan clic en enlaces ni descarguen archivos de correos electrónicos inesperados. No compartan información personal como su número de Seguro Social, Medicare o tarjeta de crédito en respuesta a una llamada, mensaje de texto o correo electrónico no solicitado. Y siempre recurran a fuentes confiables, como su médico o el departamento de salud local, para obtener orientación sobre la distribución de una vacuna. Visiten aarp.org/fraude. para obtener más información sobre estas y otras estafas, o puede llamar a la línea de ayuda de la Red contra el Fraude, de AARP, al 877-908-3360.

 

Ahora es el momento de abordar más preguntas con la Dra. Krystina Woods y Lilly Kan. Recuerden presionar * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y hacer turno para hacer su pregunta en vivo. Jean, ¿quién es el siguiente en la línea?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestro próximo interlocutor es Charles, de Iowa.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Charles, bienvenido al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Charles: Sí, gracias por atender mi llamada. Me ha preocupado haber escuchado a personas en conflicto decir que se supone que debes tomar Pfizer, Pfizer, Moderna, Moderna, y luego escuché a la gente decir que puedes mezclar y combinar, y luego escuché a la gente decir: "Solo necesitas, una dosis". ¿Cuál es la conclusión?

 

Bill Walsh: Estás hablando de la segunda dosis, ¿podrías tomar Pfizer primero y Moderna después? ¿Esa es tu pregunta?

 

Charles: Sí, si eso es así. Necesito una aclaración, por favor.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias por eso Charles. Dra. Woods, ¿puede abordar eso?

 

Krystina Woods: Sí, hasta ahora, los CDC han dicho muy claramente que no deberíamos mezclar a los fabricantes. Por lo tanto, si comienzas con Pfizer, tu segunda dosis debería ser Pfizer. Si comienzas con Moderna, tu segunda dosis debe ser Moderna. No son intercambiables. Ha habido alguna conversación fuera de Estados Unidos sobre si eso es algo que debería hacerse con diferentes países investigando, si es algo que está permitido y hay algunos estudios en curso, pero para Estados Unidos, la recomendación sigue siendo que obtengas el mismo fabricante. Entonces, nuevamente, si tu primera dosis es Pfizer, tu próxima dosis es Pfizer. Si tu primera dosis es Moderna, tu próxima dosis será Moderna y nadie va a mezclarlas. Entonces, esa es la respuesta oficial.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias. Jean, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestro próximo interlocutor es Tom de Washington.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Tom, sigue adelante con tu pregunta.

 

Tom: Hola, muchas gracias. Mi nombre es Tom y me jubilé recientemente. Tengo 64 años, actualmente no estoy en ningún tipo de fase en la que pueda vacunarme, y la tasa actual de distribución en el estado de Washington será a mediados del 2022 que me vacune. Entonces, lo que me interesa, ¿hay algo que pueda hacer para ayudar a acelerar todo este proceso? ¿Qué podemos hacer para ayudar?

 

Bill Walsh: Esa es una gran pregunta y, con suerte, recibirás la vacuna antes de mediados del 2022, pero Lilly, ¿puedes decirle a Tom y a algunos de nuestros otros oyentes cómo pueden ayudar?

 

Lilly Kan: Sí, absolutamente. Tom, gracias por tu interés y pregunta, por lo que mencioné anteriormente sobre la situación, está cambiando muy rápidamente. Por lo tanto, si tienes acceso a una computadora y acceso a tu departamento de salud local o al sitio web del departamento de salud estatal, debes comenzar por continuar monitoreando esos sitios web para ver las actualizaciones sobre el suministro y, a medida que cambian, los diferentes grupos recomendados. Y nuevamente, no puedo enfatizar lo suficiente, lo rápido que está cambiando algo de eso, especialmente, ya que todos están tratando de inyectar vacunas en los brazos lo más rápido posible.

 

Ahora, en algunos casos, nuevamente, no tengo información sobre si esto está disponible y, o una opción para el estado de Washington, pero si puedes ser voluntario como parte de ciertas clínicas de vacunación, nuevamente, si tienes tiempo, si estás físicamente capacitado, puede haber algunas oportunidades para esos voluntarios, porque nuevamente, de lo esenciales que son para esas actividades críticas de salud pública y actividades de salud. Esa también podría ser una opción y, además, el beneficio de eso también es el tiempo en el que puedes apoyar todos los esfuerzos que se están realizando. Pero nuevamente, eso varía según la localidad y el estado.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias, Lilly. Y Tom, y otros oyentes que quieran ayudar con oportunidades de voluntariado, solo señalaré un sitio de AARP que reúne todas esas oportunidades, y pueden verificar por su propio código postal las oportunidades locales, y ese sitio es aarp.org/createthegood. aarp.org/createthegood. También puede - también puedes buscar el sitio de conexiones de la comunidad de AARP, donde pueden conectarse a oportunidades locales. Muy bien, Jean, ¿quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestro próximo interlocutor es Ryan de Nueva York.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Ryan, bienvenido al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Ryan: Algunos de nosotros tenemos discapacidades mentales, físicas o ambas, escuché a Nancy de AARP mencionar las camionetas móviles. ¿Cómo podemos nosotros, discapacitados, algunos de los cuales están inmóviles, recibir una vacuna? Gracias.

 

Bill Walsh: Lilly, ¿quieres abordar esa pregunta?

 

Lilly Kan: Sí. Muchas gracias por esa pregunta, Brian. Reconocemos que las personas con discapacidades también han estado entre las personas que se han visto afectadas de manera desproporcionada por la pandemia debido a ciertos desafíos y la movilidad para acceder a servicios y apoyos. Los departamentos de salud locales están trabajando con socios comunitarios para también servir y representar a las comunidades que tienen discapacidades para asegurarse de que estén obteniendo un acceso justo y equitativo a las vacunas contra la COVID-19.

 

Se está realizando mucha planificación y mucho trabajo, y nuevamente, parte de lo que ha impedido que los departamentos de salud puedan implementar completamente algunos de estos programas en este momento, se debe a que la oferta es muy limitada. Pero también, ciertamente, ha habido muchos recursos que actualmente, hasta ahora, están llegando a los departamentos de salud locales para hacer parte de esa planificación y asegurarse de que tengan el personal y la asociación adecuados para apoyar a las personas con discapacidades de manera equitativa y lo más apropiadamente posible.

 

Bill Walsh: Y Ryan, sé que estás en Nueva York, dimos este número antes, pero en caso de que no lo hayas recibido, la línea directa de vacunas de Nueva York es 833-697-4829, 833-697-4829. Mi esperanza es que también puedan responder algunas preguntas sobre transporte. Jean, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Patrice de Míchigan.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Patrice, bienvenida al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Patrice: Gracias. Gracias por aceptar mi pregunta. Sé que aquí en Míchigan, el Gobierno quiere que al menos el 70% de nuestra población esté vacunada. Entonces, mi pregunta es, una vez que todos los que quieren la vacuna, realmente la reciban. En el futuro, ¿es esta una vacuna similar a la vacuna contra la gripe? ¿Solo en el caso de que se coloca todos los años?

 

Bill Walsh: Dra. Woods, ¿puede abordar eso? No estoy seguro de que sepamos la respuesta a esa pregunta todavía, ¿verdad?

 

Krystina Woods: No lo sabemos. Todavía se está trabajando para comprender si esta será una vacuna que deberá administrarse todos los años, como la gripe, o tal vez será un refuerzo que necesitarás cada cinco o cada 10 años, como con el tétanos. Por lo tanto, deben recordar que en este momento solo se sabe que el virus circula en el planeta hace poco más de un año, y las vacunas se crearon durante el verano y se probaron durante el verano.

 

Entonces, ni siquiera tenemos un año de información sobre eso. Entonces, realmente no tenemos lo suficiente para decir con certeza si vamos a necesitar o no refuerzos, o si vamos a necesitar vacunas todos los años. Creo que parte de esa información estará un poco más disponible más adelante en este año, y tendremos que estar atentos y ver qué dicen los datos científicos predominantes.

 

Bill Walsh: Y Patrice había mencionado que el gobernador de Míchigan apuntó al 70% de la población, supongo que esto tiene algo que ver con el concepto de inmunidad colectiva, ¿puede hablar un poco sobre eso? ¿Y es el 70% el número correcto al que deberíamos apuntar?

 

Krystina Woods: Hay un concepto de inmunidad colectiva o, como prefiero llamarlo, inmunidad de rebaño, y la idea es que cuando hay un cierto número de personas que son inmunes o que tienen alguna protección contra una determinada enfermedad, que la probabilidad de que esa enfermedad pueda circular disminuye porque no hay personas que infecten, o tan pocas que no podría transmitirse de persona a persona.

 

Entonces, como vimos en la primavera, cuando no había inmunidad a este virus, grandes cantidades de comunidades estaban siendo afectadas y enfermaban. Lo que esperamos con todas las vacunas es que podamos evitar que se transfieran suficientes enfermedades en una población, y ese es el concepto de inmunidad colectiva o inmunidad de rebaño. El número exacto de eso realmente ha estado disminuyendo mucho durante los últimos meses. Números que han oscilado entre un 65% y un 85%.

 

Generalmente, para los virus, la cantidad que necesitamos realmente depende de cómo se reproduce el virus y qué tan contagioso es. Por lo tanto, realmente no tenemos un buen control de cuál será ese número. Los datos más recientes parecen sugerir que el 70% no será suficiente, pero nuevamente, ese ha sido un objetivo móvil y creo que todavía estamos aprendiendo sobre eso.

 

Bill Walsh: Estamos aprendiendo mucho sobre esto mientras lo experimentamos, ¿no es así?

 

Krystina Woods: Sí, y es algo interesante. Realmente estamos viviendo un momento histórico en el que tenemos algo que realmente no ha sucedido en mucho tiempo. La última vez que pudimos identificar una gran pandemia fue la pandemia de gripe en 1918. En ese momento, realmente pasaron unos buenos dos años antes de que hubiera algún tipo de movimiento hacia una vida más normal en ese entorno, y eso fue en una época en la que no tenían los avances científicos que tenemos nosotros.

 

No tenían una vacuna, ya sabes, algunos de los conocimientos básicos de cómo se transmiten las enfermedades aún estaban en su infancia, por lo que, ya sabes, estamos en un mejor lugar para abordarlo ahora. Y parte de eso también es que podemos tener conversaciones como esta, que puedes obtener información, que puedes usar esa información para luego protegerte y tomar las mejores decisiones para ti y tu familia. Entonces, tiene algunos beneficios, pero todos tenemos que ser pacientes, y creo que de alguna manera nos hemos olvidado de cómo hacerlo porque nos hemos acostumbrado tanto a que las cosas realmente sucedan instantáneamente.

 

Bill Walsh: Exactamente. Bueno, gracias. Jean, volvamos a las líneas. ¿Quién es nuestro próximo interlocutor?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Betty de Wyoming.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Betty. Bienvenida al programa, continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Betty: Gracias por responder mi pregunta. Tenemos un hijo que vive con nosotros, de más edad, cumplirá 60 este año. Estamos en nuestros 80 con factores subyacentes y hemos tenido nuestra primera inyección, pero nos preocupa que él no haya podido obtener una vacuna y no podamos quedarnos aquí sin su ayuda. ¿Cuándo podrán los cuidadores vacunarse?

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias, Betty. Esa es una excelente pregunta, una que estamos escuchando en todo el país. Lilly, me pregunto si podrías opinar sobre esto. Para los cuidadores familiares, que pueden no tener la edad suficiente para cumplir con esas pautas de elegibilidad, ¿dónde se encuentran en términos de priorización?

 

Lilly Kan: Sí, ciertamente. Para empezar, porque algunas de las decisiones sobre quién es elegible para recibir vacunas provienen del Gobierno federal, pero luego se aplican dentro de los estados y jurisdicciones locales por parte del Departamento de Salud estatal y en colaboración con diferentes socios importantes dentro del estado. Es muy importante consultar primero con su Gobierno local o estatal.

 

Y entonces, en la mayoría de los casos, esa es la línea directa o el sitio web del departamento de salud local, o el sitio web del Departamento de Salud del estado, o la línea directa porque les brindará la mejor información adaptada localmente a qué grupos y personas se recomiendan. Y nuevamente, en muchos casos, eso también depende de qué suministro actual esté disponible, y a quién de los departamentos de salud locales o estatales y sus socios comunitarios ya hayan vacunado. Y con gusto proporcionaré el número de la línea directa estatal de COVID-19. Ciertamente, Bill, reconozco que AARP también tiene un número.

 

Bill Walsh: Claro, hazlo, si lo tienes a mano.

 

Lilly Kan: Claro, la línea directa estatal de COVID-19 para Wyoming, Betty, si estás lista. ¿Tienes un bolígrafo?

 

Bill Walsh: Ella no está en la línea, pero adelante, dáselo.

 

Lilly Kan: Claro.

 

Bill Walsh: Nos aseguraremos de que lo reciba. Adelante, dilo.

 

Lilly Kan: Genial, ese número es 888-425-7138.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien y solo para todos nuestros oyentes, nuevamente, AARP tiene guías estatales con números gratuitos, sitios web y preguntas útiles para hacer. Si vas a aarp.org/elcoronavirus y simplemente buscas tu estado allí. Jean, ¿quién es el siguiente en la línea?

 

Jean Setzfand: Allen. Tenemos a Allen de Florida en la línea.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Allen. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Allen: Hola, ¿puedes oírme?

 

Bill Walsh: Puedo escucharte muy bien.

 

Allen: Muchas gracias. Tengo una pregunta de tres partes. Mi departamento de salud local se ha puesto en contacto conmigo para programar mi segunda vacuna Pfizer y ha cambiado mi fecha de 21 días después de la primera vacuna, a ahora 17 días para la segunda. Leí que los CDC han dicho que puede ser cuatro días antes, pero ¿es realmente seguro obtenerla después de 17 días y no esperar 21?

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, ¿y dijiste que tenías otra pregunta?

 

Allen: Y con respecto a esa pregunta, ¿se verá afectada mi respuesta o inmunidad y podría tener más efectos secundarios de esta vacuna porque la estoy recibiendo antes?

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, bueno, preguntémosle a la Dra. Woods sobre eso, ¿Dra. Woods?

 

Krystina Woods: Bueno, puedo decirte que no estás solo. Mi hospital había comenzado a vacunar a los trabajadores de la salud a fines de diciembre, y de hecho lo hicimos con 17 días de diferencia, y también teníamos la de Pfizer. Entonces, como tú, obtuve la mía en 17 días. Absolutamente, podemos hacer eso sin que haya problemas de seguridad. No hay evidencia que diga que va a tener más o menos efectos secundarios si lo mueves hasta 17 días.

 

Y de alguna manera, creo que, ya sabes, podría ayudar a los estados a programar a las personas y mantenerlas en movimiento. Entonces, no me opongo a que hagan eso, y no tengo ninguna preocupación al respecto, y en lo que respecta a cualquier respuesta inmunitaria, no hay evidencia que demuestre que tu respuesta inmunitaria debería ser peor o diferente al obtenerla unos días antes. Entonces, ten confianza en la fecha, vas a recibir tu segunda vacuna y, con suerte, estarás bien protegido.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Dra. Woods y Allen, gracias por esa pregunta. Jean, ¿quién es el siguiente en la línea?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Carol de Maryland.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Carol, bienvenida al programa, sigue adelante con tu pregunta.

 

Carol: Bueno, soy yo quien llamó por la pregunta sobre los anticuerpos y la respuesta inmunitaria a la vacuna, si es suficiente para estar protegido. Y el Dr. Fauci mencionó algo sobre una mejora, supongo que del virus, si no produces tus propios anticuerpos, ya sabes, en cantidades suficientes. Entonces, me preocupaba si ese es el mecanismo, y si es un virus atenuado, no está completamente eliminado. No puedo recibir vacunas vivas, desde el herpes zóster.

 

No la pude conseguir porque tiendo a recibir todas las vacunas necesarias que puedo conseguir, y especialmente contra la gripe todos los años, en octubre las recibo debido a mi problema. Entonces, ¿no debería preocuparme por recibir la vacuna? ¿Podría posiblemente tener lo que el Dr. Fauci describió como una mejora y uno de los, creo que fue, no sé qué organización o qué médico mencionó también, lo mencionó como una mejora? Entonces, por esa razón, dudo acerca de la vacuna y cómo me afectaría o no tendría ningún efecto en ese sentido.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, preguntémosle a la Dra. Woods si puede ayudar con eso. ¿Dra. Woods?

 

Krystina Woods: No entendí completamente la pregunta, pero estoy dispuesta a hacer todo lo posible para unificarla. Si tienes algún tipo de problema médico que te impida tener una respuesta inmunitaria muy fuerte -si realmente no tiendes a generar anticuerpos, digamos a otras vacunas- existe la posibilidad de que tampoco obtengas la mejor respuesta a esta vacuna.

 

No creo que sea una razón para no vacunarse porque incluso si tuvieras una pequeña cantidad de protección, mi argumento sería que la enfermedad es lo suficientemente grave como para preferir que mis pacientes, mis familiares, incluso tengan un poco de protección antes que ninguna, y realmente no tenemos una manera perfecta de medir qué tan bien respondemos a esta vacuna todavía, en términos de cualquier tipo de análisis de sangre en un laboratorio. Entonces, yo diría que alguien debería tratar de obtener cierta protección, antes que ninguna.

 

Con respecto a los problemas con las vacunas vivas, esta no es una vacuna viva. Por lo tanto, no deberías tener ningún problema para recibirla. No están inyectando virus, en realidad, con Pfizer y Moderna, lo que están haciendo es inyectarte una pequeña burbuja de grasa y dentro de esa burbuja de grasa hay esencialmente una receta para proteína de púas, que se asienta sobre el coronavirus. Estoy segura de que todos han visto fotos, parece una bola de púas y las puntas que salen de ella son las cosas a las que esta vacuna está entrenando a nuestro propio sistema inmunológico para que responda. Por lo tanto, si ha tenido problemas con vacunas vivas antes, nuevamente, esto no es una contraindicación, puedes obtener la vacuna Pfizer y Moderna sin ningún problema.

 

Si estás diciendo que has tenido COVID-19 antes y la pregunta es si esto va a afectar o no a la respuesta inmunitaria, hubo una sugerencia de que las personas que tenían COVID-19, cuando reciben estas vacunas, que es posible que tengan una reacción más severa, tal vez fiebre y escalofríos, y cosas así. Eso no ha surgido en muchos de los estudios científicos que han surgido sobre eso, y al menos, también, de hablar dentro de mi propia comunidad clínica que sí tuvo COVID-19 la primavera pasada, ellos, en general, no presentaban ningún tipo de síntoma más grave en comparación con sus compañeros que no tuvieron.

 

También existe la duda de si alguien que la tuvo en el pasado necesita o no recibir ambas vacunas. La conversación que escuché al Dr. Fauci tener sobre esto fue que, ya sabes, la vacuna puede servir como un refuerzo de la inmunidad natural de alguien contra la COVID-19. En este momento, la recomendación sigue siendo que alguien que haya tenido COVID-19 en el pasado, vaya y reciba ambas dosis, si está recibiendo Pfizer o Moderna. Si hablamos de Johnson & Johnson, de todos modos, solo hay una. Así que espero que eso responda a tus preguntas. Estoy tratando de imaginar lo que me perdí al comienzo de la conversación, que se cortaba.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, tomemos una pregunta más. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra última llamada es Myrtle de Misuri.

 

Bill Walsh: Oye, Myrtle, sigue adelante con tu pregunta.

 

Myrtle: Hola, ¿puedes oírme?

 

Bill Walsh: Puedo escucharte muy bien, sigue adelante con tu pregunta.

 

Myrtle: Está bien. Bueno, mi pregunta es, un poco la han respondido. Es una especie de dos partes. Hablaste, como dije, de las áreas de color en las que hay desconfianza y tengo que decir que estoy en esa categoría. Entonces, en base a cómo se creó esta vacuna a gran velocidad, y es una nueva tecnología, este ARN mensajero, ¿cómo puede una persona estar segura de que esta vacuna, al tomar esta vacuna, no los afectará de inmediato ni a largo plazo? Quiero decir, ¿qué evidencia respalda que recibir la vacuna es seguro?

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta, Myrtle. Gracias por eso. Dra. Woods, ¿puede abordar la ciencia detrás de esto y cómo lo sabemos que funciona y cómo sabemos que es segura?

 

Krystina Woods: Absolutamente, y yo completamente, entiendo esas preocupaciones y creo que cuando lo miramos en conjunto, todas las comunidades están preocupadas por si esto es seguro o no. Y puedo entender completamente que en ciertas comunidades, donde solo hay una vacilación hacia las vacunas y hacia esa información que uno piensa dos veces, y realmente quieres obtener una comprensión profunda de cómo sucedió esto.

 

Creo que lo desafortunado fue que todo este proceso se llamó Warp Speed (a alta velocidad). Creo que cuando reflexionamos, quizás, podría haber habido un término mejor para todo ese proceso porque creo que también ha aumentado algo de la ansiedad que tiene la gente. Pero para desglosarlo, esta es una nueva tecnología, pero no es algo que tan solo se haya desarrollado en el último año. Esta tecnología de vacuna existe desde hace más de una década y se ha utilizado en otras aplicaciones, incluso contra el cáncer. Entonces, tenemos datos de seguridad basados ​​en al menos esa cantidad de tiempo para saber que no ha habido preocupaciones de seguridad relacionadas con este tipo de tecnología para vacunas, así que creo que eso es tranquilizador.

 

La otra cosa que hay que entender es que, por lo general, cuando hay ensayos de vacunas, llevan mucho tiempo y eso se debe a una variedad de razones. En parte, se debe a que requieren financiación, y la financiación para ciertas enfermedades, ya sabes, no siempre es necesariamente muy emocionante. Especialmente si se trata de una enfermedad que se cree que no es tan problemática o no tan importante de inmediato. Entonces, debido a que esto afectó al mundo de una manera realmente abrumadora, la financiación para esta vacuna estaba disponible y muchos Gobiernos y muchas organizaciones dieron un paso adelante para financiarla. Entonces, eso ayudó a solucionar ese obstáculo.

 

La otra cosa es lograr que la gente se inscriba. Y convencer a alguien de que es importante inscribirse en una vacuna para una enfermedad que afecta a algunas poblaciones pequeñas, en algún lugar que está realmente lejos, es algo difícil de hacer. Y hay personas que se inscriben en ensayos y de alguna manera participan en este tipo de, descubrimiento científico, pero en su mayor parte, inscribir a personas en cantidades suficientes siempre ha sido un desafío para los ensayos de vacunas, y esa es otra razón por qué tradicionalmente, llevaría más tiempo. Pero nuevamente, entendiendo cuán urgente es esto, muchas personas dieron un paso adelante y se ofrecieron como voluntarias, por lo que el número de personas que pudieron reclutar fue realmente grande.

 

La mayoría de las veces, cuando vemos algún tipo de problema relacionado con las vacunas, ocurre en los primeros 90 días en los que esperaríamos ver que suceda algo realmente importante. Otras cosas suceden de forma más inmediata, por lo que, dentro de los primeros 30 días, también puede tener otros efectos. Y nuevamente, estas pruebas se realizaron durante el verano. Ahora tenemos, al menos, más de tres meses de datos. Para decir que es seguro en ese tiempo, y nuevamente, todavía tenemos una década de datos de esa tecnología, para decir que es segura. Entonces, si bien se movió muy rápidamente para el propio coronavirus, la tecnología ha existido durante más de una década y hay datos de seguridad que la respaldan.

 

También creo que si miras, ya sabes, la eficacia nuevamente, es realmente asombroso ver que realmente está previniendo hospitalizaciones y muertes, y en comunidades de color que han sido afectadas de manera tan desproporcionada por esto, creo que realmente es un argumento convincente para recibir una vacuna. Estas son las comunidades a las que nos gustaría más que acepten esta vacuna porque son las comunidades que están siendo más afectadas. Entonces, espero que tú y los miembros de tu comunidad sopesen esto y consideren seriamente vacunarse.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, Dra. Woods, muchas gracias, y Myrtle, gracias por esa pregunta. Dra. Woods y Lilly Kan, me pregunto si tienen algún pensamiento o recomendación final que nuestros oyentes deban entender más de nuestra conversación de hoy. Lilly, ¿quieres comenzar?

 

Lilly Kan: Claro, gracias, Bill. Ciertamente reconocemos que ha habido obstáculos en el camino a medida que se implementó el programa de vacunación, y era algo que era de esperar. Es un sistema muy complejo y que se mueve rápido, que los profesionales de la salud pública en todos los niveles de Gobierno han estado trabajando arduamente para implementar.

 

La buena noticia es que los mismos expertos en salud pública que están trabajando en esto tienen una amplia experiencia en la distribución y administración de vacunas y continuarán trabajando ardua y rápidamente para superar los obstáculos. Y entonces, realmente, con eso en mente, agradezco su comprensión y paciencia mientras han estado navegando por circunstancias complejas y no siempre teniendo la información que necesitan, pero saben lo que todos están trabajando realmente duro para corregir estas cosas. Gracias, Bill.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias por eso, Lilly. Dra. Woods, ¿algún pensamiento o recomendación para el cierre?

 

Krystina Woods: Solo quería decirles a todos los oyentes, gracias por venir y buscar la información y por querer realmente entender esto, y creo que es muy importante que hablen con sus amigos y su familia e intenten recopilar la mayor cantidad de información posible sobre la vacuna, su seguridad y, con suerte, podrán concertar esas citas cuando estén disponibles para ustedes.

 

Entiendo su frustración al querer obtenerla, y me alienta mucho el hecho de que tantas personas realmente estén adoptando el proceso de vacunación y quieran hacerlo. Puedo decir que, entre los profesionales de la salud, es algo que estamos muy emocionados de ver que esto está siendo bien recibido por el público. Y sí, solo les insto a que intenten registrarse para esta vacuna tan pronto como esté disponible para ustedes. Sigan con el proceso y sepan que les brindará la protección que todos esperábamos que brindara cuando se estaba desarrollando.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias por eso, Dra. Woods. Y gracias a las dos por responder a nuestras preguntas. Ha sido una sesión realmente informativa. Y gracias a ustedes, nuestros socios, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP por participar hoy.

 

AARP, una organización de socios, sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores en Estados Unidos durante más de 60 años. Frente a esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan, a protegerse del virus y prevenir su propagación a otras personas, mientras también se cuidan a sí mismos.

 

Todos los recursos a los que hicimos referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas de hoy, se podrán encontrar en aarp.org/coronavirus, a partir de mañana, 12 de febrero. Una vez más, esa dirección web es aarp.org/coronavirus. Vayan allí si su pregunta no fue respondida y encontrarán las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

 

Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo que pueda ayudarlos a ustedes y a sus seres queridos a mantenerse sanos y salvos. Únanse a nosotros nuevamente en dos semanas, que será el 25 de febrero, para nuestras próximas discusiones en vivo sobre las vacunas contra el coronavirus. Gracias y que tengan un buen día. Con esto concluye nuestra llamada.

 

 

COVID-19 VACCINES: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Listen to a replay of the live event above.

This live Q&A event addressed the latest information on COVID-19 vaccinesincluding updates on candidates pending approval, the current national supply and distribution plans, and the effectiveness of approved and pending vaccines. 

The experts:

  • Krystina L. Woods, M.D.
    Hospital Epidemiologist and Medical Director, 
    Infection Prevention at Mount Sinai West, 
    Senior Assistant Professor, 
    Division of Infectious Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Lilly Kan
    Senior Director, 
    Infectious Disease & Informatics,
    National Association of County and City Health Officials

  • Nancy LeaMond
    Special Guest, 
    Executive Vice President, 
    Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, AARP

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


Replay previous AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • June 17 - Coronavirus: Vaccines And Staying Safe During “Reopening”
  • June 3 - Coronavirus: Your Health, Finances & Housing
  • May 20 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • May 6 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • April 22 - Your Vaccine Questions Answered and Coronavirus: Vaccines and Asian American and Pacific Islanders
  • April 8 - Coronavirus and Latinos: Safety, Protection and Prevention and Vaccines and Caring for Grandkids and Loved Ones
  • April 1Coronavirus and The Black Community: Your Vaccine Questions Answered
  • March 25Coronavirus: The Stimulus, Taxes and Vaccine
  • March 11 - One Year of the Pandemic and Managing Personal Finances and Taxes
  • February 25Coronavirus Vaccines and You
  • February 11 - Coronavirus Vaccines: Your Questions Answered
  • January 28 - Coronavirus: Vaccine Distribution and Protecting Yourself
    & A Virtual World Awaits: Finding Fun, Community and Connections
  • January 14 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying Safe & Coping and Prevention, Vaccines & the Black Community
  • January 7 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Stimulus & Staying Safe
  • Dec 3 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe & Coping This Winter
  • Nov 19 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying and A Caregiver's Thanksgiving
  • Nov 12 - Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • Oct 1 - Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic
  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal