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AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

Experts answer your questions related to COVID-19

Jean Setzfand: Hello, I am AARP senior vice president Jean Setzfand and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you’d like to hear this tele-town hall in Spanish, please press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global corona pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Across the country coronavirus restrictions are being lifted, and many people are getting back to traveling, sporting events and attending cultural events in person. But many older adults are feeling uncertain about how quickly they should go back to normal activities. Many have questions about vaccine effectiveness, particularly with the new COVID variants in circulation, and just how far out into public it is safe to go. Today, we’re going to hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more.

If you’ve participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is very similar to a radio talk show, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, please 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 the question live. If you’re joining us on Facebook or YouTube, you can also post your questions into the comments.

Hello, if you’re just joining us, I’m Jean Setzfand with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion on the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking to leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3, and if you’re joining us on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

We have an outstanding set of guests with us today, including a vaccine development and global health expert from the University of Maryland, and also a collections, exhibitions and programs officer from the National Gallery of Art. I’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jesse Salinas, who will be facilitating your questions today. The event is going to be recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, and if you’re joining us on Facebook or YouTube, place your questions in the comments.

All right, let me introduce our guests today. Our first guest is Kathleen Neuzil, M.D., director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Welcome back, Dr. Neuzil.

Kathleen Neuzil: Thank you, again.

Jean Setzfand: And we also have Kate Haw. Kate is the collections, exhibitions and programs officer at the National Gallery of Art. Thanks for joining us today, Kate.

Kate Haw: Thanks for having me.

Jean Setzfand: Wonderful. All right, before we get started, just as a quick reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or you can drop your comments in the section of Facebook and YouTube. All right, jumping right in, Dr. Neuzil, let’s talk a little bit about what’s happened since you joined us last. I think it was April, I think, when you were on the show last. There’s been multiple variants; the latest ones that we’re hearing about from India appear to be more serious. What’s the new risk coming from the delta variant?

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah, as you said, the delta variant was first recognized in India. It spread very quickly. It’s now a predominant variant in the United Kingdom, and, of course, we’re seeing it here in the U.S. It does appear to be more transmissible, so, spreading from person to person. It may also cause more severe disease. I think the jury is out there, and we need to learn a little bit more. The good news is that the vaccines, at least the vaccines we’re using in the United States, appear to be highly effective against the delta variant. So very good news and another reason to get vaccinated.

Jean Setzfand: Sounds good. Thank you so much for that. A quick follow-up on that, Dr. Neuzil; how effective are the current vaccines against the variants, and do the proliferation of variants suggest that we are going to need a booster at sometime soon?

Kathleen Neuzil: So, it’s difficult to answer specifically because different trials of different vaccines occurred when different variants would be circulating. So, we don’t really have head-to-head comparisons necessarily. And I also caution about those head-to-head comparisons. You know, populations are different. timing of vaccine is different. That being said, it’s really that beta variant from South Africa, for which we’ve seen the lowest efficacy. And that was seen in the Middle East, and that efficacy was still about 75 percent with efficacy against severe disease of close to 100 percent. You know, the delta variant, we have less overall data. Again, the data look positive, they look close, it looks close to 100 percent against severe disease, and I would also add that we have a lot more data on immune response, which again is lower than the original strain but still quite robust.

Jean Setzfand: Really good news. So it sounds like the vaccine is holding up pretty well then.

Kathleen Neuzil: Correct. I would say, yes, the vaccine is holding up well, and we just need to encourage the remaining members of the population to get it.

Jean Setzfand: That’s great. I think that is good news for the holdouts. So, thank you for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, Kate, I’m going to turn to you and again, thank you so much for joining us. With sort of the good news of the vaccine, travel and unique experiences are on so many people’s bucket lists and people are reconsidering it now. So where do arts and cultural institutions fit in this sort of happier post-pandemic life?

Kate Haw: Yeah, well, thank you again for having me, Jean. You know, all of us who love museums, we come to museums for the opportunity to experience beauty, to learn about our own time, about history, and to explore our shared humanity. So that opportunity that museums provide to learn and experience new things or look at things we thought we understood in new ways is so important to feeding our curiosity and keeping life interesting. And museums did such a wonderful job of making content available online during the pandemic, but nothing replaces the real thing. And, you know, in multiple studies engagement with visual arts has been found to improve cognitive function in older adults, and doctors have even prescribed trips to art museums to stimulate neural activity and improve patients’ sense of well-being. And so we want you here, and we believe that coming and looking at art is good for you, and for those who may still feel a little anxious about jumping back into the activities that we enjoyed before the pandemic, something to consider is that recent studies suggest that visiting museums is actually safer than most other indoor activities because museums tend to have very strong ventilation systems. And also, we are big spaces where it’s pretty easy to maintain social distance.

Jean Setzfand: Well, that sounds great. I think it’s not only good for your mental health, your brain health, but it’s also really safe. That’s really good news. Thank you for that, Kate. And I know that with restrictions being lifted for fully vaccinated people across the country, it’s time to return back to the things we love, including the arts. So, in addition to what you just shared with us in terms of how safe museums are, how have museums across the country adapted to the pandemic? How are you preparing for fully reopening at the National Gallery of Art, which is happening pretty soon, right?

Kate Haw: Well, we actually opened one of, we have two buildings at the National Gallery. Our West Building, which houses our old master collections, opened last month, and our East Building, which houses modern and contemporary art, is actually reopening tomorrow with some great new exhibitions and installations. And we are so excited. You know, we exist to serve the public and it’s been really sad for us to be here without anyone in the building for so long. So please come back. For us, some of the things that we’ve done to adapt even as we reopen: Our hours are still slightly shorter than usual just to give our staff extra time to clean; like most museums, we are currently limiting capacity to make social distancing easier so we’re offering free timed passes so that, you know, at what time of the day to arrive. And we have been requiring masks, although tomorrow we will lift our mask requirement for fully vaccinated visitors and staff, but we will still ask those who are unvaccinated to continue to wear masks.

So, I’m excited to get to the point, you know, as more and more restrictions are lifted, that we can just wake up one morning and decide to go to a museum, not have to make these reservations, but during this time it’s been a way for all of us in the field to continue to welcome visitors safely.

Jean Setzfand: That’s wonderful, and even with the restrictions, too, in some ways it also helps you actually access the art more freely in the sense that you can get close, not so much closer, but fewer people in the museum as well, I assume.

Kate Haw: Yes, absolutely. And we, you know, we actually are thinking about, well, which kinds of events have we done in the past that tend to get overcrowded and maybe aren’t such a great experience for the visitors. And now that we’ve really learned how to do this timed-pass system in a way that’s efficient for our staff and a good experience for our visitors, we may employ it in certain situations in the future.

Jean Setzfand: That makes great sense. Well, thank you for that. All right. We are going to get to the callers live questions very soon. And as a reminder, if you want to ask a question, please press *3. Before we do so, I want to bring in Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer. Welcome, Nancy.

Nancy LeaMond: Hi, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Hello. Nancy, the vaccine rates are continuing to increase. Where is AARP focusing our work as it relates to COVID-19?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, considering how difficult last year was, particularly for older Americans who are most at risk, it’s a tremendous relief to see that 87 percent of our 65 and older population nationwide has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. AARP fought for big investments in research and distribution, and we worked with federal, state and local government officials to make sure that vaccinating older Americans was a priority. We also advocated for policies to protect the health of nursing home residents and help millions of older Americans with direct stimulus payments, increased access to affordable health insurance and, of course, more. We’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still work to do to ensure that everyone who wants a vaccine can get one and that people who still have questions get the answers they’re looking for. AARP state teams across the country are continuing our work to reach people like homebound, older adults and communities where access to the vaccine has been an issue. And we’re also urging governors, state legislators and local government officials to allocate COVID relief and recovery funding in ways that address the needs of people over the age of 50.

Jean Setzfand: Great, thanks so much, Nancy. And I know that COVID is still front and center for some, so much of us, but I know that AARP doesn’t limit our work there. How else is AARP fighting for 50-plus Americans today?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, the three big AARP priorities this year are financial relief for family caregivers, expanding access to affordable, high-speed internet, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Now on the first, this past year put a spotlight on how challenging it can be for families to care for aging loved ones, physically, emotionally and financially. On average, family caregivers spend close to $7,000 a year on care-related expenses, and that’s why AARP is fighting to pass the federal Credit for Caring Act that was recently introduced in both houses of Congress. This bipartisan bill would create a tax credit for eligible family caregivers to help offset certain expenses.

And second, the pandemic has shown that access to high-speed internet is a necessity and not a luxury. Without it, people have fewer opportunities to earn a living, get an education, access health care and connect with family and friends. AARP state teams, including in Oklahoma, Montana, Tennessee and Vermont have successfully advocated for funding to expand high-speed internet to underserved communities. And nationwide, we’re encouraging eligible Americans to enroll in the new federal Emergency Broadband Benefit program that helps make access more affordable. We’re encouraging eligible Americans to enroll in this program. Now for resources and more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, or call 1-833-511-0311. And be sure to call or go to the website. I just dialed the number and it works, so I can attest to it.

The third area we’re pushing for is action to lower the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. American families cannot afford to continue paying the highest drug costs in the entire world. We need action. And that’s why AARP is pushing for prescription drug reform bills in 30 states. And we’re urging Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate prices of prescription drugs and to create a cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees, and then, finally, to pass other measures to slow the growth of drug prices. Now, if you want to stay up to date on all or any of these efforts, please visit www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Thanks very much for having me, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you, Nancy, for leading AARP’s fight. Thanks, we always are so delighted when you can join us. Thanks, again.

Nancy LeaMond: Great.

Jean Setzfand: All right. It’s now time to address questions, your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Kathleen Neuzil and Kate Haw. Again, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff to share your question. And again, if you’d like to listen to this program in Spanish, please press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.]

And now I’d like to bring in my colleague, AARP colleague Jesse Salinas, to help facilitate your call. Welcome, Jesse.

Jesse Salinas: Thanks, Jean. I’m happy to be here for this important conversation.

Jean Setzfand: Wonderful. All right, who is our first caller, Jesse?

Jesse Salinas: Our first caller is going to be from Robin in Illinois.

Jean Setzfand: Robin, hello. What’s your question for us?

Robin: Hi, I wanted to take someone out for their birthday on Saturday. I am very worried about masks and no masks and all that, and it’s going to be an outdoor thing that would be new to me. And as I made the reservation, I found out that the staff of the restaurant only wears masks if someone is unvaccinated. Now to me, I would think all restaurant staff, you know, food-handling staff in the back, should wear masks even if there’s no COVID. And that unvaccinated people shouldn’t be working in a restaurant at this point. So, I’m not sure if I should cancel, or if I’m being, like, crazy or what.

Jean Setzfand: Well, I think it’s a very good question, Robin. Dr. Neuzil, can you help Robin with that question?

Kathleen Neuzil: Sure, it’s a good question and I understand that people are concerned and, of course. it’s very difficult to estimate risk in any situation. We have learned a lot about coronavirus transmission in the last year or so, and it is predominantly airborne and aerosolized. So, while there may be infection control measures in a restaurant for foodborne illness, the risk of spread while someone is cooking food, for example, through food or through contaminated surfaces would be extremely low. So, the major concerns to me, and you have already addressed these, is are you and the members of your dinner party, will they be vaccinated? You know are you in an outdoor, well-ventilated place? All of these factors will decrease your risk. Most restaurants are still requiring employees to wear masks; however, in and of itself, that should not unduly increase the risk.

Jean Setzfand: Very helpful. Thanks so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, Jesse. Who’s on the line next?

Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be Karen from New Jersey.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Karen, what’s your question for us?

Karen: Hi, yes. I have a question. My question relates to disabled people who are members of AARP. So we heard how wonderful museums are opening up, et cetera, and how, because of the COVID, how museums had  to close and create a lot of online content and Zoom seminars. So, I’m hoping that going forward that those will continue because your members who are disabled still can’t get out to do and participate within the museum structures and see them. So, will that be continuing and be as robust?

Jean Setzfand: Wonderful question, Karen. Kate, I’m going to turn to you for that.

Kate Haw: Yeah, thank you so much for that question, Karen. You know, we, I think the museum field in general and the National Gallery, in particular, had been a little behind in terms of digital programming. And so having to bring everything online during the pandemic was a big lesson for us. And we learned a lot about how being online increases accessibility in ways we hadn’t thought about, including the ways that you’re describing, Karen, for disabled people. So, we will continue to do quite a bit of programming online as we move forward. We’ve learned a lot over the last year-plus about what kinds of things can still be engaging when we do them online and what things are sort of less engaging. And we’re going to focus our energy on the programs that we think can have the greatest impact in an online format.

Jean Setzfand: That’s terrific. That’s really good to hear. Thank you for that, Kate. Jesse, going back to the phone lines, who’s our next caller?

Jesse Salinas: Yeah, my next one is going to be from Russ in Ohio.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Russ. What’s your question for us?

Russ: Hey, thanks for taking my call. Many town hall AARP meetings and finally got through. To me, it’s very serious. I was given a Pfizer shot a while back. I went for my second shot. They gave me Moderna. The response was, they came out, the pharmacist talked to me, he said, I should be okay. I should be a millionaire if I had enough money. I’m 76 years old. It’s not reassuring for me to say, for them to say, I should be okay. I contacted local CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]; their response was, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that.” I contacted Pfizer. And they said, “Well, the efficacy is about the same” and everything else, but that’s still not reassuring. What’s going to happen to me six months down the road? I noticed one thing; since I’ve had the shot, I’ve been extremely, extremely tired. Now I go online, and I find things that say, well, they’re doing testing, it’s still in the testing process, mixing the two drugs. I just, I wish I could get a definitive answer from somebody. And you guys are great, I listen all the time, and I’ve learned a lot. I hope I can learn a lot today.

Jean Setzfand: Well, thank you for joining us, and thank you for your persistence. Dr. Neuzil, can you help Russ?

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah, Russ, it’s a great question. I can understand why you would be frustrated. You know, the way that development of these vaccines has progressed, it has been at historic speed with great detail and emphasis on safety but, nonetheless, historic speed. And one aspect of clinical trials is that we follow rules, and we follow rules very carefully and, you know, the rules told us if we’re testing the Pfizer vaccine, we use two doses of Pfizer and if we’re testing the Moderna vaccine, we use two doses of Moderna. So what you are reading is absolutely right. The issue of mixed schedules is now something that is being tested and, hopefully, before your six-month time point, you will know. I will say from, I will say two things. One is, we’re starting to see data come out that mix and match schedule; so, an mRNA vaccine, a Pfizer or a Moderna, with an AstraZeneca or a Johnson & Johnson, a mix and match. The immune response looks as good or better if we mix two doses of vaccine. So, I would say, you know, stay tuned there.

I can give you, as somebody who’s been a vaccinologist for 25 years, I can give you my personal opinion that it is biologically plausible. The biology and the science tells me that you should have every bit as good of an immune response and an efficacy with Pfizer/Pfizer or Pfizer/Moderna or Moderna/Pfizer. They’re very similar vaccines. They’re both focused on the spike protein of that coronavirus and so while I can’t show you the clinical trial yet — and again, they’re in progress — I can say biologically I feel confident that you have had a good immune response.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that, Dr. Neuzil. Very clear guidance there. All right, Jesse, moving on to the next caller, who’s our next caller?

Jesse Salinas: Yep, our next caller is actually from YouTube, Karen Dubayat. She first said that she’s fully vaccinated, and she wants to know if she can visit with friends who are not vaccinated, and does she need to do so with a mask or not?

Jean Setzfand: Great question, Dr. Neuzil, I think I’m going to stick with you on that one. What’s your general sense around using masks?

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah, you know, I tell people we make public health decisions based on, you know, what is best for the majority, what’s best for getting our economy going. But individual decisions are just that; they’re more individual. So a vaccine, as I’ve already said, is going to be highly protective for the individual, and we also know that the amount of virus that you’re going to shed into the environment if you cough or sneeze is going to be lower than if you’re not vaccinated. But it’s not zero. So you could certainly choose, as a courtesy, if you’re going out with unvaccinated people to wear a mask. It’s certainly not going to hurt, and it might help. And I would say there are also people, I keep saying we would encourage the unvaccinated to be vaccinated, but we know there are also people on immunosuppressing medications or with conditions that affect their immune system, that would be very high risk. And so I think an abundance of caution would be, even if you’re vaccinated, again, to have the courtesy of wearing a mask if you’re in close contact with people who don’t have good immune systems.

Jean Setzfand: Makes good sense. Thank you for that. Jesse, who’s our next caller?

Jesse Salinas: We’re going to do one more from YouTube. This came from Lisa in Maryland, and she’d like to know whether there are mandatory health guidelines that art and cultural centers must adhere to when reopening?

Jean Setzfand: Good question. Kay, can you help us with that question?

Kate Haw: Most museums are following the guidance of their cities and states. That’s what we’ve done at the National Gallery, that we’ve paid close attention to what the mayor of Washington, D.C., is advising. And we’ve listened to the CDC very closely and also consulted with a doctor at the CDC for advice when we have any questions. So it will be a city-by-city, state-by-state policy and museums are, you know, each state has requirements for different types of organizations and institutions that those places are required to follow. And my experience, talking to colleagues across the country, is that museums are taking those mandates very seriously. And I will say, just to add to that, as we know, a lot of those, a lot of restrictions are being lifted, a lot of guidelines are being loosened around the country, and museums are moving along in step.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that. All right, Jesse. who’s our next caller?

Jesse Salinas: Yep, our next question is Linda in Louisiana.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Linda. What’s your question for us?

Linda: Yes, can you hear me?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we can hear you.

Linda: The question I have is, after the second dose of the vaccine — my husband and I took Moderna, and we’re over 65 and have multiple medical conditions — and I wanted to find out. We still don’t feel comfortable. We go out with a mask because in Louisiana, as you know, the vaccination rate is low. The last I heard it was still in the 30 percent range. And so, it’s a big concern to us that, you know, we don’t know what we’ll be exposed to, but more concerning, we don’t know what our individual response may have been because of our medical conditions to the vaccine. And I want to know, is there a commercial blood test that we could ask our doctors to perform that would be accurate and give us some idea of what our antibody titer level or, you know, antibody level would be.

Jean Setzfand: Great, an interesting question. Thank you so much. Dr. Neuzil, can you help Linda with that question?

Kathleen Neuzil: Sure. Linda, I think actually you ask a series of questions, so I’ll try to keep this brief, and you bring up some really good points. The first point is that even though we’re hearing incredibly high coverage across the U.S., it’s not uniform, and we are seeing communities with different levels of vaccine coverage. And as you have wisely identified, that means risk in certain communities is more or less, and there will be pockets even within a city or a state that have higher risk because there are fewer vaccinated. And so, you know, that’s a really good point that you bring up, is this isn’t uniform risk. We know that the vaccines performed really quite well, even in older people and older people with chronic medical conditions. So that is positive. There are people, as I alluded to before, who have had organ transplants, other really quite immunocompromising conditions that have not done as well with the vaccine, so, it’s hard to say where any individual would be in that spectrum.

You know, we’re cautioning people to be careful about using blood tests. There are certainly tests that identify the spike protein, and that would be the test that would tell you if you had antibody after a vaccine. I would say the caveat there is, and there are many of these tests and, you know, depending on your insurance, you would get a, you may get a slightly different test, but they all test that spike protein. The challenge there is we really haven’t identified yet how much protein protects you, and we are working very hard right now doing analyses that will help us answer that question. So, you know, it isn’t a public health recommendation, nor would I personally recommend that people rush out and get one of these tests, because it’s difficult to know how to interpret the answer.

Jean Setzfand: Absolutely. Dr. Neuzil, I think you bring up a really interesting point that so much is still being unfolded with ongoing research. Where do people turn to for best information around what’s being discovered almost on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah, I have to say, even for physicians and researchers in the field, it’s really difficult to keep up with the quantity of new information we have. You know the first place I always go is the CDC website, cdc.gov. They update it on a regular basis, multiple times per day, they have vaccine information, they have disease information, they have public health guidance information, and they also have a wealth of other resources and links to other websites. So, if I am not sure where to start, I almost always start with www.cdc.gov. And coronavirus is on the front page.

Jean Setzfand: Very good guidance. Thanks so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, thank you so much for all your great questions, and we will get back to them shortly. And remember, if you’d like to ask a question, please press *3. And again if you want to listen to this event in Spanish, please press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.]

All right, we are going to turn back to our experts. Dr. Neuzil, we’ve been talking about this. It’s a remarkable time with many Americans turning back to sort of normal as quickly as possible. State and local governments and the CDC have relaxed moratoriums and mask requirements. should we feel confident — we’ve heard this from a couple of callers now already — should we feel confident participating in more, in most public activities if fully vaccinated. And given that some people aren’t fully vaccinated, what’s the best sort of do’s and don’ts around mask wearing and social distancing.

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah. Again, you know, these public health recommendations are looking at averages. They’re going to tend to be conservative, right, that we’re going to err on the side of being more careful as this progresses. I think right now we have several advantages. You know, we’ve already talked about the single greatest determinant of risk is going to be fully vaccinated and if I haven’t made that point, I should make that point. You know, if it’s a two-dose vaccine, you have to get that second dose. Fully vaccinated will decrease your risk more than any other action you can take. Certainly, it helps that we’re now in the summer months, and being outside in well-ventilated places is going to further decrease the risk. Mask wearing, again, is likely not necessary. I don’t want to say absolutely not necessary, because as I said, there may be certain jurisdictions, for example, here in Baltimore City, it was determined that masks should still be worn even after in the state of Maryland that restriction was lifted because, again, of the coverage rate in Baltimore City. So local jurisdictions are going to matter. So, I want to be sure people are following that. But in general, you know, if you are in a place where masks are no longer recommended, I think you should feel free to not wear your mask.

The final point that is really important is in many states, again, including Maryland, where I am, and, in fact, the majority of states, the levels of positive testing for COVID are the lowest they have been since the start of the pandemic. So, this is a moving variable here. You know, right now I am not only safe because I’ve been vaccinated, but I’m safe because there are far fewer people that I come in contact with in this area who have had COVID. We will need to follow that. You know, will we have another wave in the fall or in the winter? And that also brings up special circumstances such as air travel, which is done in less well-ventilated places with people from all over the place where we can’t monitor the local COVID positivity rate. So that’s why in those situations, we’re still seeing guidance to wear masks, for example.

Jean Setzfand: Very helpful, very clear. And I think you’re bringing up an interesting point here around the overall vaccination rate. I think prompting people to see how effective the vaccine is I think is good, but there’s also this notion of the overall vaccination rate across the U.S., and we’ve heard this sort of notion around herd immunity around the 70 or 75 percent rate. Is there a risk overall if we don’t reach that goal?

Kathleen Neuzil: The vaccine coverage goal?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, the vaccine coverage goal. Yes.

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah. You know it’s difficult to say because this is a pandemic. So, it’s not only the vaccine coverage goal but it’s what’s happening around us and in the rest of the world. So, this issue of emergence of variants, which callers have talked about, and you’ve talked about, this virus changes in settings of uncontrolled spread, which generally means settings where we don’t have enough vaccine. And so a lot of us, getting out of the pandemic will depend not only on our own vaccine coverage but on vaccine supply to the rest of the world, so we can keep that virus under control, reduce the chance of viruses emerging that could then spread to the U.S. and elsewhere. So as long as this is still a pandemic, and there’s uncontrolled virus transmission everywhere, you know, it’s hard to point to a single vaccine coverage or single estimate that will completely protect us.

Jean Setzfand: Yes. Very good point. So more than just the U.S. issue, it’s very much a global issue as well in addition to looking at the U.S. coverage rates. Thank you for that.

Kate, I’m going to turn back to you. Many people have on their sort of post-pandemic must-do list, visits to museums or cultural attractions outside of their community, and perhaps as we’ve been just talking about, internationally. What kind of resources are available to help people understand local requirements or restrictions and can museum staff, for example, give you a more comprehensive look at sort of what to do when you’re visiting or where to go for that information.

Kate Haw: I have noticed having been able to do a little bit of traveling myself since I was vaccinated, that museums have done a terrific job of making information about what is required to visit their institution right up front on the home page of their website. It’s very clear, very specific, letting you know the steps you need to take before your visit and what you’ll need to do while you’re there. I’m not seeing so much information on museum websites about, you know, the local city or state guidelines for travelers. And I think that’s partly because they’re changing so quickly. So, I think the best the best place to go, no matter where you’re traveling or what you plan to do, is to the local government website to see what’s happening in that place at that time. As I said, things, as we all know, and we’re hearing on the news, restrictions are lifting quickly. So, it’s hard for museums to keep up with their information. Having said that, most museums will also have a phone number that you can call. We have several staff members who staff our phone line every day, and they’re busy all day long answering questions from visitors, and they can provide a little bit of context.

Jean Setzfand: That’s great. Thank you for that. A quick follow-up to this, and one of the previous callers actually asked a question related to this but I’m curious and the job that I do at AARP is very much focused on education and programming, and we’ve had to switch up our activities quite a bit, moving completely away from in-person to online, and we’ve thought a lot about sort of this hybrid mode and keeping it more, even when we do go back to normal. So curious to hear again from you on sort of the different ways that you’re thinking about it for the National Gallery of Art, how other museums are thinking about sort of mixing up the way that they do engage people, both in person and online. What are some of the changes that you’re likely going to keep?

Kate Haw: Yeah, well, I mean this was an unplanned experiment for all of us, wasn’t it?

Jean Setzfand: It was.

Kate Haw: And we have learned a lot about things that we thought we might be able to sort of pivot and put online and it didn’t really work, but we’ve learned even more about things we never thought we could do virtually that worked really well. And I’d love to give just one example of a program that we’ve had for a number of years called Just Us. And this is a program that we do for people with memory loss and their caregivers. And this is a program that we know, because our visitors have told us, has been really meaningful to families who are living with a loved one with memory loss for a long time. But what we’ve been hearing since we took this program online during the pandemic, was just how important it was for families who really logistically it’s so hard to get their loved one to the museum to participate in the program, and being able to be in their own homes without having to sort of get in a car and get to the museum and maybe they need to get a wheelchair and it can be disruptive and unsettling for their loved one with memory loss, they can sit in their homes, participate in the program together. It provides a moment of connection. This is a program where participants look at two works of art over the course of an hour, and they engage in conversations that are really built around personal responses in the moment that don’t rely on memory or previous knowledge. And this is a program that we will absolutely, one of a number of programs that we will absolutely continue online because we’ve realized we can reach so many more people in a way that works better for them.

Jean Setzfand: What a nice way to connect. That’s fabulous. So, it’s called Just Us, and can people find it on your website?

Kate Haw: They can at www.nga.gov.

Jean Setzfand: And search Just Us?

Kate Haw: They can search Just Us, or they can just click on the menu bar for Education.

Jean Setzfand: Fantastic. Thank you so much for that, Kate. All right, we will be—

Kate Haw: And I have to correct myself. We’ve changed that to Learning. Click on the menu bar for Learning.

Jean Setzfand: No problem. So www.nga.gov and search on the tab Learning.

Kate Haw: Yes.

Jean Setzfand: Great. Thank you for that, Kate. All right, we will be turning back to your questions just shortly, and before we do, I wanted to address an important issue. We know that some of you are still having challenges accessing the vaccine due to transportation or mobility issues. AARP wants to help. The AARP Vaccine Finder support team is available to try to connect you to community resources that can transport you to your vaccine appointment, or come to your home. So, if you’re listening today and can’t get a vaccine because of transportation or mobility issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive a call from an AARP staff member to assist. Again, if you’re listening today and can’t get a vaccine because of mobility/transportation issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive the phone call. When you do press 1, you’ll listen to a brief message and then be returned to the call.

All right now, it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Kathleen Neuzil and Kate Haw. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member. All right, Jesse, who do we have on the line now?

Jesse Salinas: Our next caller today is going to be Olga from Connecticut.

Jean Setzfand: Hi, Olga. What’s your question for us?

Olga: Thank you for taking my question. It has been almost four months since my second dose of Pfizer vaccine. Have I waited long enough, and is it safe to make a dental appointment and also have some work done, lab work, which will, they will be able to draw my blood?

Jean Setzfand: Great question. Thanks so much for that, Olga. Dr. Neuzil, is it safe for Olga to do some necessary activities after four months of being vaccinated?

Kathleen Neuzil: Sure. So, Olga, first of all, thank you for getting both doses, and again, just to emphasize that that really with the mRNA vaccines, you need two doses. We feel that immunity is really good and very high within about two weeks after that second dose. So, four months, you should be fine. I should comment on the other end of that because people are starting to worry about when efficacy might start to go down again, and we have really good news on that front, too. We’ve followed our clinical trial participants out to eight or 10 months, and we continue to follow them, and it still looks good. So yes, four months should be safe for you to go and do what you need to do.

Jean Setzfand: Great news. Thanks so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. Okay, Jesse, who’s our next caller?

Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be Linda in Pennsylvania.

Jean Setzfand: Hi, Linda, what’s your question for us?

Linda: Hi. My question was, I keep hearing about the variants, the delta variant, and they always say just Pfizer is, you know, it’s covered by Pfizer, but never say about the Moderna. What, does that give you the same coverage as the Pfizer?

Jean Setzfand: Good question, Linda.

Linda: Against the variant?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, good question, Linda. Dr. Neuzil, I think we’re going back to you on this question again.

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah, these calls and questions are keeping me on my toes because, Linda, you have been listening very, very carefully. The vaccine that got out there first, so for which we have the best data on efficacy against that delta variant, is the Pfizer vaccine. And, you know, really quite high against severe disease after two doses. We don’t yet have the same kind of data for the Moderna vaccine. We do though have very good immune responses against the variant that look as good as Pfizer. So, we’re making that connection while we’re waiting for the rest of the data that Moderna will perform as well as Pfizer. But you have been listening and reading very carefully.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you for that. All right, Jesse, who’s next on the call line?

Jesse Salinas: Yep, we’re going to bring on Marshall from Maryland.

Jean Setzfand: Hello, Marshall. What’s your question for us?

Marshall: Hello? Well, I’ll start off; I had two shots of Moderna, plus two months. I’ve got a two-part question here. Part one is travel, and part two is destination. We just got an invitation to a wedding out in the Midwest mid-August, very rural area in Kansas, and I contacted the health department of that county to find out what their story is right now in Kansas. And I’m told that they have no cap on gathering sizes and no issue on masks, and so their determination is nobody tells anybody about masks or shots. And currently, the senior inoculation is up to about 70 percent, and all adults are around 35 percent. And talking with some of my cousins out there, the attitude in much of that part of the rural Midwest is they don’t want to get shots, and they don’t want to wear masks. So, my risks are, let’s see, I’m a senior citizen, and I have a chronic health condition. My risk would be, first, airplane ride back and forth, which probably isn’t not too bad, but my destination issue is bad, I think. It’s likely to be a big wedding, maybe a hundred people or so at the wedding, and the last time we had a wedding was October 17th, big wedding. And after talking with one of my uncles about two weeks after the wedding, 50 people were the proud recipients of COVID-19 directly from that wedding; 20 of them are my cousins. I don’t know what to do about going out to the wedding.

Jean Setzfand: Yeah, tough question, Marshall. I’m going to toss it back to Dr. Neuzil again, in terms of weighing this decision and the risks associated with that.

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah, and it is weighing individual risk. I’m sure all the callers can appreciate that, but I can’t really advise individuals, just perhaps help you frame the decision. I will say that before vaccination, weddings and family gatherings were big drivers of the pandemic and the individual risk, because people were complying with overall restrictions but, you know, the family was a bit of an exception for a while and people were willing to do those sorts of gatherings. So, it doesn’t entirely surprise me that your family experienced an outbreak in that setting. Again, your risk is dramatically reduced because you’ve had two doses of the vaccine. You will be asked to wear a mask while flying and, again, the airports and the airlines have really done a good job about enforcing that mask wearing. And then when you get to where you’re going, you know, it’s the risk to the unvaccinated that will be greatest, but a lot of it will depend on not only the coverage in the area that you’re in — and if you feel uncomfortable, I would say certainly wear a mask, you know, if you go to the grocery store or somewhere publicly — but at the wedding, it will be more dependent on how many people at that wedding have been vaccinated, is it indoor or outdoor, with outdoor being less of a risk, for example. So again, the biggest determinant that will help you lower your risk is that you’ve had two doses of the vaccine.

Jean Setzfand: Great, thank you. Thank you for laying that out in the framework as well, too, Dr. Neuzil. Very helpful. All right, Jesse, who is our next caller?

Jesse Salinas: Our next question is actually from Facebook, and this is from Chrissy Abrams. She’s a grandparent, and her question is, if you’re vaccinated and you want to go visit younger people, in particular, her grandchildren who are 4 and 5 years old and not able to get vaccinated, does she have to wear a mask?

Jean Setzfand: Good question. Dr. Neuzil, I’m tossing this back to you again about unvaccinated kids, what to do about that.

Kathleen Neuzil: Sure. And you know kids have been affected by this pandemic, definitely. They’ve certainly been affected socially and developmentally. Their risk of severe disease is considerably lower. It’s not zero, but it’s considerably lower. So, the general recommendation is if you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask. The only exception to that would be if your grandchild has some chronic health condition that would make them more susceptible to COVID or to severe COVID.

Jean Setzfand: Makes sense, and I know that there’s also been news of late related to the variants and the effects of younger individuals internationally. What are your thoughts around that?

Kathleen Neuzil: Just in terms of sometimes it’s hard to sort out behavior of younger individuals, you know, versus the effect of the virus and the variant. You know, we certainly saw that in the U.S. with younger people not conforming to rules as well as older people that are conforming to rules. So, certainly, again, we’re learning more about the delta variant, and if it may be more severe in all ages. Some of what we’re seeing could also be behavior-related.

Jean Setzfand: Makes sense. All right, I’m not letting you off the hook, unfortunately. I’m actually going to turn back to some questions that we’ve had developed in advance, and one of the ones that we’ve been thinking a lot about is the news that Johnson & Johnson’s CEO has publicly said that people may need an additional dose of the COVID vaccine along with an annual flu shot. What’s your opinion of it?

Kathleen Neuzil: Yeah, so the issue of booster doses is certainly a hot topic right now. And just to remind everybody that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine; that is how it’s licensed. They are doing a second study, and I hope we’ll hear the results soon, about a two-dose version of that vaccine. So, it may be a bit of a different question if a Johnson & Johnson needs a booster, right, which would be a second dose versus Moderna and Pfizer needing a third dose. Right now, you know, the conversation is ongoing, the studies are ongoing, and the data are starting to come in. Right now, scientifically, there is no indication of a short term need for a booster dose. The immune response data look durable. You know, I’ve talked about eight- to 10-month data. We’ve seen six months and more efficacy data from Moderna and Pfizer that look really, really good. So, I don’t want it to scare people that you’re hearing talk of a booster that that means we need a booster.

The reason there’s talk of a booster is because, you know, in the end, this COVID vaccine program is going to be the largest vaccination program in the history of the United States. So, if we’re going to think about a booster logistically, we have to start thinking about it sooner instead of later. But at the moment there is no scientific indication for it in terms of immunity is waning, efficacy is going down. It’s a conversation realizing the enormity of the decision and the enormity of the logistics should we eventually decide that a booster dose is needed.

Jean Setzfand: Great, thank you so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, Kate, you’re going to get the last word here. How might someone who’s never considered themselves artistic explore and express themselves now that we’ve all seen our lives in a different light?

Kate Haw: Yeah, well I’m not sure this exactly answers your question, but I think that people who haven’t dipped their toe in the water at art museums, maybe haven’t done it because they didn’t feel like art museums were for them. And the trend in museums now is to recognize that we’re here for everybody. You don’t need a Ph.D. to come through the door and look at a work of art and experience it in whatever way is meaningful to you. And so, across the country and really around the world, museums are looking at museum visits as a time for visitors to bring their life experience to the table to respond to works of art in ways that are meaningful to them. And if you want more, and you want history and guidance and context for what you’re seeing on the walls, we’re happy to give that to you, too, but we really want to be in conversation with the people who come to visit us. What is it you’re looking for? What do you want to see? What does this mean to you? And I want all people to know that they’re welcome. So, we look forward to seeing you come through our doors in the East Building as of tomorrow and in the West Building even as of today, and I know I speak for my colleagues around the country when I say that.

Jean Setzfand: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Kate, and I’m personally going to make a visit myself, because I’m dying to make a visit to really kind of feed my soul with art. So that’s terrific.

Kate Haw: Yes, and I will say that, you know, being out in the galleries as we have welcomed the public back over the last few weeks has been so gratifying to hear people’s enthusiasm for returning. You know, there are people who are even in tears they’re so happy to be back and seeing some of their old favorite works of art. And so we welcome everyone to experience that.

Jean Setzfand: Thank you so much. Well, I really want to take time to thank both of our expert panelists. I personally learned so much, and we really appreciate all the answers to the questions that we posed to you today. And, of course, I want to thank all of you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership, and we’ve been working to promote health and well-being for older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we are 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 taking care of themselves. All the resources that we referenced today, including a recording of today’s Q&A event, can be found on aarp.org/coronavirus on June 18th, that’s tomorrow. And again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question wasn’t answered. You’ll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something today that will keep you and your loved ones healthy. And please, join us on June 24th at 7 p.m. Eastern for a special live event where we’ll address COVID’s impact on the LGBTQ community. We hope you can join us for that. And thank you again. Have a wonderful day. This concludes our call.

Jean Setzfand:  Hello, I am AARP senior vice president Jean Setzfand and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you’d like to hear this tele-town hall in Spanish, please press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global corona pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Across the country coronavirus restrictions are being lifted, and many people are getting back to traveling, sporting events and attending cultural events in person. But many older adults are feeling uncertain about how quickly they should go back to normal activities. Many have questions about vaccine effectiveness, particularly with the new COVID variants in circulation, and just how far out into public it is safe to go. Today, we’re going to hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more.

[00:01:04] If you’ve participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know that this is very similar to a radio talk show, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, please 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 the question live. If you’re joining us on Facebook or YouTube, you can also post your questions into the comments.

[00:01:33] Hello, if you’re just joining us, I’m Jean Setzfand with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion on the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking to leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3, and if you’re joining us on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

[00:01:52] We have an outstanding set of guests with us today, including a vaccine development and global health expert from the University of Maryland, and also a collections, exhibitions and programs officer from the National Gallery of Art. I’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jesse Salinas, who will be facilitating your questions today. The event is going to be recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, and if you’re joining us on Facebook or YouTube, place your questions in the comments.

[00:02:34] All right, let me introduce our guests today. Our first guest is Kathleen Neuzil, M.D., director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Welcome back, Dr. Neuzil.

[00:02:48]Kathleen Neuzil:  Thank you, again.

[00:02:49]Jean Setzfand:  And we also have Kate Haw. Kate is the collections, exhibitions and programs officer at the National Gallery of Art. Thanks for joining us today, Kate.

[00:02:58]Kate Haw:  Thanks for having me.

[00:03:00]Jean Setzfand:  Wonderful. All right, before we get started, just as a quick reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or you can drop your comments in the section of Facebook and YouTube. All right, jumping right in, Dr. Neuzil, let’s talk a little bit about what’s happened since you joined us last. I think it was April, I think, when you were on the show last. There’s been multiple variants; the latest ones that we’re hearing about from India appear to be more serious. What’s the new risk coming from the delta variant?

[00:03:31]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah, as you said, the delta variant was first recognized in India. It spread very quickly. It’s now a predominant variant in the United Kingdom, and, of course, we’re seeing it here in the U.S. It does appear to be more transmissible, so, spreading from person to person. It may also cause more severe disease. I think the jury is out there, and we need to learn a little bit more. The good news is that the vaccines, at least the vaccines we’re using in the United States, appear to be highly effective against the delta variant. So very good news and another reason to get vaccinated.

[00:04:14]Jean Setzfand:  Sounds good. Thank you so much for that. A quick follow-up on that, Dr. Neuzil; how effective are the current vaccines against the variants, and do the proliferation of variants suggest that we are going to need a booster at sometime soon?

[00:04:26]Kathleen Neuzil:  So, it’s difficult to answer specifically because different trials of different vaccines occurred when different variants would be circulating. So, we don’t really have head-to-head comparisons necessarily. And I also caution about those head-to-head comparisons. You know, populations are different. timing of vaccine is different. That being said, it’s really that beta variant from South Africa, for which we’ve seen the lowest efficacy. And that was seen in the Middle East, and that efficacy was still about 75 percent with efficacy against severe disease of close to 100 percent. You know, the delta variant, we have less overall data. Again, the data look positive, they look close, it looks close to 100 percent against severe disease, and I would also add that we have a lot more data on immune response, which again is lower than the original strain but still quite robust.

[00:05:36]Jean Setzfand:  Really good news. So it sounds like the vaccine is holding up pretty well then.

[00:05:41]Kathleen Neuzil:  Correct. I would say, yes, the vaccine is holding up well, and we just need to encourage the remaining members of the population to get it.

[00:05:51]Jean Setzfand:  That’s great. I think that is good news for the holdouts. So, thank you for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, Kate, I’m going to turn to you and again, thank you so much for joining us. With sort of the good news of the vaccine, travel and unique experiences are on so many people’s bucket lists and people are reconsidering it now. So where do arts and cultural institutions fit in this sort of happier post-pandemic life?

[00:06:16]Kate Haw:  Yeah, well, thank you again for having me, Jean. You know, all of us who love museums, we come to museums for the opportunity to experience beauty, to learn about our own time, about history, and to explore our shared humanity. So that opportunity that museums provide to learn and experience new things or look at things we thought we understood in new ways is so important to feeding our curiosity and keeping life interesting. And museums did such a wonderful job of making content available online during the pandemic, but nothing replaces the real thing. And, you know, in multiple studies engagement with visual arts has been found to improve cognitive function in older adults, and doctors have even prescribed trips to art museums to stimulate neural activity and improve patients’ sense of well-being. And so we want you here, and we believe that coming and looking at art is good for you, and for those who may still feel a little anxious about jumping back into the activities that we enjoyed before the pandemic, something to consider is that recent studies suggest that visiting museums is actually safer than most other indoor activities because museums tend to have very strong ventilation systems. And also, we are big spaces where it’s pretty easy to maintain social distance.

[00:07:34]Jean Setzfand:  Well, that sounds great. I think it’s not only good for your mental health, your brain health, but it’s also really safe. That’s really good news. Thank you for that, Kate. And I know that with restrictions being lifted for fully vaccinated people across the country, it’s time to return back to the things we love, including the arts. So, in addition to what you just shared with us in terms of how safe museums are, how have museums across the country adapted to the pandemic? How are you preparing for fully reopening at the National Gallery of Art, which is happening pretty soon, right?

[00:08:07]Kate Haw:  Well, we actually opened one of, we have two buildings at the National Gallery. Our West Building, which houses our old master collections, opened last month, and our East Building, which houses modern and contemporary art, is actually reopening tomorrow with some great new exhibitions and installations. And we are so excited. You know, we exist to serve the public and it’s been really sad for us to be here without anyone in the building for so long. So please come back. For us, some of the things that we’ve done to adapt even as we reopen: Our hours are still slightly shorter than usual just to give our staff extra time to clean; like most museums, we are currently limiting capacity to make social distancing easier so we’re offering free timed passes so that, you know, at what time of the day to arrive. And we have been requiring masks, although tomorrow we will lift our mask requirement for fully vaccinated visitors and staff, but we will still ask those who are unvaccinated to continue to wear masks.

[00:09:14] So, I’m excited to get to the point, you know, as more and more restrictions are lifted, that we can just wake up one morning and decide to go to a museum, not have to make these reservations, but during this time it’s been a way for all of us in the field to continue to welcome visitors safely.

[00:09:34]Jean Setzfand:  That’s wonderful, and even with the restrictions, too, in some ways it also helps you actually access the art more freely in the sense that you can get close, not so much closer, but fewer people in the museum as well, I assume.

[00:09:50]Kate Haw:  Yes, absolutely. And we, you know, we actually are thinking about, well, which kinds of events have we done in the past that tend to get overcrowded and maybe aren’t such a great experience for the visitors. And now that we’ve really learned how to do this timed-pass system in a way that’s efficient for our staff and a good experience for our visitors, we may employ it in certain situations in the future.

[00:10:12]Jean Setzfand:  That makes great sense. Well, thank you for that. All right. We are going to get to the callers live questions very soon. And as a reminder, if you want to ask a question, please press *3. Before we do so, I want to bring in Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer. Welcome, Nancy.

[00:10:31]Nancy LeaMond:  Hi, Jean.

[00:10:32]Jean Setzfand:  Hello. Nancy, the vaccine rates are continuing to increase. Where is AARP focusing our work as it relates to COVID-19?

[00:10:43]Nancy LeaMond:  Well, considering how difficult last year was, particularly for older Americans who are most at risk, it’s a tremendous relief to see that 87 percent of our 65 and older population nationwide has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. AARP fought for big investments in research and distribution, and we worked with federal, state and local government officials to make sure that vaccinating older Americans was a priority. We also advocated for policies to protect the health of nursing home residents and help millions of older Americans with direct stimulus payments, increased access to affordable health insurance and, of course, more. We’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still work to do to ensure that everyone who wants a vaccine can get one and that people who still have questions get the answers they’re looking for. AARP state teams across the country are continuing our work to reach people like homebound, older adults and communities where access to the vaccine has been an issue. And we’re also urging governors, state legislators and local government officials to allocate COVID relief and recovery funding in ways that address the needs of people over the age of 50.

[00:12:05]Jean Setzfand:  Great, thanks so much, Nancy. And I know that COVID is still front and center for some, so much of us, but I know that AARP doesn’t limit our work there. How else is AARP fighting for 50-plus Americans today?

[00:12:18]Nancy LeaMond:  Well, the three big AARP priorities this year are financial relief for family caregivers, expanding access to affordable, high-speed internet, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Now on the first, this past year put a spotlight on how challenging it can be for families to care for aging loved ones, physically, emotionally and financially. On average, family caregivers spend close to $7,000 a year on care-related expenses, and that’s why AARP is fighting to pass the federal Credit for Caring Act that was recently introduced in both houses of Congress. This bipartisan bill would create a tax credit for eligible family caregivers to help offset certain expenses.

[00:13:10] And second, the pandemic has shown that access to high-speed internet is a necessity and not a luxury. Without it, people have fewer opportunities to earn a living, get an education, access health care and connect with family and friends. AARP state teams, including in Oklahoma, Montana, Tennessee and Vermont have successfully advocated for funding to expand high-speed internet to underserved communities. And nationwide, we’re encouraging eligible Americans to enroll in the new federal Emergency Broadband Benefit program that helps make access more affordable. We’re encouraging eligible Americans to enroll in this program. Now for resources and more information about EBB, visit aarp.org/EBB, or call 1-833-511-0311. And be sure to call or go to the website. I just dialed the number and it works, so I can attest to it.

[00:14:19] The third area we’re pushing for is action to lower the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. American families cannot afford to continue paying the highest drug costs in the entire world. We need action. And that’s why AARP is pushing for prescription drug reform bills in 30 states. And we’re urging Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate prices of prescription drugs and to create a cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees, and then, finally, to pass other measures to slow the growth of drug prices. Now, if you want to stay up to date on all or any of these efforts, please visit www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Thanks very much for having me, Jean.

[00:15:11]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you, Nancy, for leading AARP’s fight. Thanks, we always are so delighted when you can join us. Thanks, again.

[00:15:18]Nancy LeaMond:  Great.

[00:15:19]Jean Setzfand:  All right. It’s now time to address questions, your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Kathleen Neuzil and Kate Haw. Again, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff to share your question. And again, if you’d like to listen to this program in Spanish, please press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.]

[00:15:48] And now I’d like to bring in my colleague, AARP colleague Jesse Salinas, to help facilitate your call. Welcome, Jesse.

[00:15:55]Jesse Salinas:  Thanks, Jean. I’m happy to be here for this important conversation.

[00:15:58]Jean Setzfand:  Wonderful. All right, who is our first caller, Jesse?

[00:16:02]Jesse Salinas:  Our first caller is going to be from Robin in Illinois.

[00:16:08]Jean Setzfand:  Robin, hello. What’s your question for us?

[00:16:12]Robin:  Hi, I wanted to take someone out for their birthday on Saturday. I am very worried about masks and no masks and all that, and it’s going to be an outdoor thing that would be new to me. And as I made the reservation, I found out that the staff of the restaurant only wears masks if someone is unvaccinated. Now to me, I would think all restaurant staff, you know, food-handling staff in the back, should wear masks even if there’s no COVID. And that unvaccinated people shouldn’t be working in a restaurant at this point. So, I’m not sure if I should cancel, or if I’m being, like, crazy or what.

[00:17:03]Jean Setzfand:  Well, I think it’s a very good question, Robin. Dr. Neuzil, can you help Robin with that question?

[00:17:11]Kathleen Neuzil:  Sure, it’s a good question and I understand that people are concerned and, of course. it’s very difficult to estimate risk in any situation. We have learned a lot about coronavirus transmission in the last year or so, and it is predominantly airborne and aerosolized. So, while there may be infection control measures in a restaurant for foodborne illness, the risk of spread while someone is cooking food, for example, through food or through contaminated surfaces would be extremely low. So, the major concerns to me, and you have already addressed these, is are you and the members of your dinner party, will they be vaccinated? You know are you in an outdoor, well-ventilated place? All of these factors will decrease your risk. Most restaurants are still requiring employees to wear masks; however, in and of itself, that should not unduly increase the risk.

[00:18:29]Jean Setzfand:  Very helpful. Thanks so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, Jesse. Who’s on the line next?

[00:18:35]Jesse Salinas:  Our next caller is going to be Karen from New Jersey.

[00:18:39]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Karen, what’s your question for us?

[00:18:41]Karen:  Hi, yes. I have a question. My question relates to disabled people who are members of AARP. So we heard how wonderful museums are opening up, et cetera, and how, because of the COVID, how museums had to close and create a lot of online content and Zoom seminars. So, I’m hoping that going forward that those will continue because your members who are disabled still can’t get out to do and participate within the museum structures and see them. So, will that be continuing and be as robust?

[00:19:17]Jean Setzfand:  Wonderful question, Karen. Kate, I’m going to turn to you for that.

[00:19:22]Kate Haw:  Yeah, thank you so much for that question, Karen. You know, we, I think the museum field in general and the National Gallery, in particular, had been a little behind in terms of digital programming. And so having to bring everything online during the pandemic was a big lesson for us. And we learned a lot about how being online increases accessibility in ways we hadn’t thought about, including the ways that you’re describing, Karen, for disabled people. So, we will continue to do quite a bit of programming online as we move forward. We’ve learned a lot over the last year-plus about what kinds of things can still be engaging when we do them online and what things are sort of less engaging. And we’re going to focus our energy on the programs that we think can have the greatest impact in an online format.

[00:20:15]Jean Setzfand:  That’s terrific. That’s really good to hear. Thank you for that, Kate. Jesse, going back to the phone lines, who’s our next caller?

[00:20:22]Jesse Salinas:  Yeah, my next one is going to be from Russ in Ohio.

[00:20:27]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Russ. What’s your question for us?

[00:20:30]Russ:  Hey, thanks for taking my call. Many town hall AARP meetings and finally got through. To me, it’s very serious. I was given a Pfizer shot a while back. I went for my second shot. They gave me Moderna. The response was, they came out, the pharmacist talked to me, he said, I should be okay. I should be a millionaire if I had enough money. I’m 76 years old. It’s not reassuring for me to say, for them to say, I should be okay. I contacted local CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] ; their response was, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that.” I contacted Pfizer. And they said, “Well, the efficacy is about the same” and everything else, but that’s still not reassuring. What’s going to happen to me six months down the road? I noticed one thing; since I’ve had the shot, I’ve been extremely, extremely tired. Now I go online, and I find things that say, well, they’re doing testing, it’s still in the testing process, mixing the two drugs. I just, I wish I could get a definitive answer from somebody. And you guys are great, I listen all the time, and I’ve learned a lot. I hope I can learn a lot today.

[00:21:42]Jean Setzfand:  Well, thank you for joining us, and thank you for your persistence. Dr. Neuzil, can you help Russ?

[00:21:48]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah, Russ, it’s a great question. I can understand why you would be frustrated. You know, the way that development of these vaccines has progressed, it has been at historic speed with great detail and emphasis on safety but, nonetheless, historic speed. And one aspect of clinical trials is that we follow rules, and we follow rules very carefully and, you know, the rules told us if we’re testing the Pfizer vaccine, we use two doses of Pfizer and if we’re testing the Moderna vaccine, we use two doses of Moderna. So what you are reading is absolutely right. The issue of mixed schedules is now something that is being tested and, hopefully, before your six-month time point, you will know. I will say from, I will say two things. One is, we’re starting to see data come out that mix and match schedule; so, an mRNA vaccine, a Pfizer or a Moderna, with an AstraZeneca or a Johnson & Johnson, a mix and match. The immune response looks as good or better if we mix two doses of vaccine. So, I would say, you know, stay tuned there.

[00:23:04] I can give you, as somebody who’s been a vaccinologist for 25 years, I can give you my personal opinion that it is biologically plausible. The biology and the science tells me that you should have every bit as good of an immune response and an efficacy with Pfizer/Pfizer or Pfizer/Moderna or Moderna/Pfizer. They’re very similar vaccines. They’re both focused on the spike protein of that coronavirus and so while I can’t show you the clinical trial yet — and again, they’re in progress — I can say biologically I feel confident that you have had a good immune response.

[00:23:54]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that, Dr. Neuzil. Very clear guidance there. All right, Jesse, moving on to the next caller, who’s our next caller?

[00:24:02]Jesse Salinas:  Yep, our next caller is actually from YouTube, Karen Dubayat. She first said that she’s fully vaccinated, and she wants to know if she can visit with friends who are not vaccinated, and does she need to do so with a mask or not?

[00:24:16]Jean Setzfand:  Great question, Dr. Neuzil, I think I’m going to stick with you on that one. What’s your general sense around using masks?

[00:24:24]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah, you know, I tell people we make public health decisions based on, you know, what is best for the majority, what’s best for getting our economy going. But individual decisions are just that; they’re more individual. So a vaccine, as I’ve already said, is going to be highly protective for the individual, and we also know that the amount of virus that you’re going to shed into the environment if you cough or sneeze is going to be lower than if you’re not vaccinated. But it’s not zero. So you could certainly choose, as a courtesy, if you’re going out with unvaccinated people to wear a mask. It’s certainly not going to hurt, and it might help. And I would say there are also people, I keep saying we would encourage the unvaccinated to be vaccinated, but we know there are also people on immunosuppressing medications or with conditions that affect their immune system, that would be very high risk. And so I think an abundance of caution would be, even if you’re vaccinated, again, to have the courtesy of wearing a mask if you’re in close contact with people who don’t have good immune systems.

[00:25:48]Jean Setzfand:  Makes good sense. Thank you for that. Jesse, who’s our next caller?

[00:25:54]Jesse Salinas:  We’re going to do one more from YouTube. This came from Lisa in Maryland, and she’d like to know whether there are mandatory health guidelines that art and cultural centers must adhere to when reopening?

[00:26:07]Jean Setzfand:  Good question. Kay, can you help us with that question?

[00:26:12]Kate Haw:  Most museums are following the guidance of their cities and states. That’s what we’ve done at the National Gallery, that we’ve paid close attention to what the mayor of Washington, D.C., is advising. And we’ve listened to the CDC very closely and also consulted with a doctor at the CDC for advice when we have any questions. So it will be a city-by-city, state-by-state policy and museums are, you know, each state has requirements for different types of organizations and institutions that those places are required to follow. And my experience, talking to colleagues across the country, is that museums are taking those mandates very seriously. And I will say, just to add to that, as we know, a lot of those, a lot of restrictions are being lifted, a lot of guidelines are being loosened around the country, and museums are moving along in step.

[00:27:12]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that. All right, Jesse. who’s our next caller?

[00:27:18]Jesse Salinas:  Yep, our next question is Linda in Louisiana.

[00:27:22]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Linda. What’s your question for us?

[00:27:25]Linda:  Yes, can you hear me?

[00:27:26]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we can hear you.

[00:27:28]Linda:  The question I have is, after the second dose of the vaccine — my husband and I took Moderna, and we’re over 65 and have multiple medical conditions — and I wanted to find out. We still don’t feel comfortable. We go out with a mask because in Louisiana, as you know, the vaccination rate is low. The last I heard it was still in the 30 percent range. And so, it’s a big concern to us that, you know, we don’t know what we’ll be exposed to, but more concerning, we don’t know what our individual response may have been because of our medical conditions to the vaccine. And I want to know, is there a commercial blood test that we could ask our doctors to perform that would be accurate and give us some idea of what our antibody titer level or, you know, antibody level would be.

[00:28:25]Jean Setzfand:  Great, an interesting question. Thank you so much. Dr. Neuzil, can you help Linda with that question?

[00:28:32]Kathleen Neuzil:  Sure. Linda, I think actually you ask a series of questions, so I’ll try to keep this brief, and you bring up some really good points. The first point is that even though we’re hearing incredibly high coverage across the U.S., it’s not uniform, and we are seeing communities with different levels of vaccine coverage. And as you have wisely identified, that means risk in certain communities is more or less, and there will be pockets even within a city or a state that have higher risk because there are fewer vaccinated. And so, you know, that’s a really good point that you bring up, is this isn’t uniform risk. We know that the vaccines performed really quite well, even in older people and older people with chronic medical conditions. So that is positive. There are people, as I alluded to before, who have had organ transplants, other really quite immunocompromising conditions that have not done as well with the vaccine, so, it’s hard to say where any individual would be in that spectrum.

[00:29:50] You know, we’re cautioning people to be careful about using blood tests. There are certainly tests that identify the spike protein, and that would be the test that would tell you if you had antibody after a vaccine. I would say the caveat there is, and there are many of these tests and, you know, depending on your insurance, you would get a, you may get a slightly different test, but they all test that spike protein. The challenge there is we really haven’t identified yet how much protein protects you, and we are working very hard right now doing analyses that will help us answer that question. So, you know, it isn’t a public health recommendation, nor would I personally recommend that people rush out and get one of these tests, because it’s difficult to know how to interpret the answer.

[00:30:50]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. Dr. Neuzil, I think you bring up a really interesting point that so much is still being unfolded with ongoing research. Where do people turn to for best information around what’s being discovered almost on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?

[00:31:06]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah, I have to say, even for physicians and researchers in the field, it’s really difficult to keep up with the quantity of new information we have. You know the first place I always go is the CDC website, cdc.gov. They update it on a regular basis, multiple times per day, they have vaccine information, they have disease information, they have public health guidance information, and they also have a wealth of other resources and links to other websites. So, if I am not sure where to start, I almost always start with www.cdc.gov. And coronavirus is on the front page.

[00:31:50]Jean Setzfand:  Very good guidance. Thanks so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, thank you so much for all your great questions, and we will get back to them shortly. And remember, if you’d like to ask a question, please press *3. And again if you want to listen to this event in Spanish, please press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.]

[00:32:16] All right, we are going to turn back to our experts. Dr. Neuzil, we’ve been talking about this. It’s a remarkable time with many Americans turning back to sort of normal as quickly as possible. State and local governments and the CDC have relaxed moratoriums and mask requirements. should we feel confident — we’ve heard this from a couple of callers now already — should we feel confident participating in more, in most public activities if fully vaccinated. And given that some people aren’t fully vaccinated, what’s the best sort of do’s and don’ts around mask wearing and social distancing.

[00:32:53]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah. Again, you know, these public health recommendations are looking at averages. They’re going to tend to be conservative, right, that we’re going to err on the side of being more careful as this progresses. I think right now we have several advantages. You know, we’ve already talked about the single greatest determinant of risk is going to be fully vaccinated and if I haven’t made that point, I should make that point. You know, if it’s a two-dose vaccine, you have to get that second dose. Fully vaccinated will decrease your risk more than any other action you can take. Certainly, it helps that we’re now in the summer months, and being outside in well-ventilated places is going to further decrease the risk. Mask wearing, again, is likely not necessary. I don’t want to say absolutely not necessary, because as I said, there may be certain jurisdictions, for example, here in Baltimore City, it was determined that masks should still be worn even after in the state of Maryland that restriction was lifted because, again, of the coverage rate in Baltimore City. So local jurisdictions are going to matter. So, I want to be sure people are following that. But in general, you know, if you are in a place where masks are no longer recommended, I think you should feel free to not wear your mask.

[00:34:36] The final point that is really important is in many states, again, including Maryland, where I am, and, in fact, the majority of states, the levels of positive testing for COVID are the lowest they have been since the start of the pandemic. So, this is a moving variable here. You know, right now I am not only safe because I’ve been vaccinated, but I’m safe because there are far fewer people that I come in contact with in this area who have had COVID. We will need to follow that. You know, will we have another wave in the fall or in the winter? And that also brings up special circumstances such as air travel, which is done in less well-ventilated places with people from all over the place where we can’t monitor the local COVID positivity rate. So that’s why in those situations, we’re still seeing guidance to wear masks, for example.

[00:35:39]Jean Setzfand:  Very helpful, very clear. And I think you’re bringing up an interesting point here around the overall vaccination rate. I think prompting people to see how effective the vaccine is I think is good, but there’s also this notion of the overall vaccination rate across the U.S., and we’ve heard this sort of notion around herd immunity around the 70 or 75 percent rate. Is there a risk overall if we don’t reach that goal?

[00:36:12]Kathleen Neuzil:  The vaccine coverage goal?

[00:36:14]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, the vaccine coverage goal. Yes.

[00:36:15]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah. You know it’s difficult to say because this is a pandemic. So, it’s not only the vaccine coverage goal but it’s what’s happening around us and in the rest of the world. So, this issue of emergence of variants, which callers have talked about, and you’ve talked about, this virus changes in settings of uncontrolled spread, which generally means settings where we don’t have enough vaccine. And so a lot of us, getting out of the pandemic will depend not only on our own vaccine coverage but on vaccine supply to the rest of the world, so we can keep that virus under control, reduce the chance of viruses emerging that could then spread to the U.S. and elsewhere. So as long as this is still a pandemic, and there’s uncontrolled virus transmission everywhere, you know, it’s hard to point to a single vaccine coverage or single estimate that will completely protect us.

[00:37:35]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. Very good point. So more than just the U.S. issue, it’s very much a global issue as well in addition to looking at the U.S. coverage rates. Thank you for that.

[00:37:44] Kate, I’m going to turn back to you. Many people have on their sort of post-pandemic must-do list, visits to museums or cultural attractions outside of their community, and perhaps as we’ve been just talking about, internationally. What kind of resources are available to help people understand local requirements or restrictions and can museum staff, for example, give you a more comprehensive look at sort of what to do when you’re visiting or where to go for that information.

[00:38:17]Kate Haw:  I have noticed having been able to do a little bit of traveling myself since I was vaccinated, that museums have done a terrific job of making information about what is required to visit their institution right up front on the home page of their website. It’s very clear, very specific, letting you know the steps you need to take before your visit and what you’ll need to do while you’re there. I’m not seeing so much information on museum websites about, you know, the local city or state guidelines for travelers. And I think that’s partly because they’re changing so quickly. So, I think the best the best place to go, no matter where you’re traveling or what you plan to do, is to the local government website to see what’s happening in that place at that time. As I said, things, as we all know, and we’re hearing on the news, restrictions are lifting quickly. So, it’s hard for museums to keep up with their information. Having said that, most museums will also have a phone number that you can call. We have several staff members who staff our phone line every day, and they’re busy all day long answering questions from visitors, and they can provide a little bit of context.

[00:39:30]Jean Setzfand:  That’s great. Thank you for that. A quick follow-up to this, and one of the previous callers actually asked a question related to this but I’m curious and the job that I do at AARP is very much focused on education and programming, and we’ve had to switch up our activities quite a bit, moving completely away from in-person to online, and we’ve thought a lot about sort of this hybrid mode and keeping it more, even when we do go back to normal. So curious to hear again from you on sort of the different ways that you’re thinking about it for the National Gallery of Art, how other museums are thinking about sort of mixing up the way that they do engage people, both in person and online. What are some of the changes that you’re likely going to keep?

[00:40:15]Kate Haw:  Yeah, well, I mean this was an unplanned experiment for all of us, wasn’t it?

[00:40:19]Jean Setzfand:  It was.

[00:40:22]Kate Haw:  And we have learned a lot about things that we thought we might be able to sort of pivot and put online and it didn’t really work, but we’ve learned even more about things we never thought we could do virtually that worked really well. And I’d love to give just one example of a program that we’ve had for a number of years called Just Us. And this is a program that we do for people with memory loss and their caregivers. And this is a program that we know, because our visitors have told us, has been really meaningful to families who are living with a loved one with memory loss for a long time. But what we’ve been hearing since we took this program online during the pandemic, was just how important it was for families who really logistically it’s so hard to get their loved one to the museum to participate in the program, and being able to be in their own homes without having to sort of get in a car and get to the museum and maybe they need to get a wheelchair and it can be disruptive and unsettling for their loved one with memory loss, they can sit in their homes, participate in the program together. It provides a moment of connection. This is a program where participants look at two works of art over the course of an hour, and they engage in conversations that are really built around personal responses in the moment that don’t rely on memory or previous knowledge. And this is a program that we will absolutely, one of a number of programs that we will absolutely continue online because we’ve realized we can reach so many more people in a way that works better for them.

[00:42:01]Jean Setzfand:  What a nice way to connect. That’s fabulous. So, it’s called Just Us, and can people find it on your website?

[00:42:07]Kate Haw:  They can at www.nga.gov.

[00:42:13]Jean Setzfand:  And search Just Us?

[00:42:15]Kate Haw:  They can search Just Us, or they can just click on the menu bar for Education.

[00:42:19]Jean Setzfand:  Fantastic. Thank you so much for that, Kate. All right, we will be—

[00:42:22]Kate Haw:  And I have to correct myself. We’ve changed that to Learning. Click on the menu bar for Learning.

[00:42:27]Jean Setzfand:  No problem. So www.nga.gov and search on the tab Learning.

[00:42:34]Kate Haw:  Yes.

[00:42:35]Jean Setzfand:  Great. Thank you for that, Kate. All right, we will be turning back to your questions just shortly, and before we do, I wanted to address an important issue. We know that some of you are still having challenges accessing the vaccine due to transportation or mobility issues. AARP wants to help. The AARP Vaccine Finder support team is available to try to connect you to community resources that can transport you to your vaccine appointment, or come to your home. So, if you’re listening today and can’t get a vaccine because of transportation or mobility issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive a call from an AARP staff member to assist. Again, if you’re listening today and can’t get a vaccine because of mobility/transportation issues, please press 1 to be added to a list to receive the phone call. When you do press 1, you’ll listen to a brief message and then be returned to the call.

[00:43:30] All right now, it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Kathleen Neuzil and Kate Haw. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member. All right, Jesse, who do we have on the line now?

[00:43:47]Jesse Salinas:  Our next caller today is going to be Olga from Connecticut.

[00:43:50]Jean Setzfand:  Hi, Olga. What’s your question for us?

[00:43:53]Olga:  Thank you for taking my question. It has been almost four months since my second dose of Pfizer vaccine. Have I waited long enough, and is it safe to make a dental appointment and also have some work done, lab work, which will, they will be able to draw my blood?

[00:44:16]Jean Setzfand:  Great question. Thanks so much for that, Olga. Dr. Neuzil, is it safe for Olga to do some necessary activities after four months of being vaccinated?

[00:44:27]Kathleen Neuzil:  Sure. So, Olga, first of all, thank you for getting both doses, and again, just to emphasize that that really with the mRNA vaccines, you need two doses. We feel that immunity is really good and very high within about two weeks after that second dose. So, four months, you should be fine. I should comment on the other end of that because people are starting to worry about when efficacy might start to go down again, and we have really good news on that front, too. We’ve followed our clinical trial participants out to eight or 10 months, and we continue to follow them, and it still looks good. So yes, four months should be safe for you to go and do what you need to do.

[00:45:20]Jean Setzfand:  Great news. Thanks so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. Okay, Jesse, who’s our next caller?

[00:45:26]Jesse Salinas:  Our next caller is going to be Linda in Pennsylvania.

[00:45:30]Jean Setzfand:  Hi, Linda, what’s your question for us?

[00:45:32]Linda:  Hi. My question was, I keep hearing about the variants, the delta variant, and they always say just Pfizer is, you know, it’s covered by Pfizer, but never say about the Moderna. What, does that give you the same coverage as the Pfizer?

[00:45:54]Jean Setzfand:  Good question, Linda.

[00:45:55]Linda:  Against the variant?

[00:45:55]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, good question, Linda. Dr. Neuzil, I think we’re going back to you on this question again.

[00:45:59]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah, these calls and questions are keeping me on my toes because, Linda, you have been listening very, very carefully. The vaccine that got out there first, so for which we have the best data on efficacy against that delta variant, is the Pfizer vaccine. And, you know, really quite high against severe disease after two doses. We don’t yet have the same kind of data for the Moderna vaccine. We do though have very good immune responses against the variant that look as good as Pfizer. So, we’re making that connection while we’re waiting for the rest of the data that Moderna will perform as well as Pfizer. But you have been listening and reading very carefully.

[00:46:53]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you for that. All right, Jesse, who’s next on the call line?

[00:46:59]Jesse Salinas:  Yep, we’re going to bring on Marshall from Maryland.

[00:47:02]Jean Setzfand:  Hello, Marshall. What’s your question for us?

[00:47:05]Marshall:  Hello? Well, I’ll start off; I had two shots of Moderna, plus two months. I’ve got a two-part question here. Part one is travel, and part two is destination. We just got an invitation to a wedding out in the Midwest mid-August, very rural area in Kansas, and I contacted the health department of that county to find out what their story is right now in Kansas. And I’m told that they have no cap on gathering sizes and no issue on masks, and so their determination is nobody tells anybody about masks or shots. And currently, the senior inoculation is up to about 70 percent, and all adults are around 35 percent. And talking with some of my cousins out there, the attitude in much of that part of the rural Midwest is they don’t want to get shots, and they don’t want to wear masks. So, my risks are, let’s see, I’m a senior citizen, and I have a chronic health condition. My risk would be, first, airplane ride back and forth, which probably isn’t not too bad, but my destination issue is bad, I think. It’s likely to be a big wedding, maybe a hundred people or so at the wedding, and the last time we had a wedding was October 17th, big wedding. And after talking with one of my uncles about two weeks after the wedding, 50 people were the proud recipients of COVID-19 directly from that wedding; 20 of them are my cousins. I don’t know what to do about going out to the wedding.

[00:49:09]Jean Setzfand:  Yeah, tough question, Marshall. I’m going to toss it back to Dr. Neuzil again, in terms of weighing this decision and the risks associated with that.

[00:49:20]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah, and it is weighing individual risk. I’m sure all the callers can appreciate that, but I can’t really advise individuals, just perhaps help you frame the decision. I will say that before vaccination, weddings and family gatherings were big drivers of the pandemic and the individual risk, because people were complying with overall restrictions but, you know, the family was a bit of an exception for a while and people were willing to do those sorts of gatherings. So, it doesn’t entirely surprise me that your family experienced an outbreak in that setting. Again, your risk is dramatically reduced because you’ve had two doses of the vaccine. You will be asked to wear a mask while flying and, again, the airports and the airlines have really done a good job about enforcing that mask wearing. And then when you get to where you’re going, you know, it’s the risk to the unvaccinated that will be greatest, but a lot of it will depend on not only the coverage in the area that you’re in — and if you feel uncomfortable, I would say certainly wear a mask, you know, if you go to the grocery store or somewhere publicly — but at the wedding, it will be more dependent on how many people at that wedding have been vaccinated, is it indoor or outdoor, with outdoor being less of a risk, for example. So again, the biggest determinant that will help you lower your risk is that you’ve had two doses of the vaccine.

[00:51:11]Jean Setzfand:  Great, thank you. Thank you for laying that out in the framework as well, too, Dr. Neuzil. Very helpful. All right, Jesse, who is our next caller?

[00:51:19]Jesse Salinas:  Our next question is actually from Facebook, and this is from Chrissy Abrams. She’s a grandparent, and her question is, if you’re vaccinated and you want to go visit younger people, in particular, her grandchildren who are 4 and 5 years old and not able to get vaccinated, does she have to wear a mask?

[00:51:35]Jean Setzfand:  Good question. Dr. Neuzil, I’m tossing this back to you again about unvaccinated kids, what to do about that.

[00:51:43]Kathleen Neuzil:  Sure. And you know kids have been affected by this pandemic, definitely. They’ve certainly been affected socially and developmentally. Their risk of severe disease is considerably lower. It’s not zero, but it’s considerably lower. So, the general recommendation is if you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask. The only exception to that would be if your grandchild has some chronic health condition that would make them more susceptible to COVID or to severe COVID.

[00:52:25]Jean Setzfand:  Makes sense, and I know that there’s also been news of late related to the variants and the effects of younger individuals internationally. What are your thoughts around that?

[00:52:39]Kathleen Neuzil:  Just in terms of sometimes it’s hard to sort out behavior of younger individuals, you know, versus the effect of the virus and the variant. You know, we certainly saw that in the U.S. with younger people not conforming to rules as well as older people that are conforming to rules. So, certainly, again, we’re learning more about the delta variant, and if it may be more severe in all ages. Some of what we’re seeing could also be behavior-related.

[00:53:18]Jean Setzfand:  Makes sense. All right, I’m not letting you off the hook, unfortunately. I’m actually going to turn back to some questions that we’ve had developed in advance, and one of the ones that we’ve been thinking a lot about is the news that Johnson & Johnson’s CEO has publicly said that people may need an additional dose of the COVID vaccine along with an annual flu shot. What’s your opinion of it?

[00:53:44]Kathleen Neuzil:  Yeah, so the issue of booster doses is certainly a hot topic right now. And just to remind everybody that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine; that is how it’s licensed. They are doing a second study, and I hope we’ll hear the results soon, about a two-dose version of that vaccine. So, it may be a bit of a different question if a Johnson & Johnson needs a booster, right, which would be a second dose versus Moderna and Pfizer needing a third dose. Right now, you know, the conversation is ongoing, the studies are ongoing, and the data are starting to come in. Right now, scientifically, there is no indication of a short term need for a booster dose. The immune response data look durable. You know, I’ve talked about eight- to 10-month data. We’ve seen six months and more efficacy data from Moderna and Pfizer that look really, really good. So, I don’t want it to scare people that you’re hearing talk of a booster that that means we need a booster.

[00:54:59] The reason there’s talk of a booster is because, you know, in the end, this COVID vaccine program is going to be the largest vaccination program in the history of the United States. So, if we’re going to think about a booster logistically, we have to start thinking about it sooner instead of later. But at the moment there is no scientific indication for it in terms of immunity is waning, efficacy is going down. It’s a conversation realizing the enormity of the decision and the enormity of the logistics should we eventually decide that a booster dose is needed.

[00:55:41]Jean Setzfand:  Great, thank you so much for that, Dr. Neuzil. All right, Kate, you’re going to get the last word here. How might someone who’s never considered themselves artistic explore and express themselves now that we’ve all seen our lives in a different light?

[00:55:57]Kate Haw:  Yeah, well I’m not sure this exactly answers your question, but I think that people who haven’t dipped their toe in the water at art museums, maybe haven’t done it because they didn’t feel like art museums were for them. And the trend in museums now is to recognize that we’re here for everybody. You don’t need a Ph.D. to come through the door and look at a work of art and experience it in whatever way is meaningful to you. And so, across the country and really around the world, museums are looking at museum visits as a time for visitors to bring their life experience to the table to respond to works of art in ways that are meaningful to them. And if you want more, and you want history and guidance and context for what you’re seeing on the walls, we’re happy to give that to you, too, but we really want to be in conversation with the people who come to visit us. What is it you’re looking for? What do you want to see? What does this mean to you? And I want all people to know that they’re welcome. So, we look forward to seeing you come through our doors in the East Building as of tomorrow and in the West Building even as of today, and I know I speak for my colleagues around the country when I say that.

[00:57:15]Jean Setzfand:  Wonderful. Thank you so much, Kate, and I’m personally going to make a visit myself, because I’m dying to make a visit to really kind of feed my soul with art. So that’s terrific.

[00:57:26]Kate Haw:  Yes, and I will say that, you know, being out in the galleries as we have welcomed the public back over the last few weeks has been so gratifying to hear people’s enthusiasm for returning. You know, there are people who are even in tears they’re so happy to be back and seeing some of their old favorite works of art. And so we welcome everyone to experience that.

[00:57:47]Jean Setzfand:  Thank you so much. Well, I really want to take time to thank both of our expert panelists. I personally learned so much, and we really appreciate all the answers to the questions that we posed to you today. And, of course, I want to thank all of you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership, and we’ve been working to promote health and well-being for older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we are 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 taking care of themselves. All the resources that we referenced today, including a recording of today’s Q&A event, can be found on aarp.org/coronavirus on June 18th, that’s tomorrow. And again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question wasn’t answered. You’ll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something today that will keep you and your loved ones healthy. And please, join us on June 24th at 7 p.m. Eastern for a special live event where we’ll address COVID’s impact on the LGBTQ community. We hope you can join us for that. And thank you again. Have a wonderful day. This concludes our call.

[00:59:18]

Teleasamblea de AARP: vacunas y seguridad durante la "reapertura"

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola. Soy Jean Setzfand, vicepresidenta sénior de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a este importante debate sobre el coronavirus. Antes de comenzar, si deseas escuchar esta teleasamblea en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora.

 

[Repetición en español]

 

Jean Setzfand: AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro y no partidista, con membresía, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores de EE.UU. durante más de 60 años. Frente a la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP proporciona información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

 

En todo el país, se están levantando las restricciones por el coronavirus y muchas personas están volviendo a viajar, a eventos deportivos y a asistir a eventos culturales en persona. Pero muchos adultos mayores se sienten inseguros acerca de la rapidez con la que deben volver a sus actividades normales. Muchos tienen preguntas sobre la efectividad de la vacuna, particularmente con las nuevas variantes de COVID-19 en circulación, y hasta qué punto se puede salir en público y estar a salvo.

 

Hoy, escucharemos a un impresionante panel de expertas hablar sobre estos temas y otros. Si ya han participado de alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabrán que esto es muy similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tendrán la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo.

 

Para aquellos de ustedes que nos acompañan por teléfono, si desean hacer una pregunta sobre la pandemia de coronavirus, marquen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono para comunicarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta, y los ubicará en una lista para hacer la pregunta en vivo. Si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, también puedes publicar tus preguntas en los comentarios.

 

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

 

Hoy nos acompaña un grupo excepcional de invitadas, incluida una experta en desarrollo de vacunas y salud global de la Universidad de Maryland y también una oficial de colecciones, exposiciones y programas de la Galería Nacional de Arte; también se unirá mi colega de AARP, Jesse Salinas, quien estará facilitando sus preguntas hoy.

 

El evento se va a grabar 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. Y si te unes desde Facebook o YouTube, coloca tus preguntas en los comentarios.

 

Muy bien, permítanme presentarles a nuestras invitadas de hoy. Nuestra primera invitada es la doctora Kathleen Neuzil, directora del Centro para el Desarrollo de Vacunas y Salud Global de la Facultad de Medicina de University of Maryland. Bienvenida de nuevo, Dra. Neuzil.

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Gracias.

 

Jean Setzfand: Y también tenemos a Kate Haw. Kate es la oficial de colecciones, exposiciones y programas de la Galería Nacional de Arte. Gracias por acompañarnos hoy, Kate.

 

Kate Haw: Gracias por invitarme.

 

Jean Setzfand: Maravilloso. Muy bien, antes de comenzar, solo como un recordatorio rápido, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono. O pueden dejar sus comentarios en la sección de Facebook y YouTube. Muy bien, comencemos.

 

Dra. Neuzil, hablemos un poco sobre lo que sucedió desde la última vez que nos acompañó. Creo que fue en abril, la última vez que estuvo en el programa. Ha habido múltiples variantes, las últimas de las que escuchamos en la India parecen ser más serias. ¿Cuál es el nuevo riesgo de la variante Delta?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí, como dijiste, la variante Delta se reconoció por primera vez en la India, se extendió rápidamente y ahora es una variante predominante en el Reino Unido. Y, por supuesto, la estamos viendo aquí en Estados Unidos. Parece ser más transmisible, por lo que se transmite de persona a persona. También puede causar una enfermedad más grave.

 

Creo que necesitamos aprender un poco más. La buena noticia es que las vacunas, al menos las vacunas que estamos usando en Estados Unidos, parecen ser altamente efectivas contra la variante Delta. Muy buenas noticias y otra razón para vacunarse.

 

Jean Setzfand: Suena bien. Muchas gracias por eso. Un rápido seguimiento de eso, Dra. Neuzil, ¿qué tan efectivas son las vacunas actuales contra las variantes? ¿Y la proliferación de variantes sugiere que vamos a necesitar un refuerzo en algún momento pronto?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Es difícil responder específicamente porque se realizaron diferentes ensayos de diferentes vacunas cuando circulaban diferentes variantes. Por tanto, no necesariamente tenemos comparaciones directas. Y también advierto sobre esas comparaciones directas.

 

Las poblaciones son diferentes, el momento de la vacuna es diferente. Dicho esto, es realmente la variante Beta de Sudáfrica para la que hemos visto la eficacia más baja, y eso se vio en el Medio Oriente. Y esa eficacia seguía siendo de alrededor del 75%, con una eficacia contra enfermedades graves cercana al 100%.

 

Para la variante Delta, tenemos menos datos generales. Una vez más, los datos parecen positivos, parecen cercanos al 100% frente a enfermedades graves. Y también agregaría que tenemos muchos más datos sobre la respuesta inmunitaria, que nuevamente, es más baja que la cepa original pero aún bastante robusta.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy buenas noticias. Parece que las vacunas resistieron bastante bien entonces.

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Así es. Yo diría que sí; la vacuna está resistiendo bien y solo tenemos que alentar a los demás miembros de la población a que la reciban.

 

Jean Setzfand: Eso es genial. Creo que es una buena noticia para los que resisten. Así que gracias por eso, Dra. Neuzil. De acuerdo, Kate, vamos contigo. Y nuevamente, muchas gracias por acompañarnos. Cuando viajan las buenas noticias sobre la vacuna, y las experiencias únicas están en la lista de deseos de muchas personas mucha gente lo está reconsiderando ahora. Entonces, ¿dónde se encuentran las instituciones artísticas y culturales en este tipo de vida postpandemia más feliz?

 

Kate Haw: Sí. Bueno, gracias de nuevo por invitarme, Jean. Todos los que amamos los museos, venimos a los museos para tener la oportunidad de experimentar la belleza, aprender sobre nuestro propio tiempo, sobre historia y explorar nuestra humanidad compartida.

 

Entonces, la oportunidad que brindan los museos para aprender y experimentar cosas nuevas o mirar cosas que pensamos que entendíamos, de nuevas maneras es tan importante para alimentar nuestra curiosidad y mantener la vida interesante. Y los museos hicieron un trabajo maravilloso al hacer que el contenido estuviera disponible en línea durante la pandemia, pero nada reemplaza al contenido real.

 

Y en múltiples estudios, se ha encontrado que el compromiso con las artes visuales mejora la función cognitiva en los adultos mayores. Y los médicos incluso han recetado viajes a museos de arte para estimular la actividad neuronal y mejorar la sensación de bienestar del paciente. Por eso queremos que vengan, y creemos que venir y ver arte es bueno para uno.

 

Y para aquellos que todavía pueden sentir un poco de ansiedad de volver a las actividades que disfrutábamos antes de la pandemia, algo a considerar es que los estudios recientes sugieren que visitar museos es más seguro que la mayoría de las otras actividades en interiores porque los museos tienden a tener un sistema de ventilación muy bueno. Y también son espacios grandes, donde es bastante fácil mantener la distancia social.

 

Jean Setzfand: Bueno, eso suena genial. Creo que no solo es bueno para la salud mental, tu salud cerebral, sino que también es realmente seguro. Esa es realmente una buena noticia. Gracias por eso, Kate. Y sé que con la eliminación de las restricciones para las personas completamente vacunadas en todo el país, es hora de volver a las cosas que amamos, incluidas las artes.

 

Además de lo que acabas de compartir con nosotros en términos de cuán seguros son los museos. ¿Cómo se han adaptado los museos de todo el país a la pandemia? ¿Cómo se está preparando para la reapertura total, la Galería Nacional de Arte? Que sucederá muy pronto, ¿verdad?

 

Kate Haw: Bueno, en realidad ya abrimos uno. Tenemos dos edificios en la Galería Nacional, nuestro edificio oeste, que alberga nuestras antiguas colecciones maestras inauguradas el mes pasado, y nuestro edificio este, que alberga arte moderno y contemporáneo; de hecho, reabrirá mañana con algunas nuevas exposiciones e instalaciones.

 

Y estamos muy emocionados, porque estamos para servir al público. Y ha sido muy triste para nosotros estar aquí sin nadie en el edificio durante tanto tiempo. Así que, por favor, regresen. Para nosotros, algunas de las cosas que hemos hecho para adaptarnos, incluso cuando volvemos a abrir, nuestro horario sigue siendo un poco más corto de lo habitual, solo para darle a nuestro personal más tiempo para limpiar.

 

Como la mayoría de los museos, actualmente estamos limitando la capacidad para facilitar el distanciamiento social. Por eso ofrecemos pases cronometrados gratuitos para que sepas a qué hora del día llegar. Y hemos estado solicitando mascarillas, aunque mañana eliminaremos nuestro requisito de mascarillas para los visitantes y el personal completamente vacunados, pero seguiremos pidiendo a los que no están vacunados que las sigan usando.

 

Así que estoy emocionada de llegar al punto en que a medida que se levantan más y más restricciones, podemos despertarnos una mañana y decidir ir a un museo sin tener que hacer estas reservas. Pero durante este tiempo, ha sido una forma para todos nosotros en el campo de continuar recibiendo a los visitantes de manera segura.

 

Jean Setzfand: Eso es maravilloso. E incluso con las restricciones también, de alguna manera, también te ayuda a acceder al arte más libremente en el sentido de que puedes acercarte, no tanto, pero también hay menos personas en el museo, supongo.

 

Kate Haw: Por supuesto. Y nosotros, en realidad estamos pensando, bueno, qué tipo de eventos hemos realizado en el pasado que tienden a estar abarrotados y tal vez no sean la mejor experiencia para los visitantes. Y ahora que realmente aprendimos cómo hacer este sistema de pases cronometrados de una manera que sea eficiente para nuestro personal y una buena experiencia para nuestros visitantes, podemos emplearlo en ciertas situaciones en el futuro.

 

Jean Setzfand: Eso tiene mucho sentido. Bueno, gracias por eso. Muy bien, vamos a llegar a las preguntas en vivo de los oyentes muy pronto. Y como recordatorio, si deseas hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3. Antes de hacerlo, quiero traer a Nancy LeaMond, vicepresidenta ejecutiva y directora de Activismo Legislativo y Compromiso de AARP Bienvenida, Nancy.

 

Nancy LeaMond: Hola, Jean.

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola. Nancy, las tasas de vacunación continúan aumentando. ¿Dónde está enfocando AARP nuestro trabajo en lo que respecta a la COVID-19?

 

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, considerando lo difícil que fue el año pasado, particularmente para los adultos mayores que están en mayor riesgo, es un gran alivio ver que el 87% de nuestra población de mayores de 65 años en todo el país ha recibido al menos una dosis de la vacuna contra la COVID-19.

 

AARP luchó por grandes inversiones en investigación y distribución. Y trabajamos con funcionarios del Gobierno federal, estatal y local para asegurarnos de que vacunar a los adultos mayores del país fuera una prioridad. También abogamos por políticas para proteger la salud de los residentes de hogares de ancianos y ayudar a millones de adultos mayores con pagos de estímulo directo, mayor acceso a seguros médicos asequibles y, por supuesto, más.

 

Hemos avanzado mucho, pero aún queda trabajo por hacer para garantizar que todos los que quieran una vacuna puedan recibirla. Y que las personas que todavía tienen preguntas obtengan las respuestas que buscan. Los equipos estatales de AARP en todo el país continúan nuestro trabajo para llegar a personas como personas confinadas en el hogar, adultos mayores y comunidades donde el acceso a la vacuna ha sido un problema.

 

Y también estamos instando a los gobernadores, legisladores estatales y funcionarios del Gobierno local a que asignen fondos de recuperación y ayuda por la COVID-19 de manera que aborden las necesidades de las personas mayores de 50 años.

 

Jean Setzfand: Genial. Muchas gracias, Nancy. Y sé que la COVID-19 todavía está primero y en el centro para muchos de nosotros. Pero sé que AARP no limita nuestro trabajo a eso. ¿De qué otra manera lucha AARP por los adultos mayores de 50 años hoy en día?

 

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, hay tres grandes prioridades para AARP este año: el alivio financiero para los cuidadores familiares, ampliar el acceso asequible a internet de alta velocidad y reducir el costo de los medicamentos recetados.

 

Ahora, respecto a lo primero, el año pasado puso en evidencia lo difícil que puede ser para las familias cuidar a sus seres queridos mayores, física, emocional y económicamente. En promedio, los cuidadores familiares desembolsan cerca de $7,000 al año en gastos relacionados con el cuidado.

 

Y por eso, AARP lucha para aprobar la ley federal Credit for Caring (crédito para los cuidadores) que se introdujo recientemente en ambas Cámaras del Congreso. Este proyecto de ley bipartidista crearía un crédito fiscal para ciertos cuidadores familiares, para ayudar a compensar algunos gastos.

 

Y segundo, la pandemia ha demostrado que el acceso a internet de alta velocidad es una necesidad y no un lujo. Sin él, las personas tienen menos oportunidades de ganarse la vida, obtener una educación, acceder a la atención médica y conectarse con familiares y amigos.

 

Los equipos estatales de AARP, incluidos los de Oklahoma, Montana, Tennessee y Vermont, han defendido con éxito la financiación para ampliar el internet de alta velocidad a las comunidades desatendidas. Y en todo el país, estamos alentando a las personas que reúnan los requisitos a inscribirse en el nuevo programa federal de beneficios de banda ancha de emergencia que ayuda a que el acceso sea más asequible.

 

Alentamos a quienes reúnan los requisitos a inscribirse en este programa. Ahora, para obtener recursos y más información sobre EBB, visiten aarp.org\ebb o llamen al 1-833-511-0311. Y asegúrense de llamar o visitar el sitio web. Acabo de marcar el número y funciona, así que puedo dar fe de ello.

 

La tercera área, estamos presionando para que actúen para reducir el precio vertiginoso de los medicamentos recetados. Las familias del país no pueden permitirse seguir pagando el costo de medicamentos más alto del mundo. Necesitamos acción.

 

Y es por eso que AARP está impulsando proyectos de ley de reforma de medicamentos recetados en 30 estados. Y estamos instando al Congreso a permitir que Medicare negocie los precios de los medicamentos recetados y establezca un límite en los costos de copago de los medicamentos para los afiliados a la Parte D de Medicare.

 

Y luego, finalmente, aprobar otras medidas para frenar el crecimiento de los precios de los medicamentos. Ahora, si desean mantenerse al tanto de todos o algunos de estos esfuerzos, visiten www.aarp.org\elcoronavirus. Muchas gracias por invitarme, Jean.

 

Jean Setzfand: Gracias, Nancy por liderar el esfuerzo de AARP. Gracias. Siempre estamos encantados cuando puedes acompañarnos. Gracias de nuevo.

 

Nancy LeaMond: Genial.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien. Ahora es el momento de abordar sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus con la Dra. Kathleen Neuzil y Kate Haw. Nuevamente, presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con el personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta. Y nuevamente, si desean escuchar este programa en español, presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

 

[Repetición en español]

 

Jean Setzfand: Y ahora me gustaría traer a mi colega de AARP, Jesse Salinas para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas. Bienvenido, Jesse.

 

Jesse Salinas: Gracias, Jean. Estoy feliz de estar aquí para esta importante conversación.

 

Jean Setzfand: ¡Maravilloso! Muy bien, ¿de quién es nuestra primera llamada, Jesse?

 

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra primera llamada es de Robin en Illinois.

 

Jean Setzfand: Robin, hola, ¿cuál es tu pregunta para nosotros?

 

Robin: Hola. Quería salir a comer con alguien por su cumpleaños, el sábado. Estoy muy preocupada por lo de usar o no la mascarilla y todo eso. Y será algo al aire libre. Eso sería nuevo para mí. Y cuando hice la reserva, descubrí que el personal del restaurante solo usa mascarillas si alguien no está vacunado.

 

Ahora, para mí, creo que todo el personal del restaurante, ya sabes, el personal que manipula los alimentos en la parte de atrás debería usar mascarillas, incluso si no hubiese COVID-19, y que las personas no vacunadas no deberían estar trabajando en un restaurante en este momento. Entonces, no estoy segura de si debo cancelar o si estoy exagerando o qué.

 

Jean Setzfand: Bueno, creo que es una muy buena pregunta, Robin. Dra. Neuzil, ¿puede ayudar a Robin con esa pregunta?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Claro. Buena pregunta. Y entiendo que la gente está preocupada y, por supuesto, es muy difícil estimar el riesgo en cualquier situación. Hemos aprendido mucho sobre la transmisión del coronavirus en el último año. Y se transporta mayormente por aire y como aerosol.

 

Entonces, si bien puede haber medidas de control de infecciones en un restaurante para enfermedades transmitidas por los alimentos, el riesgo de propagación mientras alguien está cocinando alimentos, por ejemplo, a través de alimentos o superficies contaminadas, sería extremadamente bajo.

 

Entonces, la mayor preocupación para mí sería, y ya las has abordado, es si tú y los miembros de la cena, estarán vacunados. Sabes, ¿estarán en un lugar al aire libre y bien ventilado? Todos estos factores reducirán el riesgo. La mayoría de los restaurantes todavía exigen que los empleados usen mascarilla. Sin embargo, en sí mismo, eso no debería aumentar indebidamente el riesgo.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy útil. Muchas gracias por eso, Dra. Neuzil. De acuerdo, Jesse, quien es el siguiente en la línea.

 

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada es de Karen de Nueva Jersey.

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Karen, ¿cuál es tu pregunta para nosotros?

 

Karen: Hola. Si, tengo una pregunta. Mi pregunta se relaciona con las personas discapacitadas que son socias de AARP. Escuchamos cuán maravilloso es que se están abriendo museos, etcétera. Y debido a la COVID-19 cómo los museos habían cerrado y creado una gran cantidad de contenido en línea y seminarios por zoom. Así que espero que en el futuro continúen porque sus miembros discapacitados aún no pueden salir a participar, ya saben, dentro de las estructuras del museo y preliminares. Entonces, ¿continuará y será igual de sólido?

 

Jean Setzfand: Maravillosa pregunta, Karen. Kate, voy a recurrir a ti para eso.

 

Kate Haw: Sí. Muchas gracias por esa pregunta, Karen. Creo que el campo de los museos en general y la Galería Nacional, en particular, habían estado un poco atrasados ​​en términos de programación digital. Así que poner todo en línea durante a pandemia fue una gran lección para nosotros. Y aprendimos mucho sobre cómo estar en línea aumenta la accesibilidad de formas en las que no habíamos pensado, incluidas las formas en que describes, el cuidado de personas discapacitadas.

 

Así que continuaremos haciendo bastante programación en línea a medida que avancemos. Hemos aprendido mucho durante el último año y sobre qué tipo de cosas aún pueden ser interesantes cuando las hacemos en línea y qué cosas son menos atractivas. Y vamos a concentrar nuestra energía en los programas que creemos que pueden tener el mayor impacto en un formato en línea.

 

Jean Setzfand: Eso es fantástico. Es realmente bueno escuchar eso. Gracias por eso, Kate. Jesse, volviendo a las líneas telefónicas, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jesse Salinas: Sí. El próximo será Ross en Ohio.

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Ross. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta para nosotros?

 

Ross: Hola. Gracias por atender mi llamada. Muchas teleasambleas y finalmente pude comunicarme, para mí, es muy serio. Me dieron la vacuna Pfizer hace un tiempo, y fui por mi segunda vacuna y me dieron Moderna. Los farmacéuticos me hablaron, dijeron que debería estar bien.

 

Sería millonario si tuviera suficiente dinero. Tengo 76 años. No me tranquiliza que digan que debería estar bien. Me comuniqué con los CDC locales, su respuesta fue: "Oh, nunca habíamos oído hablar de eso". Me comuniqué con Pfizer y me dijeron: "Bueno, la eficacia es casi la misma" y todo eso. Pero aún eso no me tranquiliza.

 

¿Qué me va a pasar dentro de seis meses? Me di cuenta de una cosa, desde que me inyectaron, he estado extremadamente, extremadamente cansado. Ahora entro en línea y encuentro que todavía están haciendo pruebas, todavía están en el proceso de prueba, de mezclar los dos medicamentos.

 

Solo desearía poder obtener una respuesta definitiva de alguien. Y ustedes son geniales. Los escucho todo el tiempo y he aprendido mucho. Espero poder aprender mucho hoy.

 

Jean Setzfand: Bueno, gracias por acompañarnos y gracias por su perseverancia. Dra. Neuzil, ¿puede ayudarnos?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí, Ross, es una gran pregunta. Puedo entender por qué estás frustrado. La forma en que ha progresado el desarrollo de estas vacunas, ha sido a una velocidad histórica con gran detalle y énfasis en la seguridad.

 

Pero, no obstante, es una velocidad histórica. Y un aspecto de los ensayos clínicos es que seguimos reglas. Y seguimos las reglas con mucho cuidado. Y las reglas nos dijeron que si estamos probando la vacuna Pfizer, usamos dos dosis de Pfizer y si estamos probando la vacuna Moderna, usamos dos dosis de Moderna.

 

Entonces, lo que estás leyendo es absolutamente correcto. El tema de las colocaciones mixtas es ahora algo que se está probando. Y con suerte, antes de llegar a los seis meses, sabrás, te diría, dos cosas. Una es que estamos empezando a ver que surgen datos que combinan y combinan programas. Entonces, una vacuna de ARNm, una Pfizer o una Moderna, con una AstraZeneca o una Johnson & Johnson.

 

Combinando, la respuesta inmunitaria se ve tan buena o incluso mejor si mezclamos dos dosis de vacuna. Entonces yo diría, estate atento. Puedo darte —como alguien que ha sido vacunóloga durante 25 años— mi opinión personal, que es biológicamente plausible.

 

La biología y la ciencia me dicen que deberías tener una respuesta inmunitaria y una eficacia igual de buenas con Pfizer, Pfizer o Pfizer, Moderna o Moderna, Pfizer. Son vacunas muy similares. Ambas están enfocadas en la proteína de pico de ese coronavirus. Y si bien no puedo mostrarles el ensayo clínico todavía, y nuevamente, están en progreso, puedo decir biológicamente, estoy segura de que ha tenido una buena respuesta inmunitaria.

 

Jean Setzfand: Gracias, Dra. Neuzil. Fue una orientación muy clara. Está bien, Jesse. Pasando a la siguiente persona, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jesse Salinas: Sí. Nuestro próximo oyente es en realidad de YouTube, pregunta Karen Gubbay. Primero dice que está completamente vacunada. Y quiere saber si puede visitar a amigos que no estén vacunados. ¿Y necesita hacerlo con una mascarilla o no?

 

Jean Setzfand: Buena pregunta. Dra. Neuzil, creo que le preguntaré a usted. ¿Qué piensas en general sobre el uso de mascarillas?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí, le digo a la gente que tomamos decisiones de salud pública basadas en lo que es mejor para la mayoría, lo que es mejor para que nuestra economía funcione. Y las decisiones individuales son solo eso, individuales.

 

Entonces, una vacuna, como ya dije, será muy protectora para el individuo. Y también sabemos que la cantidad de virus que uno va a esparcir al medio ambiente si tose o estornuda será menor que si no está vacunado. Pero no es cero.

 

Por lo tanto, puedes elegir como cortesía, si sales con personas no vacunadas, usar una mascarilla, ciertamente no va a doler y podría ayudar. Y yo diría que también hay gente, sigo diciendo, animaríamos a los no vacunados a que se vacunen.

 

Pero sabemos que también hay personas que toman medicamentos inmunosupresores o con afecciones que afectan su sistema inmunitario y que serían de muy alto riesgo. Y, por lo tanto, yo que tú creo que sería cautelosa incluso estando vacunada, nuevamente, tendría la cortesía de usar una mascarilla si estás en contacto estrecho con personas que no tienen un buen sistema inmunitario.

 

Jean Setzfand: Tiene sentido. Gracias. Jesse, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jesse Salinas: Vamos a tomar una más de YouTube. Esta es de Lisa en Maryland. Y le gustaría saber si existen pautas de salud obligatorias que los centros de arte y cultura deban cumplir al reabrir.

 

Jean Setzfand: Buena pregunta. Kate, ¿puedes ayudarnos con esa pregunta?

 

Kate Haw: Esos museos siguen las guías de sus ciudades y estados. Eso es lo que hicimos en la Galería Nacional. Por eso, hemos prestado mucha atención a lo que aconseja el alcalde de Washington DC. Y hemos escuchado a los CDC muy de cerca y también hemos consultado con un médico de los CDC para obtener consejos cuando tenemos alguna pregunta.

 

Así que será una política de ciudad por ciudad, estado por estado. Y los museos, cada estado tiene requisitos para diferentes tipos de organizaciones e instituciones que esos lugares deben seguir. En mi experiencia hablando con colegas de todo el país, es que los museos se están tomando esos mandatos muy en serio. Y diré, solo para agregar a eso, como sabemos, se están levantando muchas restricciones, se están aflojando muchas pautas en todo el país. Y los museos avanzan desde entonces.

 

Jean Setzfand: Genial. Gracias por eso. De acuerdo, Jesse, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jesse Salinas: Sí. Nuestra siguiente pregunta es Linda en Luisiana.

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Linda, ¿cuál es tu pregunta para nosotros?

 

Linda: Sí. ¿Puedes escucharme?

 

Jean Setzfand: Sí, podemos escucharte.

 

Linda: La pregunta que tengo es que después de la segunda dosis de la vacuna, mi esposo y yo recibimos la de Moderna, tenemos más de 65 años y tenemos múltiples enfermedades. Y quería averiguar, todavía no nos sentimos cómodos para salir con una mascarilla porque en Luisiana, como saben, la tasa de vacunación es baja.

 

Lo último que escuché fue que todavía estaba en el rango del 30%. Por eso, es una gran preocupación para nosotros que no sepamos a qué estaremos expuestos. Pero lo que es más preocupante, no sabemos cuál pudo haber sido nuestra respuesta individual a la vacuna debido a nuestras enfermedades.

 

Y quiero saber, ¿hay un análisis de sangre comercial que podamos pedir a nuestros médicos que sea preciso y nos dé una idea de qué nivel de anticuerpos tenemos?

 

Jean Setzfand: Genial. Interesante pregunta. Muchas gracias. Dra. Neuzil, ¿puede ayudar a Linda con esa pregunta?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Claro. Linda, creo que en realidad hiciste una serie de preguntas. Así que intentaré ser breve. Y mencionas algunos puntos realmente buenos. El primer punto es que, aunque sabemos que hay una cobertura increíblemente alta en EE.UU., no es uniforme.

 

Y estamos viendo comunidades con diferentes niveles de cobertura de vacunas. Y como has identificado sabiamente, eso significa que el riesgo en ciertas comunidades es mayor o menor, y habrá focos, incluso dentro de una ciudad o un estado, que tienen mayor riesgo porque hay menos vacunados.

 

Entonces, es un punto realmente bueno el que mencionas, que este no es un riesgo uniforme. Sabemos que las vacunas funcionaron bastante bien, incluso en personas mayores con enfermedades crónicas. Entonces eso es positivo. Hay personas, como mencioné antes, que se han sometido a trasplantes de órganos, otras enfermedades realmente inmunodepresivas a quienes no les ha ido tan bien con la vacuna, así que es difícil decir dónde estaría cualquier individuo en ese espectro.

 

Estamos advirtiendo a la gente que tenga cuidado con el uso de análisis de sangre. Ciertamente, hay pruebas que identifican la proteína de pico y esas serían las pruebas que te dirían si tuvieses anticuerpos después de una vacuna.

 

Yo advertiría que hay muchas de estas pruebas y dependiendo de tu seguro, es posible que te realicen pruebas ligeramente diferentes, pero todas prueban esa proteína de pico. El desafío es que aún no hemos identificado cuánta proteína te protege. Y estamos trabajando muy duro en este momento, haciendo análisis que nos ayudarán a responder esa pregunta.

 

Entonces, no es una recomendación de salud pública, ni lo que personalmente recomiendo que la gente se apresure a hacerse una de estas pruebas porque es difícil saber cómo interpretar la respuesta.

 

Jean Setzfand: Por supuesto. Dra. Neuzil, creo que menciona un punto realmente interesante de que todavía se está desarrollando mucho con la investigación en curso. ¿A dónde recurren las personas para obtener la mejor información sobre lo que se ha descubierto casi a diario, semanal o mensualmente?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí, tengo que decir que incluso para los médicos e investigadores en el campo, es realmente difícil mantenerse al día con la cantidad de información nueva que tenemos. El primer lugar al que siempre voy es el sitio web de los CDC, cdc.gov. Lo actualizan de forma regular, varias veces al día.

 

Tienen información sobre vacunas, tienen información sobre enfermedades, tienen información de orientación de salud pública y también tienen una gran cantidad de otros recursos y enlaces a otros sitios web. Entonces, si no estoy segura de por dónde empezar, casi siempre empiezo con www.cdc.gov. Y el coronavirus está en la portada.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy buena orientación. Muchas gracias, Dra. Neuzil. Muchas gracias por todas sus excelentes preguntas. Y volveremos a ellas en un momento. Recuerden, si desean hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3. Y nuevamente, si deseas escuchar este evento en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora.

 

[Repetición en español]

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien, vamos a volver a nuestras expertas. Dra. Neuzil, hemos estado hablando de esto. Es un momento extraordinario en el que muchas personas en el país vuelven a la normalidad lo más rápido posible. Los Gobiernos estatales y locales y los CDC han relajado moratorias y requisitos masivos.

 

¿Deberíamos sentirnos seguros? Ya hemos escuchado decir esto a un par de oyentes. ¿Deberíamos sentirnos seguros de participar en la mayoría de las actividades públicas si estamos completamente vacunados? Y dado que algunas personas no están completamente vacunadas, ¿qué sería lo mejor en lo que refiere al uso de mascarillas y el distanciamiento social?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Bueno, estas recomendaciones de salud pública se basan en promedios, y tenderán a ser conservadoras, ¿de acuerdo? Que vamos a errar por el lado de ser más cuidadosos a medida que avanza esto. Creo que en este momento tenemos varias ventajas, ya hemos mencionado que el mayor factor determinante de riesgo es estar completamente vacunado.

 

Y si no he dicho eso, debería hacerlo. Si se trata de una vacuna de dos dosis, tienes que recibir esa segunda dosis, estar completamente vacunado disminuirá tu riesgo más que cualquier otra acción que puedas tomar. Ciertamente, ayuda que ahora estemos en los meses de verano y estar al aire libre en lugares bien ventilados disminuirá aún más el riesgo.

 

De nuevo, probablemente no sea necesario el uso de una mascarilla. No quiero decir que no es necesario para nada, porque, como dije, puede haber ciertas jurisdicciones, por ejemplo, aquí en la ciudad de Baltimore, donde se determinó que las mascarillas aún se deben usar incluso después de que en el estado de Maryland se levantó esa restricción, debido a la tasa de cobertura en la ciudad de Baltimore.

 

Entonces, las jurisdicciones locales son importantes. Así que quiero asegurarme de que la gente lo esté siguiendo. Pero en general, si estás en un lugar donde ya no se recomiendan las mascarillas, creo que deberías sentirte libre de no usar tu mascarilla.

 

El último punto que es realmente importante en muchos estados, incluido Maryland, donde yo estoy, y de hecho, en la mayoría de los estados, es que los niveles de pruebas positivas para la COVID-19 son los más bajos desde el comienzo de la pandemia. Esta es una variable que cambia, ahora no solo me siento segura porque me han vacunado, sino porque hay muchas menos personas con las que entro en contacto dentro de esta área que han tenido COVID-19.

 

Tendremos que hacer un seguimiento de eso, tendremos otra ola en el otoño o en el invierno. Y eso también trae a colación circunstancias especiales como los viajes aéreos, que se realizan en lugares menos ventilados con personas de todas partes donde no podemos monitorear la tasa de positividad de COVID-19 local. Por eso, en esas situaciones, seguimos viendo que piden el uso de mascarillas, por ejemplo.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy útil, muy claro. Y creo que está planteando un punto interesante sobre la tasa general de vacunación. Creo que es bueno impulsar a la gente a ver qué tan efectiva es la vacuna. Pero también existe esta noción de la tasa general de vacunación en EE.UU. Y hemos escuchado este tipo de noción de inmunidad colectiva en torno al 70% al 75%. ¿Existe un riesgo general si no alcanzamos ese objetivo?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: ¿El objetivo de cobertura de vacunas?

 

Jean Setzfand: Sí, el objetivo de cobertura de vacunas. Sí.

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí. Sabes, es difícil de decir porque se trata de una pandemia. Entonces, no se trata solo del objetivo de cobertura de la vacuna, sino lo que está sucediendo a nuestro alrededor y en el resto del mundo. Entonces, este tema de la aparición de variantes, que los oyentes han mencionado, y del que tú has hablado, este virus cambia en entornos de propagación incontrolada, lo que generalmente significa entornos donde no tenemos suficientes vacunas.

 

Por eso, que salgamos de la pandemia dependerá no solo de nuestra propia cobertura de vacunas, sino del suministro de vacunas al resto del mundo. Para que podamos mantener ese virus bajo control, reducir la posibilidad de que surjan virus que luego podrían propagarse a EE.UU. y otros lugares. Mientras esto siga siendo una pandemia y haya transmisión de virus incontrolada en todas partes, es difícil establecer una cobertura de vacuna única o una estimación única que nos protegerá por completo.

 

Jean Setzfand: Sí, muy buen punto. Entonces, más que un problema de EE.UU., también es un problema global, además de observar las tasas de cobertura de EE.UU. Gracias.

 

Kate, voy a volver a ti, muchas personas tienen en su lista de cosas que hacer después de la pandemia, visitas a museos o atracciones culturales fuera de su comunidad. Y tal vez, como acabamos de hablar a nivel internacional, ¿qué tipo de recursos están disponibles para ayudar a las personas a comprender los requisitos o restricciones locales? ¿Y el personal del museo, por ejemplo, puede brindar una visión más completa de lo que se debe hacer cuando uno está de visita o dónde ir para obtener esa información?

 

Kate Haw: He notado, después de haber podido viajar un poco desde que me vacuné, que los museos han hecho un excelente trabajo al hacer que la información sobre lo que se requiere para visitar su institución esté de entrada en la página de inicio de su sitio web. Es muy claro, muy específico, lo que le permite a uno saber los pasos que debe seguir antes de su visita y lo que tendrá que hacer mientras esté allí.

 

No veo tanta información en los sitios web de los museos sobre las pautas locales de la ciudad o del estado para los viajeros. Y creo que eso se debe en parte a que están cambiando muy rápido. Así que creo que el mejor lugar para ir, sin importar a dónde viaje uno o lo que planee hacer, es el sitio web del Gobierno local para ver qué está sucediendo en ese lugar en ese momento.

 

Como dije, como todos sabemos, y estamos escuchando en las noticias, las restricciones se están levantando rápidamente. Por eso es difícil para los museos mantenerse al día con su información. Habiendo dicho eso, la mayoría de los museos también tendrán un número de teléfono al que se puede llamar, tenemos varios miembros del personal que atienden nuestra línea telefónica todos los días, y están ocupados todo el día respondiendo preguntas de los visitantes, y pueden proporcionar un poco de contexto.

 

Jean Setzfand: Eso es genial. Gracias. A modo de seguimiento de esto y de hecho una de las personas que llamaron anteriormente hizo una pregunta relacionada con esto, pero tengo curiosidad, y el trabajo que hago en AARP se centra mucho en la educación y la programación. Y hemos tenido que cambiar un poco nuestras actividades, alejándonos por completo de las actividades presenciales y acercándonos a las actividades virtuales.

 

Y hemos pensado mucho en este modo híbrido y en mantenerlo incluso cuando volvamos a la normalidad. Tengo mucha curiosidad por saber, nuevamente, sobre las diferentes formas en que está pensando en ello la Galería Nacional de Arte, y cómo otros museos están pensando en mezclar la forma en que involucran a la gente, tanto en persona como en línea. ¿Cuáles son algunos de los cambios que probablemente mantendrán?

 

Kate Haw: Sí. Bueno, este fue un experimento no planeado para todos nosotros, ¿no?

 

Jean Setzfand: Lo fue.

 

Kate Haw: Y hemos aprendido mucho sobre cosas que pensamos que podríamos cambiar y poner en línea, y realmente no funcionó. Pero hemos aprendido aún más sobre cosas que nunca pensamos que podríamos hacer virtualmente, que funcionaron muy bien. Y me encantaría dar solo un ejemplo de un programa que hemos tenido durante varios años llamado Just Us. Y este es un programa que hacemos para personas con pérdida de memoria y sus cuidadores.

 

Y este es un programa que conocemos porque nuestros visitantes nos han dicho que ha sido realmente significativo para las familias que viven con un ser querido con pérdida de memoria durante mucho tiempo. Pero lo que hemos estado escuchando, desde que pusimos este programa en línea durante la pandemia, fue lo importante que fue para las familias que realmente, logísticamente, es tan difícil llevar a su ser querido al museo para participar en el programa, y poder estar en sus propias casas sin tener que subirse a un automóvil y llegar al museo y tal vez necesiten una silla de ruedas y puede ser perturbador e inquietante para su ser querido con pérdida de memoria. Pueden sentarse en su casa y participar en el programa juntos, les brinda un momento de conexión.

 

Este es un programa en el que los participantes miran dos obras de arte en el transcurso de una hora y participan en conversaciones que realmente se basan en respuestas personales en el momento que no se basan en la memoria o el conocimiento previo. Y este es un programa, uno de varios programas, que definitivamente continuaremos en línea porque nos hemos dado cuenta de que podemos llegar a muchas más personas de una manera que les funciona mejor.

 

Jean Setzfand: Qué buena manera de conectarse. Eso es fabuloso. Entonces se llama Just Us. ¿Y la gente puede encontrarlo en su sitio web?

 

Kate Haw: Pueden encontrarlo en www.nga.gov.

 

Jean Setzfand: Buscando Just Us.

 

Kate Haw: Pueden buscar Just Us o simplemente hacer clic en la barra de menú y Educación.

 

Jean Setzfand: Fantástico. Muchas gracias, Kate. Muy bien...

 

Kate Haw: Perdón, una corrección. Hemos cambiado eso a Aprender, hagan clic en la barra de menú y Aprender.

 

Jean Setzfand: No hay problema. Entonces www.nga.gov y buscar la pestaña Aprender.

 

Kate Haw: Sí.

 

Jean Setzfand: Genial. Gracias por eso, Kate. Muy bien, volveremos a sus preguntas en breve. Y antes de hacerlo, quiero abordar un tema importante. Sabemos que algunos de ustedes todavía tienen dificultades para acceder a la vacuna debido a problemas de transporte o movilidad, y AARP quiere ayudar.

 

El equipo de apoyo de buscadores de vacunas de AARP está disponible para tratar de conectarlos con recursos comunitarios que pueden transportarlos a su cita de vacunación o ir a su hogar. Entonces, si estás escuchando hoy y no puedes recibir una vacuna debido a problemas de transporte o movilidad, presiona 1 para te agreguen a una lista y recibas una llamada de un miembro del personal de AARP que ayudará.

 

Nuevamente, si estás escuchando hoy y no puedes recibir una vacuna debido a problemas de transporte de movilidad, presiona 1 para que te agreguen a una lista para recibir una llamada telefónica. Cuando presiones 1, escucharás un breve mensaje y luego regresarás a la llamada.

 

Muy bien, ahora es el momento de abordar más preguntas con la Dra. Kathleen Neuzil y Kate Haw. Presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para conectarte con un miembro del personal de AARP. De acuerdo, Jesse, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea ahora?

 

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada de hoy será Olga de Connecticut.

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Olga. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta para nosotros?

 

Olga: Gracias por responder a mi pregunta. Han pasado casi cuatro meses desde mi segunda vacuna, la vacuna Pfizer. ¿He esperado lo suficiente en ese tiempo para hacer la cita con el dentista y también hacerme algunos análisis en los que podrán extraer mi sangre?

 

Jean Setzfand: Buena pregunta. Muchas gracias por eso, Olga. Dra. Neuzil, ¿es seguro que Olga realice algunas actividades necesarias después de cuatro meses de estar vacunada?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Claro. Olga, en primer lugar, gracias por recibir ambas dosis. Y nuevamente, solo para enfatizar, que realmente con las vacunas de ARNm, se necesitan dos dosis. Creemos que la inmunidad es realmente buena y muy alta unas dos semanas después de la segunda dosis. Así que a los cuatro meses deberías estar bien.

 

Debo comentar sobre el otro extremo de eso porque la gente está comenzando a preocuparse acerca de cuándo la eficacia podría comenzar a disminuir nuevamente. Y también tenemos muy buenas noticias en ese frente. Seguimos a los participantes de nuestros ensayos clínicos durante 8 o 10 meses y continuamos siguiéndolos y todavía se ve bien. Así que sí, a los cuatro meses deberías estar a salvo para que puedas ir y hacer lo que tengas que hacer.

 

Jean Setzfand: Buenas noticias. Muchas gracias por eso, Dra. Neuzil. De acuerdo, Jesse, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada será Linda en Pensilvania.

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Linda, ¿cuál es tu pregunta para nosotros?

 

Linda: Hola. Mi pregunta era, sigo escuchando sobre las variantes, la variante Delta. Y siempre dicen solo Pfizer, ya sabes, solo está cubierta por Pfizer, pero nunca mencionan sobre Moderna, ¿te da la misma cobertura que Pfizer?

 

Jean Setzfand: Buena pregunta, Linda.

 

Linda: Contra la variante.

 

Jean Setzfand: Sí, buena pregunta, Linda. Dra. Neuzil, creo que volveremos a hablar con usted sobre esta cuestión.

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí, estas llamadas y preguntas me mantienen alerta porque, Linda, has estado escuchando con mucha, mucha atención. La vacuna que salió primero, y por lo tanto de la que tenemos los mejores datos sobre la eficacia contra esa variante Delta es la vacuna Pfizer y, realmente bastante alta contra la enfermedad grave después de dos dosis. Todavía no tenemos el mismo tipo de datos para la vacuna Moderna.

 

Sin embargo, tenemos muy buenas respuestas inmunitarias contra las variantes, que se ven tan buenas como Pfizer. Así que estamos haciendo esa conexión, mientras esperamos el resto de los datos, de que Moderna funcionará tan bien como Pfizer, pero has estado escuchando y leyendo con mucha atención.

 

Jean Setzfand: Gracias por eso. De acuerdo, Jesse, ¿quién sigue en la línea telefónica?

 

Jesse Salinas: Sí, vamos a traer a Marshall de Maryland.

 

Jean Setzfand: Hola, Marshall, ¿cuál es tu pregunta para nosotros?

 

Marshall: Hola. Empezaré. Recibí dos inyecciones de Moderna, hace más dos meses. Tengo una pregunta de dos partes. La primera parte es viajar y la segunda el destino.

 

Jean Setzfand: Está bien.

 

Marshall: Acabamos de recibir una invitación para una boda en el Medio Oeste a mediados de agosto, en una zona muy rural de Kansas. Y me comuniqué con el departamento de salud de ese condado para averiguar cómo viene todo en este momento en Kansas. Y me han dicho que no tienen límite en la cantidad de invitados ni problemas con las mascarillas.

 

Y entonces su determinación es que nadie le cuenta a nadie sobre mascarillas o inyecciones. Y actualmente, la inoculación para personas mayores es de aproximadamente el 70% y todos los adultos alrededor del 35%. Y hablando con algunos de mis primos, la actitud en gran parte de esa parte rural del Medio Oeste es que no quieren recibir inyecciones y no quieren usar mascarillas.

 

Entonces, mis riesgos son, nuevamente, soy una persona mayor y tengo una enfermedad crónica. Mi primer riesgo sería el viaje en avión de ida y vuelta, lo que probablemente no sea tan malo, pero creo que el problema de mi destino es peor. Probablemente sea una gran boda, tal vez haya unas 100 personas. Y la última vez que tuvimos una boda fue el 17 de octubre, una gran boda. Y después de hablar con uno de mis tíos, dos semanas después de una boda, 50 personas se contagiaron de COVID-19 directamente de esa boda, 20 de ellos eran mis primos. No sé qué hacer, si ir a la boda.

 

Jean Setzfand: Sí, pregunta difícil, Marshall. Se la voy a pasar a la Dra. Neuzil, nuevamente, en términos de sopesar esta decisión y los riesgos asociados.

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí, y se trata de sopesar el riesgo individual. Estoy segura de que todas las personas que llaman pueden apreciar que realmente no puedo asesorar a las personas, solo quizás ayudar a enmarcar la decisión. Diré que antes de la vacunación, las bodas y las reuniones familiares eran los principales impulsores de la pandemia y el riesgo individual porque la gente estaba cumpliendo con las restricciones generales, pero, la familia fue una excepción durante un tiempo y la gente estaba dispuesta a hacer ese tipo de reuniones.

 

Así que no me sorprende del todo que su familia haya experimentado un brote en ese entorno. Nuevamente, el riesgo se reduce drásticamente porque has recibido dos dosis de la vacuna, se te pedirá que uses una mascarilla mientras vuelas. Y nuevamente, los aeropuertos y las aerolíneas realmente han hecho un buen trabajo al hacer cumplir ese uso de mascarillas.

 

Y luego, cuando llegues a destino, el riesgo para los no vacunados será mayor, pero mucho dependerá no solo de la cobertura en el área en la que te encuentras. Y si te sientes incómodo, diría que ciertamente usar una mascarilla, si vas a la tienda de comestibles en algún lugar públicamente, pero en la boda, dependerá más de cuántas personas en esa boda se hayan vacunado. ¿Es en el interior o el exterior? El exterior es menos riesgoso, por ejemplo. Entonces, nuevamente, el mayor factor determinante que ayudará a reducir el riesgo es que hayas recibido dos dosis de la vacuna.

 

Jean Setzfand: Genial. Gracias. Gracias por exponer eso también en el marco, Dra. Neuzil. Muy útil. De acuerdo, Jesse, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra siguiente pregunta es en realidad de Facebook. Y es de Christy Abraham, es abuela. Y su pregunta es: "si estás vacunado y quieres ir a visitar a gente más joven, en particular, a sus nietos que tienen cuatro y cinco años y no pueden vacunarse, ¿tiene que usar mascarilla?

 

Jean Setzfand: Buena pregunta. Dra. Neuzil, le paso de nuevo esta sobre los niños no vacunados, ¿qué hacer al respecto?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Claro. Los niños se han visto afectados por esta pandemia. Y ciertamente se han visto afectados socialmente y desde el punto de vista del desarrollo, su riesgo de enfermedad grave es considerablemente menor, no es cero, pero es considerablemente menor. Entonces, la recomendación general es que si has sido vacunado, no necesitas usar una mascarilla, la única excepción sería si su nieto tiene alguna enfermedad crónica que lo haría más susceptible a la COVID-19 o a una enfermedad grave por la COVID-19.

 

Jean Setzfand: Tiene sentido. Y sé que también ha habido noticias relacionadas con las variantes y los efectos en las personas más jóvenes a nivel internacional. ¿Qué piensa sobre eso?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Solo en términos de... A veces, es difícil distinguir el comportamiento de las personas más jóvenes frente al efecto del virus y la variante. Ciertamente vimos en EE.UU. personas más jóvenes que no se ajustan a las reglas, así como personas mayores que sí se ajustan a las reglas.

 

Ciertamente, nuevamente, estamos aprendiendo más sobre la variante Delta, y si puede ser más grave para todas las edades, algo de lo que estamos viendo también podría estar relacionado con el comportamiento.

 

Jean Setzfand: Tiene sentido. Muy bien, desafortunadamente no las liberaré todavía, en realidad voy a volver a algunas preguntas que hemos desarrollado de antemano. Y una en la que hemos estado pensando mucho es la noticia de que el director ejecutivo de Johnson & Johnson ha dicho públicamente que las personas pueden necesitar una dosis adicional de la vacuna contra la COVID-19 junto con una vacuna anual contra la gripe. ¿Cuál es su opinión al respecto?

 

Kathleen Neuzil: Sí, el tema de las dosis de refuerzo es ciertamente un tema candente en este momento. Y solo para recordarles a todos que la vacuna Johnson & Johnson es una vacuna de dosis única. Así es como se ha licenciado. Están haciendo un segundo estudio y espero que escuchemos los resultados pronto, sobre una versión de dos dosis de esa vacuna.

 

Entonces, puede ser una pregunta un poco diferente: si la Johnson & Johnson necesita un refuerzo, ¿verdad? Que sería una segunda dosis frente a Moderna y Pfizer que necesitarían una tercera dosis. En este momento, se está conversando, los estudios están en curso y los datos están empezando a llegar.

 

En este momento, científicamente no hay indicios de una necesidad a corto plazo de una dosis de refuerzo. Los datos de la respuesta inmune parecen duraderos, he hablado de datos de 8 a 10 meses. Hemos visto datos de eficacia de seis meses y más de Moderna y Pfizer que se ven muy, muy bien.

 

Así que no quiero asustar a la gente de que escuchar hablar de un refuerzo que significa que necesitamos un refuerzo. La razón por la que se habla de un refuerzo es porque, al final, este programa de vacunas contra la COVID-19 será el programa de vacunación más grande en la historia de Estados Unidos. Entonces, si vamos a pensar en un refuerzo logísticamente, tenemos que empezar a pensar en ello lo antes posible.

 

Pero por el momento, no hay ninguna indicación científica de que la eficacia está disminuyendo en términos de inmunidad. Es una conversación que da cuenta de la importante decisión y la enormidad de la logística, en caso de que finalmente decidiéramos que se necesita una dosis de refuerzo.

 

Jean Setzfand: Genial. Muchas gracias por eso, Dra. Neuzil. De acuerdo, Kate, vas a tener la última palabra aquí. ¿Cómo podría alguien que nunca se consideró artístico, explorar y expresarse ahora que todos hemos visto nuestras vidas bajo una luz diferente?

 

Kate Haw: Sí. Bueno, no estoy segura de que esto responda exactamente a tu pregunta, pero creo que las personas que no han sumergido el dedo en el agua de los museos de arte, tal vez no lo hayan hecho porque no sentían que los museos de arte fueran para ellos. Y la tendencia actual en los museos es reconocer que estamos aquí para todos.

 

No necesitas un doctorado para entrar por la puerta y mirar una obra de arte, y experimentarla de cualquier manera que sea significativa para ti. Y así, en todo el país, y realmente en todo el mundo, los museos ven las visitas a los museos como un momento para que los visitantes traigan su experiencia de vida y respondan a las obras de arte de manera significativa para ellos.

 

Y si quieres más, y quieres historia, orientación y contexto para lo que ves en las paredes, también nos complace darte eso, pero realmente queremos conversar con las personas que vienen a visitarnos. ¿Qué es lo que estás buscando? ¿Qué quieres ver? ¿Qué significa esto para ti?

 

Y quiero que todas las personas sepan que son bienvenidas. Así que esperamos verte pasar por nuestras puertas en el edificio este a partir de mañana y en el edificio oeste, incluso a partir de hoy. Y sé que hablo en nombre de mis colegas de todo el país cuando digo eso.

 

Jean Setzfand: Maravilloso, muchas gracias, Kate. Y personalmente voy a hacer una visita porque me muero por hacer una visita para realmente alimentar mi alma con arte...

 

Kate Haw: Sí. Y diré que al estar en las galerías dando la bienvenida al público durante las últimas semanas, ha sido muy gratificante escuchar el entusiasmo de la gente por regresar, ya sabes, hay personas que incluso están llorando, están tan felices de estar de regreso y ver algunas de sus antiguas obras de arte favoritas. Y por eso damos la bienvenida a todos a experimentar eso.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muchas gracias. Bueno, realmente quiero tomarme un tiempo para agradecer a nuestras dos panelistas expertas. Personalmente, he aprendido mucho y realmente apreciamos todas las respuestas a las preguntas que les planteamos hoy. Y, por supuesto, quiero agradecerles a todos ustedes, nuestros socios de AARP, voluntarios y oyentes por participar en esta discusión.

 

AARP es una organización no partidista sin fines de lucro con membresía, y hemos trabajado para promover la salud y el bienestar de los estadounidenses mayores durante más de 60 años. Ante 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 otros mientras se cuidan.

 

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 el 18 de junio. Eso es mañana. Y nuevamente, esa dirección web es aarp.org/coronavirus. Vayan allí.

 

Si su pregunta no fue respondida, encontrarán las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares. Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo hoy que los mantendrá a ustedes y a sus seres queridos saludables. Y pueden acompañarnos el 24 de junio a las 7 p.m. hora del este para un evento especial en vivo donde abordaremos el impacto de la COVID-19 en la comunidad LGBTQ. Esperamos que puedan unirse. Y gracias de nuevo. Que tengan un día maravilloso. Con esto concluye nuestra llamada.

 

 


Vaccines And Staying Safe During “Reopening”

June 17, at 1 p.m. ET

Listen to a replay of the live event above.

With mask mandates and restrictions in many states lifted, much of the country is returning to pre-COVID habits, including recreational, social, and family activities. And while more than 75% of the 65+ are fully vaccinated, many have questions around vaccine efficacy, reopening ‘norms,’ and how to stay safe and protected during this transition. This event addressed reopening concerns, vaccination progress and staying safe while resuming social activities.

The experts:

  • Kathleen Neuzil, M.D.
    Director, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health
    University of Maryland School of Medicine

  • Kate Haw
    Collections and Exhibitions Director
    National Gallery of Art

  • Nancy LeaMond
    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

  • September 9 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, Caring for Loved Ones & New Work Realities
  • August 26 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, New Work Realities & Managing Finances
  • August 12 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe in Changing Times
  • June 24 - The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era
  • 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