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AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

Experts answer your questions related to COVID-19

Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you’d like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. While COVID-19 continues to disrupt our daily lives, there is good news as the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline. In addition, the FDA approved booster shots to add protection for many older Americans, those with underlying medical conditions and frontline workers. And the FDA has authorized a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old. In light of these fast-moving developments, many older adults have questions about booster eligibility, timing and what it all means with cold and flu season underway and families preparing to gather for the holidays.

Today we’ll hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. We’ll also get an update on the Capitol Hill deal to reduce prescription drug prices, and we’ll hear about efforts to expand Medicare benefits as well. And our next program, on November 18th, will be joined by the surgeon general of the United States.

If you’ve participated in one of our Tele-Town Halls before, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask your questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone and you’ll be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

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

We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including national vaccine experts and a clinical testing expert as well. We’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jesse Salinas, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, or if you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, just drop your question in the comments section.

Now I’d like to welcome our guests: Rebecca Weintraub, M.D., is a physician and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Ariadne Labs and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Welcome to the program, Dr. Weintraub.

Rebecca Weintraub: Many thanks for having me.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thanks for being here. I’d also like to welcome Jennifer Goldman, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. She is a board-certified family physician, and she is the chief of primary care at Memorial Healthcare Systems in Florida. Welcome, Dr. Goldman.

Jennifer Goldman: Happy to be here.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thanks for being here. And finally, L.J. Tan is a master of science and Ph.D. He is the chief policy and partnerships officer at the Immunization Action Coalition. L.J. is also the cochair of the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Tan.

Litjen Tan: Oh, thank you for having me back. Appreciate it.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well let’s go ahead and get started with the discussion. Just a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube.

Dr. Weintraub, let’s get started with you. You know, it feels like we receive news and updated guidance for COVID-19 vaccines daily. It’s a lot to manage. So I’d like to review some of the latest changes, if you don’t mind. And let’s, let’s just start with the basics. Who is eligible for COVID-19 boosters?

Rebecca Weintraub: Many thanks. So let’s remember back, this only happened on Thursday, October 21st, that the CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, announced individuals who had received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series, those who are 65 years and older, those who are over 18 who live in a long-term care setting, those over 18 who have underlying medical conditions, and those over 18 who live or work in high-risk settings. In addition, guidance was given for the nearly 15 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot, and the recommendation there was a booster for those who are 18 and older and who are vaccinated two or more months from the first shot.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that information. When do we expect availability of the boosters to be expanded?

Rebecca Weintraub: So the booster is available at almost all the sites where individuals received their primary series. As a reminder, the Moderna dose is a smaller dose when it’s deemed the booster, and I think part of your question is when does eligibility expand to the general population? And we’ll be waiting to hear from the CDC when that will occur.

Bill Walsh: Right. That is what I meant to ask. It sounds like it’s just a constantly evolving situation. And just to clarify, the FDA has authorized boosters for all three major vaccines, right: the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Is that correct?

Rebecca Weintraub: That’s correct, exactly. It’s actually authorized what we call a mix-and-match booster shot strategy, so that it may, you may receive a booster that’s different from the one you initially received.

Bill Walsh: And I understand that they have cleared that as a policy going forward, that it’s okay to mix and match. Should consumers have any concerns about that or are there any particular benefits to mixing one with another?

Rebecca Weintraub: That’s a great question. So first, remember the committee here is following the science and the early studies have shown that the mix-and-match strategy, it’s not only safe and effective, but that mixing the vaccines also can sometimes— there’s some initial data — create a broader, more potent response than getting multiple doses of a single vaccine. And to note, it didn’t, the studies did not show a clear winner, so the idea here is you’ll be discussing this with a primary care provider, a trusted messenger, for example, but that we’re recommending that those who meet those eligibility, receive a booster shot because it will offer a stronger antibody response no matter what the combination.

Bill Walsh: Got it. Thanks for that. Let’s talk about children. This week U.S. health officials finalized approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for young kids ages 5 to 11. How does this vaccine differ from the one for kids ages 12 and older, and what should grandparents or parents know about vaccines for young children?

Rebecca Weintraub: That is a great question. So you’re absolutely right. So we have an EUA [emergency use authorization] for the Moderna vaccine for the adolescent group, for the Pfizer vaccine, and now we have the EUA for the Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. It’s a smaller dose, and what is happening as we speak is 25,000 sites are receiving, and many have received, the initial supply of the vaccine to begin its distribution in getting those shots in arms. The majority of the sites will be a pediatrician, a family medicine office where children already are engaging with their pediatrician, they’ve already discussed their routine vaccinations, and the hope is that children who may have missed a dose of their scheduled vaccines will also come, not only for the COVID-19 vaccine but to play catchup if there’s something missed, or a wellness visit missed. This is a significant workload for our pediatricians, and so just want to, and our family medicine docs. We just want to acknowledge their role right now as vaccine educators as helping us kind of bridge back to wellness for our children.

Bill Walsh: Right, I’m sure their phones are ringing off the hook. And you meant, you said EUA before. That was the emergency use authorization of these vaccines for young children by the FDA. I wonder if we’ve seen any side effects like we did with adults. Are they pretty similar?

Rebecca Weintraub: So what we know from the early data is there is a rare but significant side effect of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle. What all parents are in discussions now with their pediatricians and family medicine docs is the risk-benefit ratio. We know there’s a considerable risk, actually if you live in a low vaccination rate county that your child will not only get infected but actually could have other symptoms related to long haul COVID. So that calculation is being done and in consultation with folks’ pediatricians, but there’s a very strong statement coming from the American Pediatrics Association, from the American Family Medicine Association, that this vaccine is safe and effective, and the risks are minimal in comparison to the great benefits for children.

Bill Walsh:

OK, thanks so much for that, Dr. Weintraub. Dr. Tan, let’s turn to you. Why is it in this particular climate so important to have the traditional flu vaccine if you’re fully vaccinated for COVID and how effective is the flu vaccine this year?

Litjen Tan: Hey, Bill, thanks for that question. If I could just also quickly jump in on Dr. Weintraub’s answer there, too, I just wanted to— you know, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that I was a member of for several years just voted recently for a recommendation for those 5- to 11-year-olds, and I think one of the things that also is important for grandparents to be aware of is that that incidence of pericarditis or myocarditis which is an in—, which is a swelling of the heart muscle, appears to be milder and it appears to be in the younger male population, so generally, 12 and over. And in fact, that there was no signal detected at all [inaudible] in the studies with the children 5 to 11. But again, considering the fact that the studies were done in a smaller group of kids, and this is such a rare event, it’s what we call the study was not powered to examine that. But it appears that it’s much less of a risk in the 5- to 11-year-olds, just to put grandparents’ minds at ease on that recommendation for the 5- to 11-year-olds. So, sorry, Bill, to divert back to that a little bit, but I think that was a—

Bill Walsh: No worries. I mean it just underscores the importance of having that conversation with your pediatrician about your child, right.

Litjen Tan: Yes, definitely, definitely. And I think, and with regard to the flu, I think it’s important, I think because again we’re talking, just as you know, and I think many of your radio audience knows, we’re talking about two separate diseases here, right. Flu is totally independent from COVID, so even if you’re totally vaccinated for COVID, which I hope you all are, and I think it’s a great thing, and again, looking for your boosters now, I think that does not protect you from getting the flu. And as you know, flu season is on the way, and I think one of the things we want to keep in mind is that if you get, you don’t want to protect yourself from COVID and end up getting severe consequences from influenza, the flu. So extremely important to go ahead and get that flu vaccine and I think there’s a great opportunity here, Bill. I mean, you know, as we know about, almost 90 percent of our 65 and older population have already been vaccinated with COVID-19 and are going out right now, as you just talked about, looking for that booster. And so one of the great things is that now as they get that COVID booster, they can get the flu shot at the same time.

Bill Walsh: You anticipated my next question, which is whether you recommend people get the flu vaccine at the same time that they’re getting their COVID booster. Is there, is there no concern about any interactions between those two things?

Litjen Tan: Yeah, that’s a great question, Bill, and I strongly recommend getting both at the same time; the CDC strongly recommends it as well. And that’s a question that we’re getting a lot of. In fact, we’re hearing a lot of our providers are coming to us and asking, How would you answer that question? And so, absolutely, there is no increased reactivity. In other words, there’s no increased side effects, for lack of, for a simpler word, right, by getting both at the same time. You know, the side effect you’re going to feel is probably from the COVID booster. That’s the more active vaccine — again, using simpler words here — and so that’s the vaccine that’s probably going to give you the majority of that malaise, the side effect that we typically feel with the COVID, with the COVID vaccine. But there’s no pile-on effect, you know. So, absolutely, get both at the same.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Tan. Dr. Goldman, let me bring you in here. With seasonal allergies and return to cold and flu season, how do people distinguish COVID from the common cold and should people get tested for COVID right away if they’re feeling symptoms?

Jennifer Goldman: Absolutely. So it is the season for allergies in many parts of the country and the common cold as well. That seems to be going around locally where we are in Florida, as well as in many parts of the country, especially as the weather changes and people are inside more. And the symptoms can be similar, so with allergies, we do see a lot of itchy eyes and runny nose and sneezing; with the common cold, we get some of those same symptoms, as well as cough and a sore throat, and sometimes a fever and chills. The thing that can sometimes distinguish COVID-19 from the allergies and common cold is that people can get a rapid loss of taste or smell and sometimes some difficulty breathing, which is of course the most dangerous symptom of COVID-19. The problem is that there’s so much overlap and that not everybody who gets COVID-19 will have a loss of taste or smell, and not everybody will have difficulty breathing.

And so what I do suggest is that number 1, have that relationship with a primary care provider. That’s probably the most important thing, so that you can have someone to call if you’re having these symptoms and they can really recommend what you do. But I do recommend that people get tested pretty early on in their symptoms, especially if they’re going to be in contact with others, because you just don’t know if you do have COVID, if you’re, if you’re going to be in contact with someone else, you know, you could absolutely spread it to them and you just don’t know what kind of underlying health conditions they may have. And so, real important to have that primary care provider that you can trust, that you can go and talk to or call on the phone, do a telehealth visit with, so that they can provide you with the personalized advice that you need.

Bill Walsh: Okay, Dr. Goldman, thanks so much for that. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad. And we’re going to get to those live questions shortly, but before we do, I wanted to bring in Nancy LeaMond, the executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer here at AARP. Welcome, Nancy.

Nancy LeaMond: Hi, Bill, delighted to be here. Thanks.

Bill Walsh: All right, delighted to have you. It’s a busy time. You know, in addition to sharing the most current coronavirus information, we’d like to take a few minutes to update our listeners on timely issues facing Congress in a segment we call Fighting for You. This week is an important one with a lot happening on Capitol Hill that’s going to affect older Americans. Nancy, what can you tell us?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, if you watch the news, you may have heard that last week when the administration first announced a framework for their budget bill, they left out any proposal to address high prescription drug prices. This was a shocking development to us since poll after poll showed that Americans over the age of 50, and really Americans of all ages, overwhelmingly support lowering prescription drug prices.

Bill Walsh: So what did AARP do about it?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, as you know, Bill, I’m a huge baseball fan. So we follow the wisdom of Yogi Berra, who once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” We immediately said we were outraged, which is not a term we use lightly at AARP. And we sent out the alarm to our members. In just the last week, AARP activists sent 300,000 emails and made over 9,000 phone calls to Capitol Hill demanding that Congress make good on its promise to lower drug prices, and I can tell you, our voices were heard loud and clear, both here in Washington and back home in member states and districts. With that big push from AARP members across the country, Congress reached a deal this week to include drug prices in the bill.

Bill Walsh: All right, well can you tell us a little bit about the deal on drug pricing?

Nancy LeaMond: Sure, the agreement includes all three of AARP’s priorities. First, Medicare will be able to negotiate prices for a subset of expensive drugs. Second, drug companies will be penalized if they increase their prices higher than inflation. And third, out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries will be capped at $2,000 per year. But remember, there’s still a long way to go to get this signed into law and Big Pharma isn’t happy. So AARP will stay in the fight until it gets to the president’s desk.

Bill Walsh: Okay. So does this legislation have other provisions that would benefit older, older Americans?

Nancy LeaMond: Yes. The bill includes a number of provisions to expand health coverage and lower the cost of insurance under the Affordable Care Act. It adds a new hearing benefit to Medicare, and we’re particularly pleased that there’s a major investment in home- and community-based services that will help folks stay in their homes as they age.

Bill Walsh: Well, those are significant provisions. Are there other things that we’re fighting for?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, in addition to covering hearing aids, we’re asking Congress to include vision and dental benefits in Medicare. It’s time for Medicare to cover the whole person, as we say, from head to toe; and we support paid leave to help working family caregivers. These are both really uphill battles, but AARP will keep fighting for these needs and benefits as well.

Bill Walsh: Well, when we saw just in the past few days, paid leave was tucked back into the legislation. So we’ll have to see how that develops. Nancy, any closing thoughts.

Nancy LeaMond: Well, thanks again, Bill, for having me and thank you to everybody who’s been willing to help us. One of the best things about our democracy is that we all have a voice, and when we are loud enough on an issue, like we were on prescription drugs, we can really make a difference. There are a lot of steps in this process, so we need to stay vigilant, and we’ll be asking AARP members to take action along the way. The House is going to vote first, maybe even as early as tonight. And then the Senate will take up its version of the bill. The differences will need to be reconciled and passed again before anything goes to the president to be signed into law. So we have, we have a distance to travel on this.

Bill Walsh: All right, much left to be done. Thank you, Nancy, so much for that update. We really appreciate it.

Nancy LeaMond: Thank you.

Bill Walsh: All right. It’s now time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, Dr. Jennifer Goldman and Dr. L.J. Tan. As a reminder, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question live. And if you’d like to listen in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

Bill Walsh: All right, and now I’d like to bring in my AARP colleague Jesse Salinas to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jesse.

Jesse Salinas: I’m glad to be here, Bill.

Bill Walsh: All right, Jesse. Who’s our first caller?

Jesse Salinas: First caller today is going to be Linda from Virginia.

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

Linda: Yes, I wanted to ask about the vaccine for the younger kids, the kids from 5 to 11 and 12 to 18, because I’ve got one of each. And we are reluctant give them the COVID shot, period, because they haven’t shown us any way that once they be affected adversely by these shots, how can they be fixed or treated to be back to a normal conditions? How well, how, how much risk are we taking to give these shots to babies or small kids that, I mean, it’s very risky isn’t it?

Bill Walsh: You know, yeah, I’ve heard that question a lot myself, and I bet it’s on a lot of parents’ minds. Dr. Weintraub, I wonder how you’d respond to Linda and other folks who have similar questions about the safety and long-term effects of vaccines for children.

Rebecca Weintraub: Yes. I might actually defer to Dr. Tan on this one.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Dr. Tan, do you want to take that question?

Litjen Tan: Absolutely, I can take this question. I think, you know, I will just say that the data that is in, the 5 to 11-year-olds — and remember the vaccine’s only authorized down to 5 years of age — has shown that this vaccine is not only incredibly safe in that population, this vaccine is also incredibly effective in that population. And I think it’s not just the experience that we’ve had with the 5- to 11-year-olds. Clearly that is a study that we have done with that age group, but I also want to remind all of us that hundreds and hundreds of millions of doses of this COVID-19 vaccine have been given across the country. It is probably the most studied vaccine in the world with regards to vaccine safety. I’m not saying that the others aren’t well studied, but this one has in particular, been studied a lot. And we know a lot about the safety of this vaccine. And I personally have three kids and all three of my kids are vaccinated. So, you know, I think I lead with example. I hope that helps your caller Linda. Thank you.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, and Dr. Goldman, I wonder if you wanted to get in on this as well as a primary care physician. You must be hearing some of these same concerns.

Jennifer Goldman: Absolutely we are. And I think for families like Linda’s, it’s so important to have that trusted primary care provider that she and her family would go and visit and for the children to go and visit, to make sure that they can have this information, you know, personalized for their family. But again, the side effects of COVID-19, the actual virus COVID-19, are extremely serious and have been very serious for young children, including inflammatory disease processes that have put children in the hospital across the country and around the world. And so really what we see when it comes to vaccination is prevention. It’s a way to give your body a little bit of information about the virus before actually getting sick, so that your body can build up its immune system and really prevent you from getting seriously ill. The side effects, as Dr. Tan and Dr. Weintraub mentioned, are extremely rare and very low for the COVID-19 vaccine. And so it’s really important to weigh the risks versus the benefits as you would with any other vaccines for young children. And this is really why we all strongly endorse the vaccines for kids. It’s the best way to keep you and your family safe over the holiday season and in the long run.

Bill Walsh: And unlike many other vaccines, this particular one does not have live virus in it. Is that correct?

Jennifer Goldman: That’s correct. This is not a live virus vaccine. This is really just information, messenger RNA information from the virus itself. And it gives your body really just the ability to create those all-important antibodies to fight against COVID-19 so that you and your family don’t get sick.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Thanks to all our experts for weighing in on that. Jesse, let’s take another question.

Jesse Salinas: Yes, our next call is going to be from Hattie in California.

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

Hattie: Thank you for taking my call. My question is, since I’m 71 years old and I’ve been fully vaccinated with the shingles, my flu shot, my pneumonia shot and a booster of the COVID-19 with the Pfizer, when will we be able to take off these masks and expose ourselves even to those who have not been vaccinated fully?

Bill Walsh: Hmm, that’s an interesting question. Dr. Weintraub, do you want to weigh in on that? Sounds like Hattie’s gotten all the vaccinations she should be. When can she take off her mask and get back to life as normal?

Rebecca Weintraub: Well, first, I mean, congratulations to you, and you’re such an example of the work it takes to manage your health and wellness at a time like this. So thank you for getting all those vaccines to both protect yourself and your decreasing transmission to those that you love and your greater community. So, you know, the CDC continues to recommend that those, including children 2 years and up, wear masks, for example, if you’re going to be with many guests in a setting and guests who may be at increased risk of a serious disease, a weakened immune system, or unvaccinated.

And I’m wondering if you’re thinking about planning for Thanksgiving. There’s many questions about that where yes, we are, you know, there’s a recommendation that we plan for smaller groups this year. Thank you for getting boosted. We’re also recommending folks, if they can, to buy rapid tests. They’re $24 a pack, but we know this could possibly prevent a COVID outbreak for your family. Calling your relatives and encouraging them to get vaccinated and, it’s possible, if you cannot have an outdoor gathering and you’re having an indoor gathering, to open the windows and also possible, to buy a filter. They’re called a [high] efficiency particulate air filter, HEPA filter, which reduces the amount of airborne virus that’s in circulation. So, thank you for all that you’re doing, and we’ll ask you to keep staying quite patient until we have a greater percentage of the population vaccinated.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Patience and prevention. It seems to be the story of our lives these days, right. All right, Jesse, let’s take another caller.

Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be Jane in California.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Jane, welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

Jane: Yes, I was, I’m wondering about an over-75 person, similar to the previous caller, with the holidays and people coming in. I have, where I’m fully vaccinated and relatives from out of town are fully vaccinated, but they’re going to be coming and staying in my home. I haven’t had contact with them, direct contact, and so I’m wondering since we’re all fully vaccinated is there any specific precautions we should take in getting together? We’ll be going out to dinner and being in my home and be abiding by all the requirements of wearing masks where required, and I probably will wear a mask most of the time when we’re out. But having people, new people, incorporated into my family bubble, I’m not quite sure how to do that. And I’m sure, and especially when they’ll be staying overnight, staying for a couple weeks, if there’s any special things we should be doing?

Bill Walsh: Yeah, well, thanks for that Jane. I think that’s a question on a lot of people’s minds. And Dr. Weintraub, you had given our previous caller some tips. Are there any additional words of advice that you’d give Jane or others?

Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, well first, Jane, thank you so much for planning this. This is, you know, it’s a significant responsibility when you’re bringing two pods together. And so one recommendation that continues today is to purchase a rapid test, so to have that pack of rapid tests at your disposal, and rapid test your guests before they enter your home, just about 15 minutes before. Think about buying the HEPA filter if you have those types of resources, especially in those early days of not knowing, and also to be checking that they are boosted as well as their relatives. So thank you for taking these precautions. We know this is, you know, how people are used to celebrating the holidays. We are recommending that people in a sense, if they’re going to be dining with others, still consider to have smaller groups of people together. As we know, unfortunately, breakthrough infections are happening even with those who’ve been fully vaccinated.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Weintraub. Jesse, let’s take another call.

Jesse Salinas: Our next call is going to be from Facebook, and this is from Kathleen in Ohio, and she keeps asking, “I keep hearing about deaths from the vaccine themselves. How many vaccine deaths have there actually been?”

Bill Walsh: Hmm. Dr. Goldman, do you want to answer that? Maybe Dr. Tan as well?

Jennifer Goldman: So it’s a great question. There, again, I, in terms of adverse reactions from the COVID vaccine, they are extremely, extremely rare. Some of those side effects from any vaccine can be anaphylaxis or an acute reaction or severe allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine. There are some, some rare blood disorders that can occur, blood clotting or low platelets that can occur. And then, you know, extremely, extremely rare deaths as a result or at least among people who received a COVID vaccine. In fact, the reports of death among people who received a COVID vaccine is only 0.0022 percent. And so that is extremely, extremely low. There has been, you know, more than, over 400 million doses of the COVID vaccine administered in the United States, and there’s been, you know, reports of just, again, 0.0022 percent of people who received a COVID vaccine actually dying, you know, potentially as a result of some allergic reaction or response to that. And so, I hope that that answers the caller’s question.

The reports of adverse reactions following the vaccination are really rare. And one of the things that’s wonderful about the vaccination program is that the vaccine adverse events reporting system, or VAERS, is a program where anyone can report adverse events at any time. And, you know, the CDC looks into, and the FDA looks into every single one of these reports, and that’s how we know that there is such a low percentage of people who are having a problem from this vaccine. And if you compare that to the, you know, the number of deaths from COVID-19 itself in the United States and around the world, there really is no comparison. And I think that the safety of the vaccine speaks for itself.

Bill Walsh: We just passed another grim milestone, of 750,000 deaths in this country. So thank you for that, Dr. Goldman. Jesse, let’s take another call.

Jesse Salinas: Yeah. This comes from Katherine in Georgia, and she says, “I suffer from severe allergies. So I only got the first shot. What advice do you have for somebody who’s only taken their first dose of the vaccine and is worried about taking their second?”

Bill Walsh: Dr. Tan, do you want to handle that one?

Litjen Tan: I sure can. So again, you know, we need to know if, when she says severe allergies and she’s only gotten the first shot, did she have an allergic reaction to that first shot, or does she in general have severe allergies? Because if she has severe allergies but she did not have an allergic reaction to that first shot, she should go get the second. If she had an allergic reaction to that first shot, then she should go talk to her health care provider. She’s probably not going to be able to receive that second shot, but I will still urge, again, as Dr. Goldman said, talk to that trusted primary care physician who can guide the person, guide her on, Kathleen, I believe, on her, on whether she should get that second shot. I also would like to defer to some of the clinicians here as well.

Bill Walsh: Right, Dr. Goldman and Dr. Weintraub, did you have anything you wanted to add to that?

Jennifer Goldman: Sure, I agree completely with Dr. Tan in that this is a personalized health concern and something that you should, Kathleen should, Katherine should really speak with her primary care provider about. I’ll just make a comment about, you know, cross-reactivity of allergies and for people who are allergic to foods or even other medications, or sometimes even for other vaccinations, that there really is not a high risk of crossover to have allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. You really have to have had an allergic reaction to the component of the COVID-19 vaccine. But again, for all of that personalized information, I strongly suggest that you discuss with your primary care provider. And then for those who have only had the first out of two shots for COVID-19, they’re, they are at increased risk of getting sick. So you’re not considered fully protected, and so, again, speak with your primary care provider about the possibility of you getting that second vaccine.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that. And thank you for all your questions. We’re going to take more questions from you shortly and remember, if you would like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. And if you’d like to listen to this program in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.]

Bill Walsh: Okay, now let’s get back to our experts. Dr. Goldman, let’s turn to you again. You know misinformation has provided a real obstacle during the pandemic. The ease and speed in which false information is shared has made it hard to tamp it down and figure out what’s right and what’s wrong. How do you respond to suggestions of natural immunity, imbedded microchips, or arguments the vaccines are untested?

Jennifer Goldman: Yeah, and we do hear these questions all the time from our patients, from our community, and that’s why, again, that important source, that trusted source of information being the primary care provider is so important here. When it comes to natural immunity, in fact, we do have more data on this, and very, very recently. It was just published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly that those who have had an infection, a COVID-19 virus infection, and had not become, have not gotten the vaccine, were actually five times more likely to get COVID again compared to those who had the virus and then ended up getting the vaccine.

And so natural immunity just does not give the same level of protection, or the long-lasting protection as does vaccination. And so that’s really something that I strongly encourage anybody who has had COVID-19, and who hopefully recovered well from COVID-19, to really go and get that vaccine. You can get the vaccine as quickly as 10 days after your infection, unless you received monoclonal antibodies or other medications to treat COVID-19 acutely, then you would have to wait 90 days after your infection.

Regarding the question about embedded microchips, there is absolutely no embedded microchips or metal for that matter at all in COVID-19 vaccines. And then with regard to the arguments that vaccines are untested, you know, I certainly understand the concern. We are in the middle of a global pandemic that came up extremely quickly, as pandemics will do, and of course, the scientists and researchers involved in really creating this vaccine did not have a whole lot of time to do it because, again, of how dangerous this pandemic has become and how many people have died. That being said, though, the research on mRNA for vaccination purposes and other purposes has been around for more than 10 years, and these vaccines went through the same type of rigorous trials as do other vaccines. And so really the argument that these vaccines are untested is just not true. And again, so important with these questions and many more questions that arise from what everyone is hearing, either on social media or on news stations, et cetera, to really have that trusted source of information be the primary care provider. I can’t really emphasize enough how important that trusting, long-term relationship is for you to really get the answers to these questions and more.

Bill Walsh: Okay, Dr. Goldman. Thanks for the very clear answer, we really appreciate it. As a reminder to our listeners, on our next program, November 18th at 1 p.m., we’ll have as our guest the U.S. surgeon general, Vivek H. Murthy, joining us and taking your questions. So be sure to tune in on November 18th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

Let’s turn back to you, Dr. Tan. You know it’s been said that at some point we’ll have an annual vaccine for COVID-19 just as we have one for the flu. Do you share that view and how do you see that working?

Litjen Tan: Oh, thanks, Bill. That’s a great question, and it’s a hard one because I don’t think we have that crystal ball just yet. I think, you know, there are obviously some things that we’re looking for in terms of data in order to decide whether or not we’re going to have to revaccinate every year for COVID-19. Some of the things that we’re looking at, for example, is how long does immunity last after this third booster, right? Remember, we just started the boosting process, and we don’t know how long that immunity lasts. So that’s one thing. So that will determine whether or not we have to come back every year.

Another thing will be, does this virus continue to evolve? And this is the reason why we keep talking about how important it is for people to get vaccinated because this virus, and like any virus, is dependent on the host, which is us, in order to reproduce. And it’s only when they reproduce that they can generate the mutations that allow them to evolve past us, right, to evolve beyond our immune system. And so the more we get people vaccinated, the less chances we give to this virus to evolve. Simple as that. And so we will have to look and see, you know, how does this virus continue to evolve? And there are new variants that pop up — we kind of talked a little bit about that earlier— that will potentially require revaccination. So that’s the other thing we’re looking at, right?

And so I think then the final thing also is that some people will say, you know, what about if you’re fully vaccinated but you don’t spread the disease. In other words, you’re not a, you don’t have the ability to be reinfected or you don’t have the ability to, even though you get reinfected, you don’t have the ability to be contagious. That’s another factor that people will start looking at to decide whether or not revaccination or an annual vaccination is required. But I think if— so again, I think it’s a crystal ball question, and I don’t have the perfect answer. I just gave you some factors of what we’re all looking into right now, and we’ll have that data as we go forward. I think, it’s important to remember COVID-19 is still a very new disease, too. Then the other thing also, if we do go that way, I think it will be one of those vaccines that we will, we will have recommendations and whether or not it’s an annual vaccine or every two years, whatever that happens to be, and then again, it falls upon our wonderful primary care system — our stressed but wonderful primary care system — to help us implement that.

Bill Walsh: Okay, and you know, Dr. Tan and Dr. Goldman,  we heard an earlier question from one of our listeners on allergies. I wonder if we have clear guidance on allergy-related complications for the traditional flu vaccine, the COVID vaccines, the COVID booster shots. And are there any known allergies where someone should decline a vaccine, or just consult with their personal physician? What’s your advice there, Dr. Tan, and then maybe Dr. Goldman?

Litjen Tan: So, let’s start with the flu. I think that’s the one that people have talked about a lot, right? And so I think that there’s a lot of understanding now about flu vaccine, and the big one’s about egg allergies, and in fact, now egg allergy is not considered a, what we call a contraindication: That means you should not get the flu vaccine. In fact, they are now recommending that only if you’ve had a severe egg allergy, you should then talk to your physician because it’s likely you can still get the flu vaccine but in those circumstances, we would obviously want you to get that vaccine under the supervision of a clinician. So right now, the only people who should not get flu vaccine are: any kid that’s younger than 6 months, because that’s too little, too young; if you have a known, life-threatening allergy to an ingredient in flu vaccines other than eggs, right; and then the other one is if you’ve had a previous severe reaction to a dose of flu vaccine, you should go talk to your physician. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the next dose, the next season’s vaccine, but you should at least talk to someone about it first. So, the flu vaccine’s incredibly safe. There’s a lot of data regarding allergy. And then I’m going to, you know, share some space here with Dr. Goldman, if you wanted to talk a little bit about allergies and in the COVID-19 vaccine, obviously, there’s a potential allergy related to PEG and polysorbate.

Bill Walsh: Dr. Goldman?

Jennifer Goldman: Absolutely. So with regard to allergies to the COVID-19 vaccine and those absolute contraindications, meaning specific known allergies where someone should actually decline the vaccine or at least talk with their personal physician about it, the first one would be polyethylene glycol or PEG, and that’s found in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. So if you or someone you know is allergic to polyethylene glycol and has had a severe anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction to that, then they should not take the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, they should talk to their physician about whether or not they can take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because there is no polyethylene glycol in J&J.

And then with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for those who are allergic to polysorbate, which is again in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, then they should not take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; however, there is no polysorbate in Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines. And so, again, if you or someone you know have severe allergies to a vaccine, specifically a COVID vaccine, you should talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to receive another shot or a different shot. And, again, somebody who knows your long-term history and your reactions to other medications or foods or whatever kind of allergies you may have, but again, I will emphasize that besides those two specific allergies to the polyethylene glycol in Pfizer and Moderna, and polysorbate in J&J there is, there’s no evidence that those who have severe allergies to foods, or to other medications would have a problem with taking a COVID-19 vaccine. But again, everyone should consult their personal primary care physician on that matter.

Bill Walsh: And as I understand it, after they’ve been administered the vaccine, there’s a waiting period to see whether there is an allergic reaction. Is that right?

Jennifer Goldman: That’s right, Bill, and there’s a 15-minute waiting period, which is standard after the administration of the vaccine. But for those who had a history of allergic reactions or who have other chronic medical conditions that they would be deemed higher risk after a vaccination, then we actually watch them for 30 minutes afterwards.

Bill Walsh: Got it. Okay. Thank you very much for that. Now it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, Dr. Jennifer Goldman and Dr. L.J. Tan. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to ask your question live. Jesse, who do we have next on the line?

Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be from Cheryl in California.

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

Cheryl: Hi, yes. Hi, I’m sorry.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead.

Cheryl: Yes, hi, I’m Cheryl. My question, thank you for this information. I am 58 and immunocompromised, and I had COVID last year and I recovered fine. It wasn’t a severe, severe case. And I’m also fully vaccinated since May of this year. And so my question is, since I may have built up some immunities from having had it, and that I’m also fully vaccinated, I don’t know that I really need the booster or how would you respond, advise me about whether I should still get the booster?

Bill Walsh: That’s a great question, Cheryl. Let’s ask Dr. Weintraub about that. Dr. Weintraub?

Rebecca Weintraub: Yeah, so first, Cheryl, thank you for doing all that you’ve done to keep yourself safe in the midst of the pandemic, and we know for those who are immunocompromised, it’s been harder on a daily basis to manage your risks. And first we, you know, we do first ask that you consult with your provider, and we’ve spoken many times here about your trusted messenger. We know everyone may not have access to primary care providers, so let us know if we can help if you don’t have one. And I think that consultation’s quite essential. But the data is quite clear that the, especially for those who are immunocompromised, receiving that third dose will add to your protection and decrease your risk. And once again, we’re still in the midst of the delta variant, which we know is transmitting faster and more broadly. So I recommend going to your provider but looks like you’d be a great candidate for a third dose.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that, Dr. Weintraub. Jesse, who do we have next?

Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be Teresa from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Theresa. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question. Hey, Teresa, go ahead with your question. Okay. It looks like we may have lost her.

Teresa: Hello?

Bill Walsh: Oh, hi, Teresa. Go ahead with your question.

Teresa: Yes, my question was I’m over 65 and planning to get a booster, but I’m wondering what’s the, why is the Moderna booster less potent, I guess, than the Pfizer?

Bill Walsh: Hmm. Dr. Weintraub, you kind of touched on the effectiveness of various boosters before. Do you want to take a stab at this one as well?

Rebecca Weintraub: Sure. I apologize, I don’t know what information source you’re speaking to, but we absolutely recommend if you can access a booster to get it, and there is not clear data that one booster is necessarily stronger than the other. But if you began getting your mRNA boosters, we obviously recommend if you did not receive a reaction to the Pfizer and, you’ve in a sense built that sense of momentum and you conveniently get a third dose of Pfizer, some folks are going in that direction, some folks are saying this mix and match, that this is a time to then if you started with Pfizer to then get a Moderna, so there is not necessarily clear data, but the data is clearer that a booster will help continue your protection and decrease your risk.

Bill Walsh: Okay. And just a follow-up to that, you know, early on there were shortages of the vaccine, so folks didn’t really have that much of a choice. Generally speaking, will people have a choice about which booster they’d like to take?

Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, that’s a great question. So the team at vaccinefinder.org, which became vaccines.gov, you can go on that site and look at every active vaccination site in the United States of America and see if they have both Pfizer or Moderna, or J&J for example, in stock that day. So you actually can verify if you and your provider have, for example, a preference within your area, that that will be available. That information is available to you on vaccines.gov.

Bill Walsh: Vaccines.gov. Thanks very much, and Dr. Tan, did you want to say something about that as well?

Litjen Tan: Oh, yeah, I was just going to say if the question was also about the fact that the Moderna booster is recommended at half the dose of the original primary series, if that’s what the question is, the reason is because you know as we learn more about the vaccine, the company has realized that 50, halving the dose was more than enough to provide the response that was needed in the booster. And that was the reason why they halved the dose.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that clarification. Let’s go back to the lines. Jesse, who do we have up next?

Jesse Salinas: We’re going to bring on Paul from Vermont.

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

Paul: Yes, hi. I have a question about if I catch COVID-19, and I’m either pretty, pretty sick at home, or I’m admitted to the hospital, I’m wondering, there’s been a lot of talk about different therapies available over the past several months. Which one should I ask for? Some of them it’s important to give them sooner rather than later. Which one should I ask for, and does this matter if I’m vaccinated or not already?

Bill Walsh: Yeah, that’s a great question, Paul. And there have been some real big developments in therapies recently. Dr. Goldman, do you want to address that?

Jennifer Goldman: Sure, thank you for the question, Paul. You know, the most important thing is actually having access to monoclonal antibody treatment if you do get COVID-19. And again, monoclonal antibody treatment is administered to prevent you actually from becoming hospitalized or getting sick enough to be hospitalized, and it works very well. And we’ve seen that access to monoclonal antibodies have been expanding around the country. And so I would definitely recommend that. Again, I, as a primary care doctor, I always recommend that in every specific case that you, as soon as you know if you are infected with COVID-19, that you call, you reach out to your primary care provider. You can have a telehealth visit with many providers, you know, around the country. Telehealth has become rapidly available during the pandemic and that’s a great way for your provider to guide you to the best resources.

Now, if you do end up sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, there are a number of different therapies that have been used for COVID-19 but I don’t recommend that you ask for a specific one, and that’s because with your specific conditions, you know, I recommend that it’s a shared decision-making with your providers, with the physicians there at the hospital, if the situation merits that. But what I would say first is again, if you haven’t been vaccinated, please consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19 so that you can prevent that severe infection in the first place. The second thing is, if you do get infected call your primary care provider and look for places where you can get a monoclonal antibody shot or infusion if your condition merits that. And then the third thing is, you know, if you are sick enough to have to go to the hospital, make sure that you go. This is not something that you can wait out at home, especially if your oxygen level drops or if you’re having trouble breathing. And when you do go to the hospital, make sure you consult with the doctors there about the best recommendations for you.

Bill Walsh: Okay, Dr. Goldman, thanks very much for that. Jesse, let’s take another call.

Jesse Salinas: Our next call, Bill, is going to be from Donald in Colorado.

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

Donald: Yes, I’m 89 years old; I had Guillain-Barré; I was able to take two Moderna shots with no problems, but I am concerned about the booster.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Dr. Weintraub, do you want to try and answer that question?

Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, sure. Well first, you know, thank you. I’m glad you are safe and well at home right now. And, you know, the good news is that we are not seeing any accumulation or different side effects from the primary series versus boosters. So once again, we’re always recommending that you reach out to your primary care provider here for counsel, as someone who knows you well and knows you longitudinally, but the data seems significant that you’re well-positioned if you receive the third dose that you’d have a similar side effect profile if you remember from your first or second dose. And, in someone in your situation, considering your age and your comorbidities, having a booster will be protective for you to ensure that you don’t get infected and also decrease your risk of becoming infectious for your family and community at large. So we very much encourage you to get a booster.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that. Let’s take another question. Jesse?

Jesse Salinas: Our next question is going to be from Donna in Michigan.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Donna. Welcome to our program. Hey, Donna, go ahead with your question.

Donna: Okay. I had COVID last November. Can I get it again? I’ve had my shots. I had my booster. I got everything. Can I get it again?

Bill Walsh: Oh that’s a fair question. Dr. Tan, do you want to address that?

Litjen Tan: Yeah, I will address that. You know, this is one of the reasons why the CDC is still recommending masking, even for those who are fully vaccinated. And the reason is because with this very contagious delta strain, there is data that you can indeed still get it again. And I think this is one of our reasons why we’re asking, we’re reminding everybody to stay masked, even if you’re fully vaccinated, especially if you’re indoors. So I wish it were, I wish the news were better, but I will continue to monitor after the booster. The booster might give us some good news there; some data coming out of Israel has already suggested that having that third dose, that booster, is reducing the so-called breakthrough infection. But it’s still very early.

Bill Walsh: Is it fair to say though, Dr. Tan, that if Donna were to get COVID again, that it’s likely to be less severe than it was in the absence of a vaccine or a booster?

Litjen Tan: Absolutely. Yes, definitely, and I think Dr. Goldman’s going to jump in on that.

Bill Walsh: Dr. Goldman? Dr. Weintraub?

Rebecca Weintraub: Actually, that’s exactly right.

Litjen Tan: Oh, Dr. Weintraub, sorry. Go ahead.

Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, just, let’s just share that the data is clear. Those who have been fully vaccinated and received the booster have a shorter infectious period. That means even if you get infected with a breakthrough infection, you are infection, infected for less time, and you actually have a decreased viral load. Literally what’s in the virus that’s in your nose. So that is all good news. It reminds that the booster’s protecting you and your loved ones in that period if a breakthrough infection did occur.

Bill Walsh: Thank you very much for that. I appreciate both of both of you. This has been a really informative discussion and thanks to all of our experts for answering our questions. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today.

AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we’re providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others, while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow, November 5th. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and 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 can help keep you and your loved ones healthy.

And do not forget to join us for our next program November 18th at 1 p.m. for a special live event where we’ll be joined by the surgeon general of the United States. As a reminder that dial-in phone number for that event is 855-274-9507; 855-274-9507. We hope you will join us then. The surgeon general will be taking calls from us, but more importantly, taking calls from you all and answering them on the program. We hope you can join us. Thank you very much for joining us today. This concludes our call.

[00:00:00] Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you’d like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:00:21] [Repeated in Spanish.]

[00:00:21] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. While COVID-19 continues to disrupt our daily lives, there is good news as the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline. In addition, the FDA approved booster shots to add protection for many older Americans, those with underlying medical conditions and frontline workers. And the FDA has authorized a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old. In light of these fast-moving developments, many older adults have questions about booster eligibility, timing and what it all means with cold and flu season underway and families preparing to gather for the holidays.

[00:01:20] Today we’ll hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. We’ll also get an update on the Capitol Hill deal to reduce prescription drug prices, and we’ll hear about efforts to expand Medicare benefits as well. And our next program, on November 18th, will be joined by the surgeon general of the United States.

[00:01:41] If you’ve participated in one of our Tele-Town Halls before, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask your questions live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you’d like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone and you’ll be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

[00:02:12] Hello, if you’re just joining, I’m Bill Walsh with AARP and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We’re talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, and if you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can drop your question in the comments.

[00:02:35] We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including national vaccine experts and a clinical testing expert as well. We’ll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jesse Salinas, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, or if you’re joining on Facebook or YouTube, just drop your question in the comments section.

[00:03:13] Now I’d like to welcome our guests: Rebecca Weintraub, M.D., is a physician and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Ariadne Labs and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Welcome to the program, Dr. Weintraub.

[00:03:27] Rebecca Weintraub: Many thanks for having me.

[00:03:28] Bill Walsh: All right. Thanks for being here. I’d also like to welcome Jennifer Goldman, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. She is a board-certified family physician, and she is the chief of primary care at Memorial Healthcare Systems in Florida. Welcome, Dr. Goldman.

[00:03:43] Jennifer Goldman: Happy to be here.

[00:03:44] Bill Walsh: All right. Thanks for being here. And finally, L.J. Tan is a master of science and Ph.D. He is the chief policy and partnerships officer at the Immunization Action Coalition. L.J. is also the cochair of the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Tan.

[00:04:04] Litjen Tan: Oh, thank you for having me back. Appreciate it.

[00:04:07] Bill Walsh: All right. Well let’s go ahead and get started with the discussion. Just a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube.

[00:04:20] Dr. Weintraub, let’s get started with you. You know, it feels like we receive news and updated guidance for COVID-19 vaccines daily. It’s a lot to manage. So I’d like to review some of the latest changes, if you don’t mind. And let’s, let’s just start with the basics. Who is eligible for COVID-19 boosters?

[00:04:42] Rebecca Weintraub: Many thanks. So let’s remember back, this only happened on Thursday, October 21st, that the CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, announced individuals who had received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series, those who are 65 years and older, those who are over 18 who live in a long-term care setting, those over 18 who have underlying medical conditions, and those over 18 who live or work in high-risk settings. In addition, guidance was given for the nearly 15 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot, and the recommendation there was a booster for those who are 18 and older and who are vaccinated two or more months from the first shot.

[00:05:35] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that information. When do we expect availability of the boosters to be expanded?

[00:05:43] Rebecca Weintraub: So the booster is available at almost all the sites where individuals received their primary series. As a reminder, the Moderna dose is a smaller dose when it’s deemed the booster, and I think part of your question is when does eligibility expand to the general population? And we’ll be waiting to hear from the CDC when that will occur.

[00:06:06] Bill Walsh: Right. That is what I meant to ask. It sounds like it’s just a constantly evolving situation. And just to clarify, the FDA has authorized boosters for all three major vaccines, right: the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Is that correct?

[00:06:22] Rebecca Weintraub: That’s correct, exactly. It’s actually authorized what we call a mix-and-match booster shot strategy, so that it may, you may receive a booster that’s different from the one you initially received.

[00:06:35] Bill Walsh: And I understand that they have cleared that as a policy going forward, that it’s okay to mix and match. Should consumers have any concerns about that or are there any particular benefits to mixing one with another?

[00:06:50] Rebecca Weintraub: That’s a great question. So first, remember the committee here is following the science and the early studies have shown that the mix-and-match strategy, it’s not only safe and effective, but that mixing the vaccines also can sometimes— there’s some initial data — create a broader, more potent response than getting multiple doses of a single vaccine. And to note, it didn’t, the studies did not show a clear winner, so the idea here is you’ll be discussing this with a primary care provider, a trusted messenger, for example, but that we’re recommending that those who meet those eligibility, receive a booster shot because it will offer a stronger antibody response no matter what the combination.

[00:07:31] Bill Walsh: Got it. Thanks for that. Let’s talk about children. This week U.S. health officials finalized approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for young kids ages 5 to 11. How does this vaccine differ from the one for kids ages 12 and older, and what should grandparents or parents know about vaccines for young children?

[00:07:53] Rebecca Weintraub: That is a great question. So you’re absolutely right. So we have an EUA [emergency use authorization] for the Moderna vaccine for the adolescent group, for the Pfizer vaccine, and now we have the EUA for the Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. It’s a smaller dose, and what is happening as we speak is 25,000 sites are receiving, and many have received, the initial supply of the vaccine to begin its distribution in getting those shots in arms. The majority of the sites will be a pediatrician, a family medicine office where children already are engaging with their pediatrician, they’ve already discussed their routine vaccinations, and the hope is that children who may have missed a dose of their scheduled vaccines will also come, not only for the COVID-19 vaccine but to play catchup if there’s something missed, or a wellness visit missed. This is a significant workload for our pediatricians, and so just want to, and our family medicine docs. We just want to acknowledge their role right now as vaccine educators as helping us kind of bridge back to wellness for our children.

[00:09:05] Bill Walsh: Right, I’m sure their phones are ringing off the hook. And you meant, you said EUA before. That was the emergency use authorization of these vaccines for young children by the FDA. I wonder if we’ve seen any side effects like we did with adults. Are they pretty similar?

[00:09:23] Rebecca Weintraub: So what we know from the early data is there is a rare but significant side effect of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle. What all parents are in discussions now with their pediatricians and family medicine docs is the risk-benefit ratio. We know there’s a considerable risk, actually if you live in a low vaccination rate county that your child will not only get infected but actually could have other symptoms related to long haul COVID. So that calculation is being done and in consultation with folks’ pediatricians, but there’s a very strong statement coming from the American Pediatrics Association, from the American Family Medicine Association, that this vaccine is safe and effective, and the risks are minimal in comparison to the great benefits for children.

[00:10:15] Bill Walsh:

[00:10:15] OK, thanks so much for that, Dr. Weintraub. Dr. Tan, let’s turn to you. Why is it in this particular climate so important to have the traditional flu vaccine if you’re fully vaccinated for COVID and how effective is the flu vaccine this year?

[00:10:30] Litjen Tan: Hey, Bill, thanks for that question. If I could just also quickly jump in on Dr. Weintraub’s answer there, too, I just wanted to— you know, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that I was a member of for several years just voted recently for a recommendation for those 5- to 11-year-olds, and I think one of the things that also is important for grandparents to be aware of is that that incidence of pericarditis or myocarditis which is an in—, which is a swelling of the heart muscle, appears to be milder and it appears to be in the younger male population, so generally, 12 and over. And in fact, that there was no signal detected at all [inaudible] in the studies with the children 5 to 11. But again, considering the fact that the studies were done in a smaller group of kids, and this is such a rare event, it’s what we call the study was not powered to examine that. But it appears that it’s much less of a risk in the 5- to 11-year-olds, just to put grandparents’ minds at ease on that recommendation for the 5- to 11-year-olds. So, sorry, Bill, to divert back to that a little bit, but I think that was a—

[00:11:34] Bill Walsh: No worries. I mean it just underscores the importance of having that conversation with your pediatrician about your child, right.

[00:11:40] Litjen Tan: Yes, definitely, definitely. And I think, and with regard to the flu, I think it’s important, I think because again we’re talking, just as you know, and I think many of your radio audience knows, we’re talking about two separate diseases here, right. Flu is totally independent from COVID, so even if you’re totally vaccinated for COVID, which I hope you all are, and I think it’s a great thing, and again, looking for your boosters now, I think that does not protect you from getting the flu. And as you know, flu season is on the way, and I think one of the things we want to keep in mind is that if you get, you don’t want to protect yourself from COVID and end up getting severe consequences from influenza, the flu. So extremely important to go ahead and get that flu vaccine and I think there’s a great opportunity here, Bill. I mean, you know, as we know about, almost 90 percent of our 65 and older population have already been vaccinated with COVID-19 and are going out right now, as you just talked about, looking for that booster. And so one of the great things is that now as they get that COVID booster, they can get the flu shot at the same time.

[00:12:41] Bill Walsh: You anticipated my next question, which is whether you recommend people get the flu vaccine at the same time that they’re getting their COVID booster. Is there, is there no concern about any interactions between those two things?

[00:12:57] Litjen Tan: Yeah, that’s a great question, Bill, and I strongly recommend getting both at the same time; the CDC strongly recommends it as well. And that’s a question that we’re getting a lot of. In fact, we’re hearing a lot of our providers are coming to us and asking, How would you answer that question? And so, absolutely, there is no increased reactivity. In other words, there’s no increased side effects, for lack of, for a simpler word, right, by getting both at the same time. You know, the side effect you’re going to feel is probably from the COVID booster. That’s the more active vaccine — again, using simpler words here — and so that’s the vaccine that’s probably going to give you the majority of that malaise, the side effect that we typically feel with the COVID, with the COVID vaccine. But there’s no pile-on effect, you know. So, absolutely, get both at the same.

[00:13:42] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Tan. Dr. Goldman, let me bring you in here. With seasonal allergies and return to cold and flu season, how do people distinguish COVID from the common cold and should people get tested for COVID right away if they’re feeling symptoms?

[00:13:58] Jennifer Goldman: Absolutely. So it is the season for allergies in many parts of the country and the common cold as well. That seems to be going around locally where we are in Florida, as well as in many parts of the country, especially as the weather changes and people are inside more. And the symptoms can be similar, so with allergies, we do see a lot of itchy eyes and runny nose and sneezing; with the common cold, we get some of those same symptoms, as well as cough and a sore throat, and sometimes a fever and chills. The thing that can sometimes distinguish COVID-19 from the allergies and common cold is that people can get a rapid loss of taste or smell and sometimes some difficulty breathing, which is of course the most dangerous symptom of COVID-19. The problem is that there’s so much overlap and that not everybody who gets COVID-19 will have a loss of taste or smell, and not everybody will have difficulty breathing.

[00:14:59] And so what I do suggest is that number 1, have that relationship with a primary care provider. That’s probably the most important thing, so that you can have someone to call if you’re having these symptoms and they can really recommend what you do. But I do recommend that people get tested pretty early on in their symptoms, especially if they’re going to be in contact with others, because you just don’t know if you do have COVID, if you’re, if you’re going to be in contact with someone else, you know, you could absolutely spread it to them and you just don’t know what kind of underlying health conditions they may have. And so, real important to have that primary care provider that you can trust, that you can go and talk to or call on the phone, do a telehealth visit with, so that they can provide you with the personalized advice that you need.

[00:15:46] Bill Walsh: Okay, Dr. Goldman, thanks so much for that. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad. And we’re going to get to those live questions shortly, but before we do, I wanted to bring in Nancy LeaMond, the executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer here at AARP. Welcome, Nancy.

[00:16:09] Nancy LeaMond: Hi, Bill, delighted to be here. Thanks.

[00:16:10] Bill Walsh: All right, delighted to have you. It’s a busy time. You know, in addition to sharing the most current coronavirus information, we’d like to take a few minutes to update our listeners on timely issues facing Congress in a segment we call Fighting for You. This week is an important one with a lot happening on Capitol Hill that’s going to affect older Americans. Nancy, what can you tell us?

[00:16:34] Nancy LeaMond: Well, if you watch the news, you may have heard that last week when the administration first announced a framework for their budget bill, they left out any proposal to address high prescription drug prices. This was a shocking development to us since poll after poll showed that Americans over the age of 50, and really Americans of all ages, overwhelmingly support lowering prescription drug prices.

[00:17:01] Bill Walsh: So what did AARP do about it?

[00:17:05] Nancy LeaMond: Well, as you know, Bill, I’m a huge baseball fan. So we follow the wisdom of Yogi Berra, who once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” We immediately said we were outraged, which is not a term we use lightly at AARP. And we sent out the alarm to our members. In just the last week, AARP activists sent 300,000 emails and made over 9,000 phone calls to Capitol Hill demanding that Congress make good on its promise to lower drug prices, and I can tell you, our voices were heard loud and clear, both here in Washington and back home in member states and districts. With that big push from AARP members across the country, Congress reached a deal this week to include drug prices in the bill.

[00:17:52] Bill Walsh: All right, well can you tell us a little bit about the deal on drug pricing?

[00:17:57] Nancy LeaMond: Sure, the agreement includes all three of AARP’s priorities. First, Medicare will be able to negotiate prices for a subset of expensive drugs. Second, drug companies will be penalized if they increase their prices higher than inflation. And third, out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries will be capped at $2,000 per year. But remember, there’s still a long way to go to get this signed into law and Big Pharma isn’t happy. So AARP will stay in the fight until it gets to the president’s desk.

[00:18:35] Bill Walsh: Okay. So does this legislation have other provisions that would benefit older, older Americans?

[00:18:41] Nancy LeaMond: Yes. The bill includes a number of provisions to expand health coverage and lower the cost of insurance under the Affordable Care Act. It adds a new hearing benefit to Medicare, and we’re particularly pleased that there’s a major investment in home- and community-based services that will help folks stay in their homes as they age.

[00:19:03] Bill Walsh: Well, those are significant provisions. Are there other things that we’re fighting for?

[00:19:08] Nancy LeaMond: Well, in addition to covering hearing aids, we’re asking Congress to include vision and dental benefits in Medicare. It’s time for Medicare to cover the whole person, as we say, from head to toe; and we support paid leave to help working family caregivers. These are both really uphill battles, but AARP will keep fighting for these needs and benefits as well.

[00:19:30] Bill Walsh: Well, when we saw just in the past few days, paid leave was tucked back into the legislation. So we’ll have to see how that develops. Nancy, any closing thoughts.

[00:19:40] Nancy LeaMond: Well, thanks again, Bill, for having me and thank you to everybody who’s been willing to help us. One of the best things about our democracy is that we all have a voice, and when we are loud enough on an issue, like we were on prescription drugs, we can really make a difference. There are a lot of steps in this process, so we need to stay vigilant, and we’ll be asking AARP members to take action along the way. The House is going to vote first, maybe even as early as tonight. And then the Senate will take up its version of the bill. The differences will need to be reconciled and passed again before anything goes to the president to be signed into law. So we have, we have a distance to travel on this.

[00:20:24] Bill Walsh: All right, much left to be done. Thank you, Nancy, so much for that update. We really appreciate it.

[00:20:30] Nancy LeaMond: Thank you.

[00:20:30] Bill Walsh: All right. It’s now time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, Dr. Jennifer Goldman and Dr. L.J. Tan. As a reminder, press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question live. And if you’d like to listen in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:20:55] [Repeated in Spanish.]

[00:21:01] All right, and now I’d like to bring in my AARP colleague Jesse Salinas to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jesse.

[00:21:09] Jesse Salinas: I’m glad to be here, Bill.

[00:21:10] Bill Walsh: All right, Jesse. Who’s our first caller?

[00:21:15] Jesse Salinas: First caller today is going to be Linda from Virginia.

[00:21:18] Bill Walsh: Hey, Linda, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:21:23] Linda: Yes, I wanted to ask about the vaccine for the younger kids, the kids from 5 to 11 and 12 to 18, because I’ve got one of each. And we are reluctant give them the COVID shot, period, because they haven’t shown us any way that once they be affected adversely by these shots, how can they be fixed or treated to be back to a normal conditions? How well, how, how much risk are we taking to give these shots to babies or small kids that, I mean, it’s very risky isn’t it?

[00:22:00] Bill Walsh: You know, yeah, I’ve heard that question a lot myself, and I bet it’s on a lot of parents’ minds. Dr. Weintraub, I wonder how you’d respond to Linda and other folks who have similar questions about the safety and long-term effects of vaccines for children.

[00:22:17] Rebecca Weintraub: Yes. I might actually defer to Dr. Tan on this one.

[00:22:22] Bill Walsh: Okay. Dr. Tan, do you want to take that question?

[00:22:25] Litjen Tan: Absolutely, I can take this question. I think, you know, I will just say that the data that is in, the 5 to 11-year-olds — and remember the vaccine’s only authorized down to 5 years of age — has shown that this vaccine is not only incredibly safe in that population, this vaccine is also incredibly effective in that population. And I think it’s not just the experience that we’ve had with the 5- to 11-year-olds. Clearly that is a study that we have done with that age group, but I also want to remind all of us that hundreds and hundreds of millions of doses of this COVID-19 vaccine have been given across the country. It is probably the most studied vaccine in the world with regards to vaccine safety. I’m not saying that the others aren’t well studied, but this one has in particular, been studied a lot. And we know a lot about the safety of this vaccine. And I personally have three kids and all three of my kids are vaccinated. So, you know, I think I lead with example. I hope that helps your caller Linda. Thank you.

[00:23:27] Bill Walsh: Yeah, and Dr. Goldman, I wonder if you wanted to get in on this as well as a primary care physician. You must be hearing some of these same concerns.

[00:23:35] Jennifer Goldman: Absolutely we are. And I think for families like Linda’s, it’s so important to have that trusted primary care provider that she and her family would go and visit and for the children to go and visit, to make sure that they can have this information, you know, personalized for their family. But again, the side effects of COVID-19, the actual virus COVID-19, are extremely serious and have been very serious for young children, including inflammatory disease processes that have put children in the hospital across the country and around the world. And so really what we see when it comes to vaccination is prevention. It’s a way to give your body a little bit of information about the virus before actually getting sick, so that your body can build up its immune system and really prevent you from getting seriously ill. The side effects, as Dr. Tan and Dr. Weintraub mentioned, are extremely rare and very low for the COVID-19 vaccine. And so it’s really important to weigh the risks versus the benefits as you would with any other vaccines for young children. And this is really why we all strongly endorse the vaccines for kids. It’s the best way to keep you and your family safe over the holiday season and in the long run.

[00:24:59] Bill Walsh: And unlike many other vaccines, this particular one does not have live virus in it. Is that correct?

[00:25:07] Jennifer Goldman: That’s correct. This is not a live virus vaccine. This is really just information, messenger RNA information from the virus itself. And it gives your body really just the ability to create those all-important antibodies to fight against COVID-19 so that you and your family don’t get sick.

[00:25:31] Bill Walsh: Okay. Thanks to all our experts for weighing in on that. Jesse, let’s take another question.

[00:25:38] Jesse Salinas: Yes, our next call is going to be from Hattie in California.

[00:25:42] Bill Walsh: Hey, Hattie. Welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:25:46] Hattie: Thank you for taking my call. My question is, since I’m 71 years old and I’ve been fully vaccinated with the shingles, my flu shot, my pneumonia shot and a booster of the COVID-19 with the Pfizer, when will we be able to take off these masks and expose ourselves even to those who have not been vaccinated fully?

[00:26:16] Bill Walsh: Hmm, that’s an interesting question. Dr. Weintraub, do you want to weigh in on that? Sounds like Hattie’s gotten all the vaccinations she should be. When can she take off her mask and get back to life as normal?

[00:26:28] Rebecca Weintraub: Well, first, I mean, congratulations to you, and you’re such an example of the work it takes to manage your health and wellness at a time like this. So thank you for getting all those vaccines to both protect yourself and your decreasing transmission to those that you love and your greater community. So, you know, the CDC continues to recommend that those, including children 2 years and up, wear masks, for example, if you’re going to be with many guests in a setting and guests who may be at increased risk of a serious disease, a weakened immune system, or unvaccinated.

[00:27:04] And I’m wondering if you’re thinking about planning for Thanksgiving. There’s many questions about that where yes, we are, you know, there’s a recommendation that we plan for smaller groups this year. Thank you for getting boosted. We’re also recommending folks, if they can, to buy rapid tests. They’re $24 a pack, but we know this could possibly prevent a COVID outbreak for your family. Calling your relatives and encouraging them to get vaccinated and, it’s possible, if you cannot have an outdoor gathering and you’re having an indoor gathering, to open the windows and also possible, to buy a filter. They’re called a [high] efficiency particulate air filter, HEPA filter, which reduces the amount of airborne virus that’s in circulation. So, thank you for all that you’re doing, and we’ll ask you to keep staying quite patient until we have a greater percentage of the population vaccinated.

[00:28:02] Bill Walsh: Yeah. Patience and prevention. It seems to be the story of our lives these days, right. All right, Jesse, let’s take another caller.

[00:28:11] Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be Jane in California.

[00:28:16] Bill Walsh: Hey, Jane, welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:28:19] Jane: Yes, I was, I’m wondering about an over-75 person, similar to the previous caller, with the holidays and people coming in. I have, where I’m fully vaccinated and relatives from out of town are fully vaccinated, but they’re going to be coming and staying in my home. I haven’t had contact with them, direct contact, and so I’m wondering since we’re all fully vaccinated is there any specific precautions we should take in getting together? We’ll be going out to dinner and being in my home and be abiding by all the requirements of wearing masks where required, and I probably will wear a mask most of the time when we’re out. But having people, new people, incorporated into my family bubble, I’m not quite sure how to do that. And I’m sure, and especially when they’ll be staying overnight, staying for a couple weeks, if there’s any special things we should be doing?

[00:29:17] Bill Walsh: Yeah, well, thanks for that Jane. I think that’s a question on a lot of people’s minds. And Dr. Weintraub, you had given our previous caller some tips. Are there any additional words of advice that you’d give Jane or others?

[00:29:30] Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, well first, Jane, thank you so much for planning this. This is, you know, it’s a significant responsibility when you’re bringing two pods together. And so one recommendation that continues today is to purchase a rapid test, so to have that pack of rapid tests at your disposal, and rapid test your guests before they enter your home, just about 15 minutes before. Think about buying the HEPA filter if you have those types of resources, especially in those early days of not knowing, and also to be checking that they are boosted as well as their relatives. So thank you for taking these precautions. We know this is, you know, how people are used to celebrating the holidays. We are recommending that people in a sense, if they’re going to be dining with others, still consider to have smaller groups of people together. As we know, unfortunately, breakthrough infections are happening even with those who’ve been fully vaccinated.

[00:30:30] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Weintraub. Jesse, let’s take another call.

[00:30:35] Jesse Salinas: Our next call is going to be from Facebook, and this is from Kathleen in Ohio, and she keeps asking, “I keep hearing about deaths from the vaccine themselves. How many vaccine deaths have there actually been?”

[00:30:48] Bill Walsh: Hmm. Dr. Goldman, do you want to answer that? Maybe Dr. Tan as well?

[00:30:55] Jennifer Goldman: So it’s a great question. There, again, I, in terms of adverse reactions from the COVID vaccine, they are extremely, extremely rare. Some of those side effects from any vaccine can be anaphylaxis or an acute reaction or severe allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine. There are some, some rare blood disorders that can occur, blood clotting or low platelets that can occur. And then, you know, extremely, extremely rare deaths as a result or at least among people who received a COVID vaccine. In fact, the reports of death among people who received a COVID vaccine is only 0.0022 percent. And so that is extremely, extremely low. There has been, you know, more than, over 400 million doses of the COVID vaccine administered in the United States, and there’s been, you know, reports of just, again, 0.0022 percent of people who received a COVID vaccine actually dying, you know, potentially as a result of some allergic reaction or response to that. And so, I hope that that answers the caller’s question.

[00:32:20] The reports of adverse reactions following the vaccination are really rare. And one of the things that’s wonderful about the vaccination program is that the vaccine adverse events reporting system, or VAERS, is a program where anyone can report adverse events at any time. And, you know, the CDC looks into, and the FDA looks into every single one of these reports, and that’s how we know that there is such a low percentage of people who are having a problem from this vaccine. And if you compare that to the, you know, the number of deaths from COVID-19 itself in the United States and around the world, there really is no comparison. And I think that the safety of the vaccine speaks for itself.

[00:33:11] Bill Walsh: We just passed another grim milestone, of 750,000 deaths in this country. So thank you for that, Dr. Goldman. Jesse, let’s take another call.

[00:33:23] Jesse Salinas: Yeah. This comes from Katherine in Georgia, and she says, “I suffer from severe allergies. So I only got the first shot. What advice do you have for somebody who’s only taken their first dose of the vaccine and is worried about taking their second?”

[00:33:38] Bill Walsh: Dr. Tan, do you want to handle that one?

[00:33:41] Litjen Tan: I sure can. So again, you know, we need to know if, when she says severe allergies and she’s only gotten the first shot, did she have an allergic reaction to that first shot, or does she in general have severe allergies? Because if she has severe allergies but she did not have an allergic reaction to that first shot, she should go get the second. If she had an allergic reaction to that first shot, then she should go talk to her health care provider. She’s probably not going to be able to receive that second shot, but I will still urge, again, as Dr. Goldman said, talk to that trusted primary care physician who can guide the person, guide her on, Kathleen, I believe, on her, on whether she should get that second shot. I also would like to defer to some of the clinicians here as well.

[00:34:22] Bill Walsh: Right, Dr. Goldman and Dr. Weintraub, did you have anything you wanted to add to that?

[00:34:27] Jennifer Goldman: Sure, I agree completely with Dr. Tan in that this is a personalized health concern and something that you should, Kathleen should, Katherine should really speak with her primary care provider about. I’ll just make a comment about, you know, cross-reactivity of allergies and for people who are allergic to foods or even other medications, or sometimes even for other vaccinations, that there really is not a high risk of crossover to have allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. You really have to have had an allergic reaction to the component of the COVID-19 vaccine. But again, for all of that personalized information, I strongly suggest that you discuss with your primary care provider. And then for those who have only had the first out of two shots for COVID-19, they’re, they are at increased risk of getting sick. So you’re not considered fully protected, and so, again, speak with your primary care provider about the possibility of you getting that second vaccine.

[00:35:36] Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that. And thank you for all your questions. We’re going to take more questions from you shortly and remember, if you would like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. And if you’d like to listen to this program in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now. [Repeated in Spanish.]

[00:36:05] Okay, now let’s get back to our experts. Dr. Goldman, let’s turn to you again. You know misinformation has provided a real obstacle during the pandemic. The ease and speed in which false information is shared has made it hard to tamp it down and figure out what’s right and what’s wrong. How do you respond to suggestions of natural immunity, imbedded microchips, or arguments the vaccines are untested?

[00:36:35] Jennifer Goldman: Yeah, and we do hear these questions all the time from our patients, from our community, and that’s why, again, that important source, that trusted source of information being the primary care provider is so important here. When it comes to natural immunity, in fact, we do have more data on this, and very, very recently. It was just published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly that those who have had an infection, a COVID-19 virus infection, and had not become, have not gotten the vaccine, were actually five times more likely to get COVID again compared to those who had the virus and then ended up getting the vaccine.

[00:37:21] And so natural immunity just does not give the same level of protection, or the long-lasting protection as does vaccination. And so that’s really something that I strongly encourage anybody who has had COVID-19, and who hopefully recovered well from COVID-19, to really go and get that vaccine. You can get the vaccine as quickly as 10 days after your infection, unless you received monoclonal antibodies or other medications to treat COVID-19 acutely, then you would have to wait 90 days after your infection.

[00:38:02] Regarding the question about embedded microchips, there is absolutely no embedded microchips or metal for that matter at all in COVID-19 vaccines. And then with regard to the arguments that vaccines are untested, you know, I certainly understand the concern. We are in the middle of a global pandemic that came up extremely quickly, as pandemics will do, and of course, the scientists and researchers involved in really creating this vaccine did not have a whole lot of time to do it because, again, of how dangerous this pandemic has become and how many people have died. That being said, though, the research on mRNA for vaccination purposes and other purposes has been around for more than 10 years, and these vaccines went through the same type of rigorous trials as do other vaccines. And so really the argument that these vaccines are untested is just not true. And again, so important with these questions and many more questions that arise from what everyone is hearing, either on social media or on news stations, et cetera, to really have that trusted source of information be the primary care provider. I can’t really emphasize enough how important that trusting, long-term relationship is for you to really get the answers to these questions and more.

[00:39:34] Bill Walsh: Okay, Dr. Goldman. Thanks for the very clear answer, we really appreciate it. As a reminder to our listeners, on our next program, November 18th at 1 p.m., we’ll have as our guest the U.S. surgeon general, Vivek H. Murthy, joining us and taking your questions. So be sure to tune in on November 18th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

[00:39:57] Let’s turn back to you, Dr. Tan. You know it’s been said that at some point we’ll have an annual vaccine for COVID-19 just as we have one for the flu. Do you share that view and how do you see that working?

[00:40:11] Litjen Tan: Oh, thanks, Bill. That’s a great question, and it’s a hard one because I don’t think we have that crystal ball just yet. I think, you know, there are obviously some things that we’re looking for in terms of data in order to decide whether or not we’re going to have to revaccinate every year for COVID-19. Some of the things that we’re looking at, for example, is how long does immunity last after this third booster, right? Remember, we just started the boosting process, and we don’t know how long that immunity lasts. So that’s one thing. So that will determine whether or not we have to come back every year.

[00:40:40] Another thing will be, does this virus continue to evolve? And this is the reason why we keep talking about how important it is for people to get vaccinated because this virus, and like any virus, is dependent on the host, which is us, in order to reproduce. And it’s only when they reproduce that they can generate the mutations that allow them to evolve past us, right, to evolve beyond our immune system. And so the more we get people vaccinated, the less chances we give to this virus to evolve. Simple as that. And so we will have to look and see, you know, how does this virus continue to evolve? And there are new variants that pop up — we kind of talked a little bit about that earlier— that will potentially require revaccination. So that’s the other thing we’re looking at, right?

[00:41:22] And so I think then the final thing also is that some people will say, you know, what about if you’re fully vaccinated but you don’t spread the disease. In other words, you’re not a, you don’t have the ability to be reinfected or you don’t have the ability to, even though you get reinfected, you don’t have the ability to be contagious. That’s another factor that people will start looking at to decide whether or not revaccination or an annual vaccination is required. But I think if— so again, I think it’s a crystal ball question, and I don’t have the perfect answer. I just gave you some factors of what we’re all looking into right now, and we’ll have that data as we go forward. I think, it’s important to remember COVID-19 is still a very new disease, too. Then the other thing also, if we do go that way, I think it will be one of those vaccines that we will, we will have recommendations and whether or not it’s an annual vaccine or every two years, whatever that happens to be, and then again, it falls upon our wonderful primary care system — our stressed but wonderful primary care system — to help us implement that.

[00:42:26] Bill Walsh: Okay, and you know, Dr. Tan and Dr. Goldman, we heard an earlier question from one of our listeners on allergies. I wonder if we have clear guidance on allergy-related complications for the traditional flu vaccine, the COVID vaccines, the COVID booster shots. And are there any known allergies where someone should decline a vaccine, or just consult with their personal physician? What’s your advice there, Dr. Tan, and then maybe Dr. Goldman?

[00:42:54] Litjen Tan: So, let’s start with the flu. I think that’s the one that people have talked about a lot, right? And so I think that there’s a lot of understanding now about flu vaccine, and the big one’s about egg allergies, and in fact, now egg allergy is not considered a, what we call a contraindication: That means you should not get the flu vaccine. In fact, they are now recommending that only if you’ve had a severe egg allergy, you should then talk to your physician because it’s likely you can still get the flu vaccine but in those circumstances, we would obviously want you to get that vaccine under the supervision of a clinician. So right now, the only people who should not get flu vaccine are: any kid that’s younger than 6 months, because that’s too little, too young; if you have a known, life-threatening allergy to an ingredient in flu vaccines other than eggs, right; and then the other one is if you’ve had a previous severe reaction to a dose of flu vaccine, you should go talk to your physician. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the next dose, the next season’s vaccine, but you should at least talk to someone about it first. So, the flu vaccine’s incredibly safe. There’s a lot of data regarding allergy. And then I’m going to, you know, share some space here with Dr. Goldman, if you wanted to talk a little bit about allergies and in the COVID-19 vaccine, obviously, there’s a potential allergy related to PEG and polysorbate.

[00:44:12] Bill Walsh: Dr. Goldman?

[00:44:14] Jennifer Goldman: Absolutely. So with regard to allergies to the COVID-19 vaccine and those absolute contraindications, meaning specific known allergies where someone should actually decline the vaccine or at least talk with their personal physician about it, the first one would be polyethylene glycol or PEG, and that’s found in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. So if you or someone you know is allergic to polyethylene glycol and has had a severe anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction to that, then they should not take the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, they should talk to their physician about whether or not they can take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because there is no polyethylene glycol in J&J.

[00:44:58] And then with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for those who are allergic to polysorbate, which is again in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, then they should not take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; however, there is no polysorbate in Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines. And so, again, if you or someone you know have severe allergies to a vaccine, specifically a COVID vaccine, you should talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to receive another shot or a different shot. And, again, somebody who knows your long-term history and your reactions to other medications or foods or whatever kind of allergies you may have, but again, I will emphasize that besides those two specific allergies to the polyethylene glycol in Pfizer and Moderna, and polysorbate in J&J there is, there’s no evidence that those who have severe allergies to foods, or to other medications would have a problem with taking a COVID-19 vaccine. But again, everyone should consult their personal primary care physician on that matter.

[00:46:09] Bill Walsh: And as I understand it, after they’ve been administered the vaccine, there’s a waiting period to see whether there is an allergic reaction. Is that right?

[00:46:18] Jennifer Goldman: That’s right, Bill, and there’s a 15-minute waiting period, which is standard after the administration of the vaccine. But for those who had a history of allergic reactions or who have other chronic medical conditions that they would be deemed higher risk after a vaccination, then we actually watch them for 30 minutes afterwards.

[00:46:40] Bill Walsh: Got it. Okay. Thank you very much for that. Now it’s time to address more of your questions with Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, Dr. Jennifer Goldman and Dr. L.J. Tan. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to ask your question live. Jesse, who do we have next on the line?

[00:47:03] Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be from Cheryl in California.

[00:47:06] Bill Walsh: Hey, Cheryl, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:47:11] Cheryl: Hi, yes. Hi, I’m sorry.

[00:47:15] Bill Walsh: Go ahead.

[00:47:15] Cheryl: Yes, hi, I’m Cheryl. My question, thank you for this information. I am 58 and immunocompromised, and I had COVID last year and I recovered fine. It wasn’t a severe, severe case. And I’m also fully vaccinated since May of this year. And so my question is, since I may have built up some immunities from having had it, and that I’m also fully vaccinated, I don’t know that I really need the booster or how would you respond, advise me about whether I should still get the booster?

[00:47:53] Bill Walsh: That’s a great question, Cheryl. Let’s ask Dr. Weintraub about that. Dr. Weintraub?

[00:47:58] Rebecca Weintraub: Yeah, so first, Cheryl, thank you for doing all that you’ve done to keep yourself safe in the midst of the pandemic, and we know for those who are immunocompromised, it’s been harder on a daily basis to manage your risks. And first we, you know, we do first ask that you consult with your provider, and we’ve spoken many times here about your trusted messenger. We know everyone may not have access to primary care providers, so let us know if we can help if you don’t have one. And I think that consultation’s quite essential. But the data is quite clear that the, especially for those who are immunocompromised, receiving that third dose will add to your protection and decrease your risk. And once again, we’re still in the midst of the delta variant, which we know is transmitting faster and more broadly. So I recommend going to your provider but looks like you’d be a great candidate for a third dose.

[00:48:51] Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that, Dr. Weintraub. Jesse, who do we have next?

[00:48:57] Jesse Salinas: Our next caller is going to be Teresa from New York.

[00:49:00] Bill Walsh: Hey, Theresa. Welcome to our program. Go ahead with your question. Hey, Teresa, go ahead with your question. Okay. It looks like we may have lost her.

[00:49:14] Teresa: Hello?

[00:49:14] Bill Walsh: Oh, hi, Teresa. Go ahead with your question.

[00:49:17] Teresa: Yes, my question was I’m over 65 and planning to get a booster, but I’m wondering what’s the, why is the Moderna booster less potent, I guess, than the Pfizer?

[00:49:35] Bill Walsh: Hmm. Dr. Weintraub, you kind of touched on the effectiveness of various boosters before. Do you want to take a stab at this one as well?

[00:49:46] Rebecca Weintraub: Sure. I apologize, I don’t know what information source you’re speaking to, but we absolutely recommend if you can access a booster to get it, and there is not clear data that one booster is necessarily stronger than the other. But if you began getting your mRNA boosters, we obviously recommend if you did not receive a reaction to the Pfizer and, you’ve in a sense built that sense of momentum and you conveniently get a third dose of Pfizer, some folks are going in that direction, some folks are saying this mix and match, that this is a time to then if you started with Pfizer to then get a Moderna, so there is not necessarily clear data, but the data is clearer that a booster will help continue your protection and decrease your risk.

[00:50:35] Bill Walsh: Okay. And just a follow-up to that, you know, early on there were shortages of the vaccine, so folks didn’t really have that much of a choice. Generally speaking, will people have a choice about which booster they’d like to take?

[00:50:51] Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, that’s a great question. So the team at vaccinefinder.org, which became vaccines.gov, you can go on that site and look at every active vaccination site in the United States of America and see if they have both Pfizer or Moderna, or J&J for example, in stock that day. So you actually can verify if you and your provider have, for example, a preference within your area, that that will be available. That information is available to you on vaccines.gov.

[00:51:22] Bill Walsh: Vaccines.gov. Thanks very much, and Dr. Tan, did you want to say something about that as well?

[00:51:29] Litjen Tan: Oh, yeah, I was just going to say if the question was also about the fact that the Moderna booster is recommended at half the dose of the original primary series, if that’s what the question is, the reason is because you know as we learn more about the vaccine, the company has realized that 50, halving the dose was more than enough to provide the response that was needed in the booster. And that was the reason why they halved the dose.

[00:51:54] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that clarification. Let’s go back to the lines. Jesse, who do we have up next?

[00:52:00] Jesse Salinas: We’re going to bring on Paul from Vermont.

[00:52:03] Bill Walsh: Hey, Paul, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:52:07] Paul: Yes, hi. I have a question about if I catch COVID-19, and I’m either pretty, pretty sick at home, or I’m admitted to the hospital, I’m wondering, there’s been a lot of talk about different therapies available over the past several months. Which one should I ask for? Some of them it’s important to give them sooner rather than later. Which one should I ask for, and does this matter if I’m vaccinated or not already?

[00:52:34] Bill Walsh: Yeah, that’s a great question, Paul. And there have been some real big developments in therapies recently. Dr. Goldman, do you want to address that?

[00:52:42] Jennifer Goldman: Sure, thank you for the question, Paul. You know, the most important thing is actually having access to monoclonal antibody treatment if you do get COVID-19. And again, monoclonal antibody treatment is administered to prevent you actually from becoming hospitalized or getting sick enough to be hospitalized, and it works very well. And we’ve seen that access to monoclonal antibodies have been expanding around the country. And so I would definitely recommend that. Again, I, as a primary care doctor, I always recommend that in every specific case that you, as soon as you know if you are infected with COVID-19, that you call, you reach out to your primary care provider. You can have a telehealth visit with many providers, you know, around the country. Telehealth has become rapidly available during the pandemic and that’s a great way for your provider to guide you to the best resources.

[00:53:45] Now, if you do end up sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, there are a number of different therapies that have been used for COVID-19 but I don’t recommend that you ask for a specific one, and that’s because with your specific conditions, you know, I recommend that it’s a shared decision-making with your providers, with the physicians there at the hospital, if the situation merits that. But what I would say first is again, if you haven’t been vaccinated, please consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19 so that you can prevent that severe infection in the first place. The second thing is, if you do get infected call your primary care provider and look for places where you can get a monoclonal antibody shot or infusion if your condition merits that. And then the third thing is, you know, if you are sick enough to have to go to the hospital, make sure that you go. This is not something that you can wait out at home, especially if your oxygen level drops or if you’re having trouble breathing. And when you do go to the hospital, make sure you consult with the doctors there about the best recommendations for you.

[00:55:02] Bill Walsh: Okay, Dr. Goldman, thanks very much for that. Jesse, let’s take another call.

[00:55:08] Jesse Salinas: Our next call, Bill, is going to be from Donald in Colorado.

[00:55:12] Bill Walsh: Hey, Donald, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:55:16] Donald: Yes, I’m 89 years old; I had Guillain-Barré; I was able to take two Moderna shots with no problems, but I am concerned about the booster.

[00:55:33] Bill Walsh: Okay. Dr. Weintraub, do you want to try and answer that question?

[00:55:38] Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, sure. Well first, you know, thank you. I’m glad you are safe and well at home right now. And, you know, the good news is that we are not seeing any accumulation or different side effects from the primary series versus boosters. So once again, we’re always recommending that you reach out to your primary care provider here for counsel, as someone who knows you well and knows you longitudinally, but the data seems significant that you’re well-positioned if you receive the third dose that you’d have a similar side effect profile if you remember from your first or second dose. And, in someone in your situation, considering your age and your comorbidities, having a booster will be protective for you to ensure that you don’t get infected and also decrease your risk of becoming infectious for your family and community at large. So we very much encourage you to get a booster.

[00:56:35] Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that. Let’s take another question. Jesse?

[00:56:40] Jesse Salinas: Our next question is going to be from Donna in Michigan.

[00:56:44] Bill Walsh: Hey, Donna. Welcome to our program. Hey, Donna, go ahead with your question.

[00:56:48] Donna: Okay. I had COVID last November. Can I get it again? I’ve had my shots. I had my booster. I got everything. Can I get it again?

[00:56:59] Bill Walsh: Oh that’s a fair question. Dr. Tan, do you want to address that?

[00:57:05] Litjen Tan: Yeah, I will address that. You know, this is one of the reasons why the CDC is still recommending masking, even for those who are fully vaccinated. And the reason is because with this very contagious delta strain, there is data that you can indeed still get it again. And I think this is one of our reasons why we’re asking, we’re reminding everybody to stay masked, even if you’re fully vaccinated, especially if you’re indoors. So I wish it were, I wish the news were better, but I will continue to monitor after the booster. The booster might give us some good news there; some data coming out of Israel has already suggested that having that third dose, that booster, is reducing the so-called breakthrough infection. But it’s still very early.

[00:57:50] Bill Walsh: Is it fair to say though, Dr. Tan, that if Donna were to get COVID again, that it’s likely to be less severe than it was in the absence of a vaccine or a booster?

[00:58:01] Litjen Tan: Absolutely. Yes, definitely, and I think Dr. Goldman’s going to jump in on that.

[00:58:03] Bill Walsh: Dr. Goldman? Dr. Weintraub?

[00:58:03] Rebecca Weintraub: Actually, that’s exactly right.

[00:58:03] Litjen Tan: Oh, Dr. Weintraub, sorry. Go ahead.

[00:58:09] Rebecca Weintraub: Yes, just, let’s just share that the data is clear. Those who have been fully vaccinated and received the booster have a shorter infectious period. That means even if you get infected with a breakthrough infection, you are infection, infected for less time, and you actually have a decreased viral load. Literally what’s in the virus that’s in your nose. So that is all good news. It reminds that the booster’s protecting you and your loved ones in that period if a breakthrough infection did occur.

[00:58:41] Bill Walsh: Thank you very much for that. I appreciate both of both of you. This has been a really informative discussion and thanks to all of our experts for answering our questions. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today.

[00:58:58] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we’re providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others, while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow, November 5th. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and 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 can help keep you and your loved ones healthy.

[00:59:53] And do not forget to join us for our next program November 18th at 1 p.m. for a special live event where we’ll be joined by the surgeon general of the United States. As a reminder that dial-in phone number for that event is 855-274-9507; 855-274-9507. We hope you will join us then. The surgeon general will be taking calls from us, but more importantly, taking calls from you all and answering them on the program. We hope you can join us. Thank you very much for joining us today. This concludes our call.

Teleasamblea de AARP

El coronavirus: dosis de refuerzo, salud y bienestar

Bill Walsh: Hola, soy el vicepresidente de AARP Bill Walsh y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. Antes de comenzar, si desean escuchar esta teleasamblea en español presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

[En español]

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

Si bien COVID-19 continúa alterando nuestra vida diaria, hay buenas noticias, ya que la cantidad de casos, hospitalizaciones y muertes por COVID-19 continúa disminuyendo. Además, la FDA aprobó las vacunas de refuerzo para agregar protección a muchos adultos mayores, aquellos con trastornos médicos subyacentes y trabajadores de primera línea.

Y la FDA ha autorizado una vacuna para niños de 5 a 11 años. A la luz de estos desarrollos rápidos, muchos adultos mayores tienen preguntas sobre la elegibilidad para el refuerzo, el momento y lo que significa todo esto, con la temporada de resfriados y gripe en curso y las familias que se preparan para reunirse para las fiestas.

Hoy escucharemos a un impresionante panel de expertos hablar sobre estos temas y otros. También recibiremos una actualización sobre el acuerdo del Capitolio para reducir los precios de los medicamentos recetados y también escucharemos acerca de los esfuerzos para expandir los beneficios de Medicare. Y en nuestro próximo programa del 18 de noviembre nos acompañará el cirujano general de Estados Unidos.

Si han participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas antes, saben que esto es similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tienen la oportunidad de hacer sus preguntas en vivo. Para aquellos de ustedes que se unan a nosotros por teléfono, si desean hacer una pregunta sobre la pandemia de coronavirus, presionen * 3 en su teléfono y así se comunicarán con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta y los colocará en una cola para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Si se unen a través de Facebook o YouTube, puede publicar su pregunta en la sección de comentarios.

Hola, si acaban de unirse, soy Bill Walsh de AARP y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estaremos hablando con expertos líderes y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono. Y si se unen a través de Facebook o YouTube, pueden dejar su pregunta en los comentarios.

Tenemos algunos invitados sobresalientes que nos acompañan hoy, incluidos expertos nacionales en vacunas y un experto en pruebas clínicas también. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jesse Salinas, quien ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy. Este evento está siendo grabado y se podrá acceder a la grabación en aarp.org/elcoronavirus 24 horas después de que terminemos.

Nuevamente, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP o si se están uniendo a través de Facebook o YouTube, simplemente dejen su pregunta en la sección de comentarios. Me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestros invitados, la Dra. Rebecca Weintraub, es médica y miembro de la Facultad de Medicina de Harvard, Ariadne Labs y el Brigham and Women's Hospital. Bienvenida al programa, Dra. Weintraub.

Rebecca Weintraub: Muchas gracias por invitarme.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias por estar aquí. También me gustaría dar la bienvenida a Jennifer Goldman, doctora en medicina osteopática. Es médica de familia certificada por la junta y jefa de atención primaria en Memorial Healthcare Systems en Florida. Bienvenida, Dra. Goldman.

Jennifer Goldman: Un placer estar aquí.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, gracias por estar aquí. Y finalmente, LJ Tan es Master of Science, PhD. Es el director de Políticas y Asociaciones de la Coalición de Acción de Inmunización. LJ también es copresidente de la Cumbre Nacional de Inmunización de Adultos e Influenza. Bienvenido de nuevo al programa, Dr. Tan.

Litjen Tan: Oh, gracias por invitarme. Lo aprecio.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Bueno, sigamos adelante y comencemos con la discusión. Recuerden, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono o déjenla en la sección de comentarios en Facebook o YouTube. Dra. Weintraub, comencemos con usted. Sabe, parece que recibimos noticias y pautas actualizadas para las vacunas contra la COVID-19 a diario, es mucho que manejar. Así que me gustaría repasar algunos de los últimos cambios, si no le importa. Y comencemos con lo básico, ¿quién puede recibir el refuerzo de la vacuna contra la COVID-19?

Rebecca Weintraub: Muchas gracias. Recordemos que esto sucedió el jueves 21 de octubre cuando la directora de los CDC, Rochelle Walensky, anunció que las personas que habían recibido la vacuna Pfizer o Moderna contra la COVID-19 pueden recibir una vacuna de refuerzo seis meses o más después de su serie inicial, aquellos que son mayores de 65 años, los mayores de 18 que viven en un entorno de atención a largo plazo, los mayores de 18 que tienen trastornos médicos subyacentes y los que tienen 18 años y viven o trabajan en entornos de alto riesgo.

Además, se brindó orientación para los casi 15 millones de personas que recibieron la vacuna contra la COVID-19 de Johnson & Johnson. Y la recomendación fue una dosis de refuerzo para los mayores de 18 años y quienes hace dos meses o más que recibieron la primera inyección.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias por esa información. ¿Cuándo esperamos que se amplíe la disponibilidad de los refuerzos?

Rebecca Weintraub: El refuerzo está disponible en casi todos los sitios donde las personas reciben su serie principal. Como recordatorio, la dosis de Moderna, es una dosis más pequeña cuando se considera el refuerzo. Y creo que parte de la pregunta es cuándo se ampliará la elegibilidad a la población en general. Y estaremos esperando noticias de los CDC cuando eso suceda.

Bill Walsh: Correcto. Eso es lo que quise preguntar. Parece que es una situación en constante evolución. Y solo para aclarar, la FDA ha autorizado refuerzos para las tres principales vacunas, ¿verdad? Moderna, Pfizer y Johnson & Johnson, ¿es correcto?

Rebecca Weintraub: Eso es correcto. Exactamente. En realidad, se ofrece lo que llamamos una estrategia de inyección de refuerzo de combinación, por lo que uno puede recibir un refuerzo que es diferente a la vacuna que recibió inicialmente.

Bill Walsh: Correcto. Y entiendo que han aclarado que como política en el futuro está bien mezclar y combinar. ¿Deberían los consumidores tener alguna preocupación al respecto o hay algún beneficio particular de mezclar una con otra?

Rebecca Weintraub: Esa es una buena pregunta. Primero, recuerden, el comité aquí está siguiendo la ciencia. Y los primeros estudios han demostrado que la estrategia de mezclar y combinar no solo es segura y efectiva, sino que mezclar las vacunas también puede, según algunos datos iniciales, crear una respuesta más amplia y potente, que recibir múltiples dosis de una sola vacuna.

Y para que sepan, los estudios no mostraron un ganador claro. Entonces, la idea aquí es que uno hablará de esto con un proveedor de atención primaria, un mensajero confiable, por ejemplo. Pero recomendamos que aquellos que cumplan con los requisitos reciban una vacuna de refuerzo porque ofrecerá una respuesta de anticuerpos más fuerte sin importar la combinación.

Bill Walsh: Entendido. Gracias. Hablemos de niños. Esta semana, las autoridades de salud pública de EE.UU. finalizaron la aprobación de la vacuna Pfizer contra la COVID-19 para niños pequeños de 5 a 11 años. ¿En qué se diferencia esta vacuna de la de los niños mayores de 12 años? ¿Y qué deben saber los abuelos o los padres sobre las vacunas para niños pequeños?

Rebecca Weintraub: Esa es una gran pregunta. Tiene toda la razón. Entonces, tenemos un EUA para la vacuna Moderna, para el grupo de adolescentes para la vacuna Pfizer Y ahora tenemos la EUA para la vacuna Pfizer para niños de 5 a 11 años. Es una dosis menor. Y lo que está sucediendo, mientras hablamos, es que 25,000 sitios están recibiendo y muchos han recibido el suministro inicial de la vacuna para comenzar su distribución y colocar las inyecciones.

La mayoría de los sitios serán pediatras, un consultorio de medicina familiar, donde los niños ya están interactuando con su pediatra, ya han hablado de su vacunación de rutina. Y la esperanza es que los niños que pueden haber omitido una dosis de sus vacunas programadas también vengan, no solo por la vacuna contra la COVID-19, sino para ponerse al día si se omitió alguna o se pierde una visita de bienestar.

Esta es una carga de trabajo significativa para nuestros pediatras y nuestros médicos de medicina familiar. Solo queremos reconocer su papel en este momento, como educadores de vacunas, como una especie de puente de regreso al bienestar de nuestros niños.

Bill Walsh: Correcto. Estoy seguro de que sus teléfonos están sonando sin parar. Y dice usted que la EUA, antes de eso era la autorización de uso de emergencia de estas vacunas para niños pequeños, por parte de la FDA. Me pregunto si hemos visto efectos secundarios como los que vimos con los adultos, ¿son bastante similares?

Rebecca Weintraub: Lo que sabemos de los primeros datos es que existe un efecto secundario poco común pero significativo de inflamación, de miocarditis del músculo cardíaco. Lo que todos los padres están discutiendo ahora con sus pediatras y médicos de medicina familiar es la relación riesgo-beneficio. Sabemos que existe un riesgo considerable.

En realidad, si uno vive en un condado con una tasa de vacunación baja, su hijo no solo se infectará, sino que de hecho podría tener otros síntomas relacionados con la COVID-19 de larga duración. Entonces, se está haciendo ese cálculo y en consulta con esos pediatras, pero hay una declaración muy fuerte proveniente de la Asociación Estadounidense de Pediatría, de la Asociación Estadounidense de Medicina Familiar de que esta vacuna es segura y eficaz, y los riesgos son mínimos, en comparación con los grandes beneficios para los niños.

Bill Walsh: Bien, muchas gracias, Dra. Weintraub. Dr. Tan, volvamos a usted. ¿Por qué es tan importante en este clima particular tener la vacuna tradicional contra la gripe si uno está completamente vacunado contra la COVID-19? Y ¿qué tan efectiva es la vacuna contra la gripe este año?

Litjen Tan: Hola, Bill, gracias por esa pregunta. Si pudiera también aportar un poco a la respuesta de la Dra. Weintraub. El Comité Asesor de Prácticas de Vacunación del que fui miembro hace varios años, recientemente votó a favor de una recomendación para esos niños de 5 a 11 años. Y creo que una de las cosas que también es importante que los abuelos tengan en cuenta es que los incidentes de pericarditis o miocarditis, que es una inflamación del músculo cardíaco, parece ser más leve y parece estar en la población masculina más joven, generalmente 12 años o más.

Y de hecho, no se detectó ninguna señal en los estudios para los niños de 5 a 11 años, pero nuevamente, hay que considerar el hecho de que los estudios se realizaron en un grupo más pequeño de niños, y este es un evento tan raro. El estudio no tenía el poder para examinar eso, pero parece que es un riesgo mucho menor en los niños de 5 a 11 años, solo para tranquilizar a los abuelos con esa recomendación para los niños de 5 a 11 años de edad. Lo siento, Bill, por desviar un poco los datos, pero creo que fue...

Bill Walsh: No, no se preocupe, solo subraya la importancia de tener esa conversación con el pediatra sobre su hijo.

Litjen Tan: Sí, definitivamente. Definitivamente. Y en lo que respecta a la gripe, creo que es importante. Creo que muchos miembros de la audiencia lo saben, estamos hablando de dos enfermedades distintas. La gripe es totalmente independiente de la COVID-19. Entonces, incluso si uno está totalmente vacunado contra la COVID-19, que espero que todos lo estén y creo que es algo genial, y estén recibiendo sus refuerzos ahora, creo que eso no los protege de contraer la gripe.

Y como saben, la temporada de gripe está en camino. Y creo que una de las cosas que queremos tener en cuenta es que si uno no quiere protegerse contra la COVID-19, terminará teniendo graves consecuencias de la influenza, la gripe. Es muy importante vacunarse contra la gripe.

Y creo que hay una gran oportunidad aquí, Bill, como sabemos, casi el 90% de nuestra población de 65 años o más ya se ha vacunado contra la COVID-19 y está saliendo ahora mismo, y acabamos de hablar acerca de buscar el refuerzo. Entonces, una de las mejores cosas es que ahora que reciben ese refuerzo de la vacuna contra la COVID-19, pueden vacunarse contra la gripe al mismo tiempo.

Bill Walsh: Ha anticipado mi próxima pregunta, que es si recomienda que las personas se vacunen contra la gripe al mismo tiempo que reciben su refuerzo de la vacuna contra la COVID-19. ¿No le preocupan las interacciones entre esas dos vacunas?

Litjen Tan: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta, Bill. Y creo que recomiendo encarecidamente obtener ambas al mismo tiempo, los CDC también lo recomiendan. Y esa es una pregunta que estamos recibiendo mucho. De hecho, estamos escuchando que muchos de nuestros proveedores vienen a nosotros y nos preguntan, ¿cómo responderías a esa pregunta?

Y así, absolutamente, no hay una mayor reactividad. En otras palabras, no hay un aumento de los efectos secundarios, por falta de palabras más simples, al obtener ambas al mismo tiempo. Sabe, el efecto secundario que uno va a sentir, probablemente sea por el refuerzo de la vacuna contra la COVID-19. Esa es la vacuna más activa. Nuevamente, usando palabras más simples, esa es la vacuna que probablemente le dará la mayor parte del malestar, esos efectos secundarios que normalmente sentimos con la la vacuna contra la COVID-19.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Litjen Tan: Pero no hay efecto de acumulación, así que reciban ambas al mismo tiempo.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias, Dr. Tan. Dra. Goldman, permítame traerla a la conversación, con alergias estacionales y el regreso a la temporada de resfriados y gripe, ¿cómo distinguen las personas la COVID-19 del resfriado común? Y, ¿deberían las personas hacerse la prueba de COVID-19 de inmediato si sienten síntomas?

Jennifer Goldman: Por supuesto. Es la temporada de alergias en muchas partes del país y también del resfriado común que parece estar circulando a nivel local, donde estamos, en Florida, así como en muchas partes del país, especialmente a medida que cambia el clima y la gente está dentro más tiempo. Y los síntomas pueden ser similares. Entonces, con las alergias, vemos mucha picazón en los ojos, secreción nasal y estornudos.

Con el resfriado común, tenemos algunos de esos mismos síntomas, así como tos y dolor de garganta y, a veces, fiebre y escalofríos. Lo que a veces puede distinguir a la COVID-19 de las alergias y el resfriado común es que las personas pueden perder rápidamente el gusto o el olfato y, a veces, cierta dificultad para respirar, que es, por supuesto, el síntoma más peligroso de la COVID-19.

El problema es que hay mucha superposición y que no todos los que contraen COVID-19 perderán el gusto o el olfato y no todos tendrán dificultad para respirar. Entonces, lo que sugiero es que, primero, tenga una relación con un proveedor de atención primaria. Eso es probablemente lo más importante, para que uno pueda tener a alguien a quien llamar si tiene estos síntomas y que realmente le pueda recomendar qué hacer.

Pero recomiendo que las personas se hagan la prueba bastante temprano cuando tengan síntomas, especialmente si van a estar en contacto con otras personas porque simplemente uno no sabe si tiene COVID-19, y si va a estar en contacto con a otra persona, absolutamente podrías contagiarlo y simplemente no sabe qué tipo de condiciones de salud subyacentes pueden tener. Y es muy importante tener ese proveedor de atención primaria en el que puedas confiar y que puedas ir a hablar o llamar por teléfono, hacer una visita de telesalud para que pueda brindarte el asesoramiento personalizado que necesitas.

Bill Walsh: Dra. Goldman, muchas gracias. Y como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer una pregunta, por favor presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono. Y vamos a llegar a esas preguntas en vivo en breve, pero antes de hacerlo, quería traer a Nancy LeaMond, vicepresidenta ejecutiva y directora de promoción y participación aquí en AARP. Bienvenida, Nancy.

Nancy LeaMond: Hola, Bill, encantada de estar aquí. Gracias.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Encantados de tenerla. Es una época muy ajetreada. Además de compartir la mayor cantidad posible de información sobre el coronavirus, nos gustaría tomarnos unos minutos para actualizar a nuestros oyentes sobre los problemas oportunos que enfrenta el Congreso en un segmento que llamamos luchando por ustedes. Esta semana es importante, ya que están sucediendo muchas cosas en el Capitolio que afectarán a los adultos mayores. Nancy, ¿qué puede decirnos?

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, si mira las noticias, es posible que haya escuchado que la semana pasada, cuando la Administración anunció por primera vez un marco para su proyecto de ley de presupuesto, omitieron cualquier propuesta para abordar los altos precios de los medicamentos recetados. Este fue un acontecimiento impactante para nosotros, ya que una encuesta tras otra mostró que los adultos mayores de 50 años, y realmente las personas de todas las edades, apoyan abrumadoramente la reducción de los precios de los medicamentos recetados.

Bill Walsh: Entonces, ¿qué hizo AARP al respecto?

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, como sabe, Bill, soy una gran fanática del béisbol. Así que seguimos la sabiduría de Yogi Berra, quien una vez dijo: "No se acaba hasta que se acaba". Inmediatamente dijimos que estábamos indignados, que no es un término que usamos a la ligera en AARP, y les avisamos a nuestros socios. En la última semana, los activistas de AARP enviaron 300,000 correos electrónicos y realizaron más de 9,000 llamadas telefónicas al Capitolio, exigiendo que el Congreso cumpliera su promesa de reducir los precios de los medicamentos.

Y les puedo decir, nuestras voces se escucharon fuerte y claro, tanto aquí en Washington como en casa, en los socios, estados y distritos. Con ese gran impulso de los socios de AARP en todo el país, el Congreso llegó a un acuerdo esta semana para incluir los precios de los medicamentos en el proyecto de ley.

Bill Walsh: Está bien, bueno, ¿puede contarnos un poco sobre el trato y el precio de los medicamentos?

Nancy LeaMond: Claro. El acuerdo incluye las tres prioridades de AARP. Primero, Medicare podrá negociar los precios de un subconjunto de medicamentos costosos. En segundo lugar, las empresas farmacéuticas serán penalizadas si aumentan sus precios por encima de la inflación. Y tercero, los costos de bolsillo para los beneficiarios de la Parte D de Medicare tendrán un tope de $2,000 por año. Pero recuerden, todavía hay un largo camino por recorrer para que esto se convierta en ley y las grandes farmacéuticas no están contentas, por lo que AARP permanecerá en la lucha hasta que llegue al escritorio del presidente.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Entonces, ¿esta legislación tiene otras disposiciones que beneficiarían a los adultos mayores?

Nancy LeaMond: Sí. El proyecto de ley incluye una serie de disposiciones para ampliar la cobertura de salud y reducir el costo del seguro en virtud de la Ley del Cuidado de la Salud a Bajo Precio. Agrega un nuevo beneficio de audición a Medicare. Y nos complace particularmente que haya una gran inversión en servicios para el hogar y la comunidad que ayudarán a las personas a permanecer en sus hogares a medida que envejecen.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, esas son disposiciones importantes. ¿Hay otras cosas por las que estamos luchando?

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, además de cubrir los audífonos, le pedimos al Congreso que incluya beneficios de la vista y dentales en Medicare. Es hora de que Medicare cubra a la persona en su totalidad, como decimos, de la cabeza a los pies, y apoyamos la licencia pagada para ayudar a los cuidadores familiares que trabajan. Ambas son batallas realmente cuesta arriba, pero AARP también seguirá luchando por estos beneficios necesarios.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, vimos que, en los últimos días, la licencia pagada se incluyó de nuevo en la legislación. Así que tendremos que ver cómo se desarrolla eso. Nancy, ¿algún pensamiento final?

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, gracias de nuevo, Bill, por invitarme. Y gracias a todos los que estuvieron dispuestos a ayudarnos. Una de las mejores partes de nuestra democracia es que todos tenemos voz. Y cuando hablamos de un tema lo suficientemente fuerte, como lo hicimos con los medicamentos recetados, realmente podemos marcar la diferencia. Hay muchos pasos en este proceso. Por eso debemos estar atentos.

Y les pediremos a los socios de AARP que tomen medidas en el camino. La Cámara votará primero, tal vez incluso esta noche, y luego el Senado tomará su versión del proyecto de ley. Las diferencias deberán reconciliarse y aprobarse nuevamente antes de que el presidente pueda promulgar una ley. Así que tenemos una larga distancia que recorrer con esto.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, queda mucho por hacer. Gracias, Nancy, muchas gracias por esa actualización. Realmente lo apreciamos.

Nancy LeaMond: Gracias.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Ahora es el momento de abordar sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus con la Dra. Rebecca Weintraub, la Dra. Jennifer Goldman y el Dr. LJ Tan. Como recordatorio, presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta en vivo. Y si desean escuchar en español, presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

[En español]

Muy bien, ahora me gustaría traer a mi colega de AARP, Jesse Salinas, para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas hoy. Bienvenido, Jesse.

Jesse Salinas: Me alegro de estar aquí, Bill.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Jesse, ¿de quién es nuestra primera llamada?

Jesse Salinas: La primera persona que llama hoy es Linda de Virginia.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Linda, bienvenida al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

Linda: Sí, quería preguntar sobre la vacuna para los niños más pequeños, los niños de 5 a 11 y de 12 a 18 porque tengo una de cada uno. Y somos reacios a darles el período de inyección contra la COVID-19 porque no nos han mostrado de ninguna manera, si se ven afectados negativamente por estas inyecciones, cómo se pueden arreglar o tratarlos para que vuelvan a sus condiciones normales.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Linda: ¿Cuánto riesgo corremos al aplicar las vacunas a bebés o niños pequeños? Quiero decir que es arriesgado, ¿no?

Bill Walsh: Sabe... Sí, yo mismo escuché mucho esa pregunta, y apuesto a que está en la mente de muchos padres. Dra. Weintraub, me pregunto cómo respondería a Linda y otras personas que tienen preguntas similares sobre la seguridad y los efectos a largo plazo de las vacunas para los niños.

Rebecca Weintraub: Sí, en realidad podría ceder la pregunta al Dr. Tan en este caso.

Bill Walsh: Está bien, Dr. Tan, ¿quiere responder esa pregunta?

Litjen Tan: Por supuesto. Puedo contestar esta pregunta. Solo diré que los datos que hay sobre los niños de 5 a 11 años, y recuerden, las vacunas solo están autorizadas desde los 5 años de edad, han demostrado que esta vacuna no solo es increíblemente segura en esa población, esta vacuna también es increíblemente eficaz en esa población.

Y creo que no es solo la experiencia que hemos tenido con niños de 5 a 11 años claramente, es un estudio que hemos hecho con ese grupo de edad, sino que también quiero recordarle a todos que cientos y cientos de millones de dosis de esta vacuna contra la COVID-19 se han administrado en todo el país. Probablemente sea la vacuna más estudiada del mundo con respecto a la seguridad de las vacunas.

No digo que las otras no estén bien estudiadas, pero esta, en particular, se ha estudiado mucho. Y sabemos mucho sobre la seguridad de esta vacuna. Y yo personalmente tengo tres hijos y mis tres hijos están vacunados. Entonces, creo que parto del ejemplo, espero que eso ayude a quien llamó, Linda. Gracias.

Bill Walsh: Sí, y Dra. Goldman, me pregunto si desea participar siendo médica de atención primaria, debe estar escuchando algunas de estas mismas preocupaciones.

Jennifer Goldman: Por supuesto que sí. Y creo que para familias como Linda, es tan importante tener ese proveedor de atención primaria de confianza que ella y su familia puedan visitar y que los niños vayan a visitar para asegurarse de que puedan tener esta información, personalizada para las necesidades de la familia.

Pero nuevamente, los efectos secundarios de la COVID-19, el virus de la COVID-19, son extremadamente graves y han sido muy graves para los niños pequeños, incluidos procesos de enfermedades inflamatorias que han llevado a los niños al hospital en todo el país y en todo el mundo. Entonces, realmente, lo que vemos cuando se trata de vacunación, es prevención.

Es una forma de darle al cuerpo un poco de información sobre el virus antes de enfermarse realmente, para que el cuerpo pueda fortalecer su sistema inmunitario y realmente evitar enfermar gravemente. Los efectos secundarios de la vacuna contra la COVID-19, como mencionaron el Dr. Tan y la Dra. Weintraub, son extremadamente raros y muy bajos.

Por eso, es muy importante sopesar los riesgos y los beneficios como lo haría con cualquier otra vacuna para niños pequeños. Y esta es realmente la razón por la que todos apoyamos firmemente las vacunas para niños. Es la mejor manera de mantenerse uno y su familia a salvo durante la temporada navideña y a largo plazo.

Bill Walsh: Y a diferencia de muchas otras vacunas, esta en particular, no contiene virus vivos. ¿Es eso correcto?

Jennifer Goldman: Eso es correcto. Esta no es una vacuna de virus vivo. En realidad, es solo información, información del ARN mensajero del propio virus. Y le da al cuerpo la capacidad de crear esos anticuerpos tan importantes para luchar contra la COVID-19 para que uno y su familia no se enfermen.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias a todos nuestros expertos por opinar sobre eso. Jesse, tomemos otra pregunta.

Jesse Salinas: Sí, nuestra próxima llamada será de Hattie en California.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Hattie, bienvenida al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

Hattie: Gracias por atender mi llamada. Mi pregunta es, tengo 71 años y me han vacunado por completo contra la culebrilla, contra la gripe, contra la neumonía y el refuerzo contra la COVID-19 de Pfizer. ¿Cuándo podremos quitarnos estas mascarillas y exponernos incluso a aquellos que no se han vacunado completamente?

Bill Walsh: Esa es una pregunta interesante. Dra. Weintraub, ¿quiere opinar sobre eso? Parece que Hattie recibió todas las vacunas que debería recibir, ¿cuándo puede quitarse la mascarilla y volver a la vida normal?

Rebecca Weintraub: Sí. Bueno, primero, quiero decir, felicitaciones, usted es un ejemplo del trabajo que se necesita para administrar su salud y bienestar en un momento como este. Así que gracias por recibir todas estas vacunas, tanto para protegerse a si misma como la transmisión decreciente a sus seres queridos en su comunidad en general.

Bueno, los CDC continúan recomendando que aquellas personas, incluidos niños de dos años en adelante, usen mascarilla, por ejemplo, si van a estar con muchos invitados en algún entorno, y los invitados que pueden tener un mayor riesgo de enfermedades graves, un sistema inmunitario debilitado o no estar vacunados.

Y me pregunto, si está pensando en planificar el Día de Acción de Gracias, hay muchas preguntas sobre eso, dónde... Sí... Hay una recomendación de planear para grupos más pequeños este año. Gracias por recibir el refuerzo. También recomendamos a las personas que, si pueden, compren pruebas rápidas, salen $24 por paquete.

Pero sabemos que esto posiblemente podría prevenir un brote de COVID-19 en su familia, llamando a sus familiares y alentándolos a vacunarse. Y si es posible, si no pueden tener una reunión al aire libre y tienen una reunión en el interior, abrir las ventanas y también es posible comprar un filtro.

Se les llama filtro de aire de partículas de alta eficiencia, filtro HEPA, que reduce la cantidad de virus en el aire, si está en circulación. Así que gracias por todo lo que está haciendo. Y les pediremos que tengan mucha paciencia hasta que tengamos un porcentaje mayor de la población vacunada.

Bill Walsh: Sí, paciencia en la prevención. Parece ser la historia de nuestra vida en estos días, ¿verdad? Está bien, Jesse. Tomemos otra llamada.

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada será de Jane en California.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Jane, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

Jane: Sí. Me pregunto acerca de una persona de 75 años, similar a la persona que llamó anteriormente, con las vacaciones y la gente que viene, estoy completamente vacunada y los parientes de fuera de la ciudad están completamente vacunados, que van a venir y quedarse en mi casa.

No he tenido contacto con ellos, contacto directo. Y me pregunto, dado que todos estamos completamente vacunados, ¿hay alguna precaución específica que debamos tomar al reunirnos? Saldremos a cenar y estaremos en mi casa y cumpliremos con todos los requisitos de uso de mascarilla.

Y probablemente usaré una mascarilla la mayor parte del tiempo cuando salgamos, pero tener gente, gente nueva, incorporada a mi burbuja familiar, no estoy muy segura de cómo hacerlo. Y especialmente siendo que se quedarán a pasar la noche, se quedarán un par de semanas, si hay algo especial que debamos hacer.

Bill Walsh: Sí. Bueno, gracias por eso Jane. Creo que esa es una pregunta en la mente de muchas personas. Y, Dra. Weintraub, le había dado algunos consejos a nuestros oyentes anteriores. ¿Hay algún consejo adicional que le daría a Jane o a otras personas?

Rebecca Weintraub: Sí, bueno, primero, Jane, muchas gracias por planificar esto. Esto es... Es una responsabilidad importante cuando juntas dos burbujas. Y entonces, ya sabe, una de las recomendaciones que continúan hoy es comprar una prueba rápida. Entonces, tengan ese paquete de dos pruebas rápidas a su disposición y pruebe rápidamente a sus invitados antes de que ingresen a su hogar. Eso es unos 15 minutos antes.

Piense en comprar el filtro HEPA si tiene ese tipo de recursos, sobre todo en esos primeros días de no saber y también para estar comprobando que tienen los refuerzos, al igual que sus familiares. Así que gracias por tomar estas precauciones. Sabemos que esta es la manera en que la gente está acostumbrada a celebrar las fiestas, recomendamos que, en cierto sentido, si van a cenar con otras personas, sigan considerando tener grupos más pequeños de personas juntas. Como sabemos, desafortunadamente, las infecciones posvacunación están ocurriendo incluso con aquellos que han sido completamente vacunados.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias, Dra. Weintraub. Jesse, tomemos otra llamada.

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada será desde Facebook. Y es de Kathleen en Ohio. Y sigue preguntando: "Sigo escuchando acerca de muertes por la vacuna en sí. ¿Cuántas muertes por la vacuna ha habido realmente?"

Bill Walsh: Dra. Goldman, ¿quiere responder eso? Quizás el Dr. Tan también.

Jennifer Goldman: Es una buena pregunta. Nuevamente, en términos de reacciones adversas de la vacuna contra la COVID-19, son extremadamente, extremadamente raras. Algunos de esos efectos secundarios de cualquier vacuna pueden ser anafilaxia, reacción aguda o reacción alérgica grave al componente de la vacuna.

Pueden ocurrir algunos trastornos sanguíneos raros, coagulación de la sangre o plaquetas bajas que pueden ocurrir. Y luego, como resultado, muertes extremadamente raras, o al menos entre las personas que recibieron una vacuna contra la COVID-19. De hecho, los informes de muerte entre las personas que recibieron una vacuna contra la COVID-19 es solo del 0.0022%. Y eso es extremadamente bajo.

Se administraron más de 400 millones de dosis de la vacuna contra la COVID-19 en Estados Unidos. Y ha habido informes de que, nuevamente el 0.0022% de las personas que recibieron una vacuna contra la COVID-19 murieron, potencialmente como resultado de alguna reacción alérgica o respuesta a eso. Espero que eso responda a la pregunta de la oyente.

Los informes de reacciones adversas después de la vacunación son realmente raros. Y una de las cosas maravillosas del programa de vacunación es que el Sistema de notificación de eventos adversos de las vacunas, o VAERS, es un programa en el que cualquier persona puede informar eventos adversos en cualquier momento. Y los CDC investigan y la FDA examina todos y cada uno de estos informes.

Y así es como sabemos que hay un porcentaje tan bajo de personas que tienen un problema con esta vacuna. Y si compara la cantidad de muertes por COVID-19 en Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo, realmente no hay comparación. Y creo que la seguridad de la vacuna habla por sí sola.

Bill Walsh: Se ha pasado otro hito sombrío de 750,000 muertes en este país. Así que gracias por eso, Dra. Goldman. Jessie, tomemos otra llamada.

Jesse Salinas: Sí, esta viene de Katherine en Georgia. Y ella dice: "Sufrí de una alergia severa, así que solo recibí la primera inyección. ¿Qué consejo le darían a alguien que solo ha recibido su primera dosis de la vacuna y está preocupado por recibir la segunda?"

Bill Walsh: Dr. Tan, ¿quiere encargarse de eso?

Litjen Tan: Seguro. De nuevo, necesitamos saber si cuando dice alergias graves y solo recibió la primera inyección, ¿tuvo una reacción alérgica a esa primera inyección porque ella en general tiene alergias graves? Porque si tiene alergias graves pero no tuvo una reacción alérgica a esa primera inyección, debería ir a recibir la segunda.

Si tuvo una reacción alérgica a esa primera inyección, debería ir a hablar con su proveedor de atención médica. Probablemente no podrá recibir esa segunda inyección, pero aún así, la instaría nuevamente, como dijo la Dra. Goldman, a hablar con un médico de atención primaria de confianza que pueda guiar a la persona o guiar a creo, Katherine, si debería recibir la segunda inyección.

Bill Walsh: Está bien.

Litjen Tan: También me gustaría referirme a algunos de los médicos aquí.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Dra. Goldman, Dra. Weintraub, ¿tienen algo que quisieran agregar?

Jennifer Goldman: Claro. Estoy completamente de acuerdo con el Dr. Tan en que esto es un problema de salud personalizado y algo sobre lo que Katherine realmente debería hablar con su proveedor de atención primaria. Solo haré un comentario sobre la reactividad cruzada de las alergias y para las personas que son alérgicas a los alimentos, o incluso a otros medicamentos, o incluso a veces a otras vacunas que realmente no tienen un alto riesgo de cruzamiento para tener una reacción alérgica a la vacuna contra la COVID-19.

Realmente uno tiene que haber tenido una reacción alérgica al componente de la vacuna contra la COVID-19. Pero nuevamente, para toda esa información personalizada, les sugiero que hablen con su proveedor de atención primaria. Y luego, para aquellos que solo han recibido la primera de dos inyecciones contra la COVID-19, tienen un mayor riesgo de enfermarse y, por lo tanto, no se los considera completamente protegidos. Y nuevamente, hablen con su proveedor de atención primaria sobre la posibilidad de recibir esa segunda dosis.

Bill Walsh: Bien, muchas gracias por eso. Y gracias por todas tus preguntas. En breve, responderemos más preguntas. Y recuerden, si desean hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono, o déjenla en la sección de comentarios en Facebook o YouTube. Y si desean escuchar este programa en español, presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

[En español]

Está bien. Ahora volvamos a nuestros expertos. Dra. Goldman, volvamos a usted nuevamente. La desinformación ha constituido un obstáculo real durante la pandemia. La facilidad y la velocidad con la que se comparte la información falsa hace que sea difícil controlarla y averiguar qué está bien y qué está mal. ¿Cómo responde a las sugerencias de inmunidad natural, microchips incrustados o argumentos de que las vacunas no han sido probadas?

Jennifer Goldman: Sí, y escuchamos estas preguntas todo el tiempo de nuestros pacientes, de nuestra comunidad. Y es por eso que, nuevamente, tener una fuente confiable de información que es el proveedor de atención primaria es tan importante aquí. Cuando se trata de inmunidad natural, de hecho, tenemos más datos al respecto.

Y muy, muy recientemente, se acaba de publicar en el Semanal de Morbilidad y Mortalidad de los CDC que aquellos que han tenido una infección, una infección por el virus COVID-19 y no han recibido la vacuna, en realidad tenían cinco veces más probabilidades de contraer COVID-19 nuevamente en comparación con aquellos que tenían el virus y luego terminaron recibiendo la vacuna.

Entonces, la inmunidad natural simplemente no brinda el mismo nivel de protección o la protección duradera que la vacunación. Y eso es algo que realmente recomiendo encarecidamente a cualquiera que haya tenido COVID-19 y que, con suerte, se haya recuperado bien de esta enfermedad, que realmente vaya y se vacune.

Puede recibir la vacuna tan pronto como 10 días después de la infección, a menos que haya recibido anticuerpos monoclonales u otros medicamentos para tratar la COVID-19 de forma aguda, entonces tendrá que esperar 90 días después de la infección. Con respecto a la pregunta sobre los microchips incrustados, no hay absolutamente ningún microchip incrustado o materia en las vacunas contra la COVID-19.

Y luego, con respecto a los argumentos de que las vacunas no han sido probadas, ciertamente entiendo la preocupación, estamos en medio de una pandemia global que surgió extremadamente rápido, como lo hacen las pandemias. Y, por supuesto, los científicos e investigadores involucrados en la creación real de esta vacuna no tuvieron mucho tiempo para hacerlo porque, una vez más, lo peligrosa que se había vuelto esta pandemia y cuántas personas han muerto.

Sin embargo, dicho esto, la investigación sobre el ARNm con fines de vacunación y otros fines ha existido durante más de 10 años. Y estas vacunas pasaron por el mismo tipo de pruebas rigurosas que otras vacunas. Y entonces, realmente, el argumento de que estas vacunas no han sido probadas simplemente no es cierto.

Y nuevamente, es tan importante con estas preguntas y muchas más preguntas que surgen de lo que todos están escuchando, ya sea en las redes sociales, o en las estaciones de noticias, etcétera, tener realmente esa fuente confiable de información, que sea el proveedor de atención primaria. Realmente no puedo enfatizar lo suficiente lo importante que es esa relación de confianza a largo plazo para realmente obtener las respuestas a estas preguntas y otras.

Bill Walsh: Está bien, Dra. Goldman, gracias por la respuesta tan clara. Nosotros realmente lo apreciamos. Como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, en nuestro próximo programa, el 18 de noviembre a la 1:00 p.m., tendremos como invitado al cirujano general de EE.UU., Vivek H Murthy, que nos acompañará y responderá sus preguntas.

Así que asegúrense de sintonizarnos el 18 de noviembre a la 1:00 p.m., hora del este. Volvamos a usted, Dr. Tan. Sabe, se ha dicho que en algún momento tendremos una vacuna anual contra la COVID-19 al igual que tenemos una para la gripe. ¿Comparte esa opinión y cómo ve que funcionaría?

Litjen Tan: Oh, gracias, Bill. Bueno, esa es una gran pregunta. Y es difícil porque no creo que tengamos esa bola de cristal todavía. Creo que obviamente hay algunas cosas que estamos buscando en términos de datos para decidir si vamos a tener que revacunar cada año contra la COVID-19. Entonces, lo que estamos viendo, por ejemplo, es cuánto dura la inmunidad después de este tercer refuerzo, ¿verdad?

Recuerden, acabamos de comenzar el proceso de refuerzo y no sabemos cuánto dura la inmunidad. Eso primero. Así que eso determinará si tenemos que volver todos los años o no. Otra cosa será que el virus continúe evolucionando. Y esta es la razón por la que seguimos hablando de lo importante que es que las personas se vacunen, porque este virus, como cualquier virus, depende del huésped, que somos nosotros, para reproducirse.

Y es solo cuando se reproducen que pueden generar las mutaciones que les permiten evolucionar más allá de nosotros, evolucionar más allá de nuestro sistema inmunitario. Y así, cuanto más vacunamos a la gente, menos posibilidades tenemos de que este virus evolucione, así de simple. Y entonces tendremos que mirar y ver cómo continúa evolucionando este virus, y hay nuevas variantes que aparecen.

Hablamos un poco sobre eso antes, que posiblemente requerirá una revacunación. Esa es la otra cosa que estamos viendo, ¿verdad? Y pienso que lo último también es que, algunas personas dirán, ¿qué pasa si uno está completamente vacunado, pero no propaga la enfermedad?

En otras palabras, no tiene la capacidad de volver a infectarse o no tiene la capacidad de... Aunque se vuelva a infectar, no tiene la capacidad de ser contagioso. Ese es otro factor que la gente comenzará a considerar para decidir si se requiere o no una revacunación o una vacunación anual. Pero creo que si...

De nuevo, creo que es una pregunta que necesita de una bola de cristal y no tengo la respuesta perfecta. Solo les di algunos factores que todos estamos investigando en este momento y tendremos esos datos a medida que avanzamos lentamente. Creo que es importante recordar que la COVID-19 también es una enfermedad muy nueva.

Por otro lado, si seguimos ese camino, creo que será una de esas vacunas que tendremos, tendremos recomendaciones y si es o no una vacuna anual o cada dos años, lo que sea, y de nuevo, recae en nuestro maravilloso sistema de atención primaria -nuestro estresado pero maravilloso sistema de atención primaria- para ayudarnos a implementarlo.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Dr. Tan, y Dra. Goldman, escuchamos la pregunta anterior de uno de nuestros oyentes sobre las alergias. Y me pregunto si tenemos una guía clara sobre las complicaciones relacionadas con la alergia para la vacuna tradicional contra la gripe, las vacunas contra la COVID-19, las vacunas de refuerzo contra la COVID-19. ¿Y hay alergias conocidas por las que alguien deba rechazar una vacuna o simplemente consultar con su médico personal? ¿Cuál es su consejo, Dr. Tan, y luego tal vez, Dra. Goldman?

Litjen Tan: Empecemos con la gripe. Creo que ese es el tema del que la gente ha hablado mucho, ¿verdad? Y creo que ahora se ha entendido mucho sobre la vacuna contra la gripe y sobre las alergias al huevo. Y, de hecho, ahora, las alergias al huevo no se consideran una, lo que llamamos, una contraindicación, que significa que no debe vacunarse contra la gripe.

De hecho, ahora recomiendan que solo si ha tenido una alergia grave al huevo debe hablar con su médico porque es probable que aún pueda recibir la vacuna contra la gripe, pero en esas circunstancias, obviamente, querríamos que se vacunase bajo la supervisión de un médico. Entonces, en este momento, las únicas personas que no deberían vacunarse contra la gripe serían niños menores de seis meses, porque son demasiado jóvenes; si tiene una alergia conocida y de riesgo mortal a un ingrediente de las vacunas antigripales que no sea el huevo, correcto; y luego la otra es si ha tenido una reacción grave anterior a una dosis de la vacuna antigripal, debe ir a hablar con su médico.

No significa que no deba recibir la siguiente dosis, la vacuna de la próxima temporada, pero al menos debe hablar primero con alguien al respecto. Por lo tanto, las vacunas contra la gripe guardan una gran cantidad de datos con respecto a las alergias. Y voy a compartir algo de espacio aquí con la Dra. Goldman, si quisiera hablar un poco sobre las alergias en la vacuna contra la COVID-19, obviamente existe una posible alergia al PEG y al polisorbato.

Bill Walsh: ¿Dra. Goldman?

Jennifer Goldman: Por supuesto. Con respecto a las alergias a la vacuna contra la COVID-19 y esas contraindicaciones absolutas, es decir, alergias específicas conocidas, en las que alguien debería rechazar la vacuna, o al menos hablar con su médico personal al respecto. El primero sería el polietilenglicol o PEG, y se encuentra en la vacuna Pfizer y Moderna.

Entonces, si usted o alguien que conoce es alérgico al polietilenglicol y ha tenido una reacción anafiláctica severa o una reacción alérgica severa a eso, entonces no deben recibir la vacuna Pfizer o Moderna. Sin embargo, deben hablar con su médico sobre si pueden o no recibir la vacuna Johnson & Johnson porque no hay polietilenglicol en la J&J.

Y luego, con la vacuna Johnson & Johnson, para aquellos que son alérgicos al polisorbato, que está nuevamente en la vacuna Johnson & Johnson, entonces no deberían recibir la vacuna Johnson & Johnson. Sin embargo, no hay polisorbato en las vacunas de Pfizer o Moderna. Y nuevamente, si uno tiene alergias severas a la vacuna, específicamente a una vacuna contra la COVID-19, debe hablar con su médico acerca de si es seguro que reciba otra inyección o una vacuna diferente.

Y, nuevamente, alguien que conozca su historia a largo plazo y sus reacciones a otros medicamentos o alimentos o cualquier tipo de alergias que pueda tener, pero de nuevo, voy a enfatizar que además de esas dos alergias específicas al polietilenglicol en Pfizer y Moderna, y al polisorbato en J&J no hay, no hay evidencia de que aquellos que tienen alergias graves a los alimentos, o a otros medicamentos tendrían un problema con recibir una vacuna contra la COVID-19. Pero, nuevamente, todos deben consultar a su médico de atención primaria personal sobre este tema.

Bill Walsh: Y según tengo entendido, después de que se les haya administrado la vacuna, hay un período de espera para ver si hay una reacción alérgica. ¿Es así?

Jennifer Goldman: Así es, Bill. Y hay un período de espera de 15 minutos, que es estándar después de la administración de la vacuna, pero para aquellos que tenían antecedentes de reacciones alérgicas o que tienen otros trastornos médicos crónicos que se considerarían de mayor riesgo, después de una vacuna, los mantenemos en observación durante 30 minutos después.

Bill Walsh: Entendido. Bueno. Muchas gracias por eso. Ahora es el momento de abordar más preguntas con la Dra. Rebecca Weintraub, la Dra. Jennifer Goldman y el Dr. LJ Tan. Por favor presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para hacer su pregunta en vivo. Jesse, ¿a quién tenemos ahora en la línea?

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada será de Cheryl en California.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Cheryl, bienvenida al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

Cheryl: Hola, sí. Hola, lo siento.

Bill Walsh: Adelante.

Cheryl: Sí. Hola, soy Cheryl. Gracias por esta información. Tengo 58 años y estoy inmunodeprimida. Y tuve COVID-19 el año pasado y me recuperé bien. No fue un caso grave. Y también estoy completamente vacunada desde mayo de este año. Entonces, mi pregunta es, ya que puedo haber desarrollado algunas inmunidades por haberlo tenido, y luego también estoy completamente vacunada, no sé si realmente necesito ese refuerzo, o cómo responderían ustedes para aconsejarme sobre si aún así debería recibir el refuerzo.

Bill Walsh: Esa es una excelente pregunta, Cheryl. Preguntémosle a la Dra. Weintraub sobre eso. ¿Dra. Weintraub?

Rebecca Weintraub: Claro. En primer lugar, Cheryl, gracias por hacer todo lo que ha hecho para mantenerse a salvo en medio de la pandemia. Y sabemos que para las personas inmunodeprimidas, cada día ha sido más difícil controlar el riesgo. Y primero le pedimos que consulte con tu proveedor. Y hemos hablado muchas veces aquí sobre un mensajero de confianza.

Sabemos que es posible que no todos tengan acceso a proveedores de atención primaria, así que avísenos si podemos ayudarla si no tiene uno. Y creo que la consulta es bastante esencial, pero los datos son bastante claros, especialmente para aquellos que están inmunodeprimidos recibir esa tercera dosis sumará su protección y disminuirá su riesgo. Y una vez más, todavía estamos en medio de la variante delta, que sabemos que se transmite más rápido y de manera más amplia. Así que recomiendo consultar con el proveedor, pero parece que sería una buena candidata para una tercera dosis.

Bill Walsh: Bien, muchas gracias, Dra. Weintraub. Jesse, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada será de Teresa de Nueva York.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Teresa, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Continúe con su pregunta. Hola, Teresa, continúe con su pregunta. Está bien, parece que podemos tener...

Teresa: Hola.

Bill Walsh: Oh, hola, Teresa, siga adelante con su pregunta.

Teresa: Sí. Mi pregunta era, tengo más de 65 años y planeo recibir un refuerzo, pero me pregunto por qué el refuerzo de Moderna es menos potente, supongo, que el de Pfizer.

Bill Walsh: Dra. Weintraub, usted mencionó la efectividad de varios refuerzos anteriormente. ¿Quieres explicar en esta también?

Rebecca Weintraub: Claro. Me disculpo, no sé con qué fuente de información está hablando, pero le recomendamos absolutamente si puede acceder a un refuerzo, recibirlo, y no hay datos claros de que un refuerzo sea necesariamente más fuerte que el otro.

Pero si uno ha comenzado recibiendo los refuerzos de ARNm, obviamente recomendamos, si no tuvo una reacción a la Pfizer, sería conveniente obtener una tercera dosis de Pfizer. Algunas personas van en esa dirección, algunas personas prefieren la combinación, que si uno comenzó con Pfizer entonces ahora siga con Moderna. Entonces, no necesariamente hay datos claros, pero los datos son claros de que un refuerzo ayudará a continuar su producción y disminuir su riesgo.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Y como seguimiento de eso, al principio, había escasez de la vacuna, por lo que la gente realmente no tenía muchas opciones. En términos generales, ¿las personas tendrán la opción de elegir qué refuerzo les gustaría recibir?

Rebecca Weintraub: Sí, esa es una buena pregunta. El equipo de vaccinefinder.org, que se convirtió en vaccines.gov. Uno puede ir a ese sitio y ver todos los sitios de vacunación activos en Estados Unidos y ver si tienen Pfizer, Moderna o J&J, por ejemplo, en existencias ese día. Por lo tanto, se puede verificar absolutamente si uno y su proveedor tienen, por ejemplo, una preferencia dentro de su área, esa información está disponible en vaccines.gov

Bill Walsh: Vaccines.gov Muchas gracias. Y Dr. Tan, ¿también quería decir algo sobre eso?

Litjen Tan: Oh, sí, solo iba a decir, si la pregunta también era sobre el hecho de que el refuerzo que se recomienda de Moderna es la mitad de la dosis de la serie primaria original. Si esa es la pregunta, la razón es porque a medida que aprendemos más sobre la vacuna, la compañía se ha dado cuenta de que reducir a la mitad la dosis era más que suficiente para proporcionar la respuesta que se necesitaba en el refuerzo, y esa era la razón.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias por esa aclaración. Volvamos a las líneas.

Jesse, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

Jesse Salinas: Vamos a traer a Paul de Vermont.

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

Paul: Sí. Hola, tengo una pregunta sobre si uno contrajo COVID-19 y termina bastante enfermo en casa o ingresado en el hospital. Me pregunto, se ha hablado mucho sobre las diferentes terapias disponibles durante los últimos meses. ¿Cuál debo pedir? Algunos de ellos, es importante recibirlos lo antes posible, ¿cuál debo pedir? ¿Y esto depende de si estoy vacunado o no?

Bill Walsh: Sí, es una buena pregunta, Paul. Y recientemente ha habido grandes avances y terapias. Dra. Goldman, ¿quiere abordar eso?

Jennifer Goldman: Claro. Gracias por la pregunta, Paul. Sabe, lo más importante es tener acceso al tratamiento con anticuerpos monoclonales. Si uno contrae COVID-19, nuevamente, se administra un tratamiento con anticuerpos monoclonales para evitar que realmente sea hospitalizado o se enferme lo suficiente como para ser hospitalizado, y funciona muy bien.

Y hemos visto que el acceso a los anticuerpos monoclonales se ha expandido en todo el país. Por eso, definitivamente yo recomendaría como médico de atención primaria, siempre recomiendo que, en cada caso específico, tan pronto como uno se infecta con COVID-19, se comunique con su proveedor de atención primaria, puede tener una visita de telesalud con muchos proveedores.

Ya sabe, la telesalud en todo el país se ha vuelto rápidamente disponible durante la pandemia. Y esa es una excelente manera para que su proveedor lo oriente hacia los mejores recursos. Ahora bien, si termina lo suficientemente enfermo como para ser internado en el hospital, hay varias terapias diferentes que se han utilizado para la COVID-19, pero no les recomiendo que soliciten una específica.

Y eso es porque con sus condiciones específicas, recomiendo que sea una toma de decisiones compartida con sus proveedores, con los médicos del hospital, si la situación lo amerita. Pero lo que diría primero es nuevamente, si uno no se ha vacunado, considere vacunarse contra la COVID-19 para que pueda prevenir esa infección grave en primer lugar.

La segunda cosa es que, si se infecta, llame a su proveedor de atención primaria y busque lugares donde pueda recibir una inyección o infusión de anticuerpos monoclonales, si su trastorno lo amerita. Y luego, lo tercero es, si está lo suficientemente enfermo como para tener que ir al hospital, asegúrese de ir.

Esto no es algo que uno pueda esperar en casa, especialmente si su nivel de oxígeno baja o si tiene problemas para respirar. Y cuando acuda al hospital, asegúrese de consultar con los médicos de allí las mejores recomendaciones para usted.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Dra. Goldman, muchas gracias. Jesse, tomemos otra llamada.

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima llamada, Bill, será de Donald en Colorado.

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

Donald: Sí, tengo 89 años. Tuve Guillain-Barré. Pude recibir las dos inyecciones de Moderna con pequeños problemas, pero me preocupa el refuerzo.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Dra. Weintraub, ¿quiere intentar responder esa pregunta?

Rebecca Weintraub: Sí, claro. Bueno, primero, gracias. Me alegro de que esté a salvo y en casa ahora mismo. Y la buena noticia es que no estamos viendo ninguna acumulación o efectos secundarios diferentes de la serie primaria frente a los del refuerzo. Entonces, una vez más, siempre recomendamos que se comunique con su proveedor de atención primaria para obtener asesoramiento de alguien que lo conoce bien y lo conoce longitudinalmente, pero los datos parecen establecer que si recibe la tercera dosis tendría un perfil de efectos secundarios similar, si recuerda, de su primera o segunda dosis.

Y alguien en su situación, considerando su edad y sus comorbilidades, tener un refuerzo lo mantendrá protegido para que no se infecte y también disminuye el riesgo de contagiar a su familia y comunidad en general. Así que lo animo mucho a que se ponga un refuerzo.

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Muchas gracias. Tomemos otra pregunta. ¿Jesse?

Jesse Salinas: Nuestra próxima pregunta será de Donna en Míchigan.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Donna, bienvenida a nuestro programa. Hola, Donna, siga adelante con su pregunta.

Donna: Está bien, tuve COVID-19 en noviembre pasado. ¿Puedo contagiarme de nuevo? He recibido mis inyecciones, he recibido mi refuerzo, tengo todo. ¿Puedo contagiarme de nuevo?

Bill Walsh: Oh, esa es una pregunta justa. Dr. Tan, ¿quiere abordar eso?

Litjen Tan: Sí, me ocuparé de eso. Sabe, esta es una de las razones por las que los CDC todavía recomiendan usar mascarilla incluso para aquellos que están completamente vacunados. Y la razón es que, con esta variante delta, tan contagiosa, hay datos de que, de hecho, aún puede contagiarla de nuevo. Y creo que esta es una de nuestras razones por las que les recordamos a todos que continúen usando mascarilla, incluso si están completamente vacunados, especialmente si están adentro.

Así que desearía que las noticias fueran mejores, pero continuaremos monitoreando después del refuerzo. El refuerzo podría darnos buenas noticias. Algunos datos provenientes de Israel ya han sugerido que tener esa tercera dosis de refuerzo está reduciendo la llamada infección posvacunación, pero aún es muy temprano.

Bill Walsh: ¿Sería correcto decir, Dr. Tan, que si Donna volviera a contraer COVID-19, es probable que sea menos grave que en ausencia de una vacuna o refuerzo?

Litjen Tan: Sí, definitivamente. Y creo que la Dra. Goldman va a intervenir en eso.

Bill Walsh: ¿Dra. Goldman? ¿Dra. Weintraub?

Litjen Tan: Oh, Dra. Weintraub, lo siento. Adelante.

Rebecca Weintraub: Sí. Sí. Solo quiero compartir que los datos son claros, aquellos que han sido completamente vacunados y reciben el refuerzo tienen un período infeccioso más corto. Quiero decir, incluso si uno se infecta con una infección posvacunación, estará infectado durante menos tiempo y en realidad tendrá una carga viral disminuida, literalmente lo que hay en el virus que está en su nariz. Así que todas esas son buenas noticias. Esto nos recuerda que los refuerzos lo protegen a uno y a sus seres queridos en ese período, si ocurriera una infección.

Bill Walsh: Muchas gracias. A todos. Esta ha sido una discusión realmente informativa y gracias a todos nuestros expertos por responder a nuestras preguntas. Y gracias a nuestros socios, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP por participar en el debate de hoy. AARP, una organización con membresía, sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos 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 evitar que contagien a otras personas mientras se cuidan. Todos los recursos a los que se hizo referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, se podrán encontrar en aarp.org/elcoronavirus a partir de mañana 5 de noviembre.

Una vez más, esa dirección web es aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Vayan allí si su pregunta no fue respondida y encontrarán las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares. Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo hoy que puedan ayudarlos a ustedes y a sus seres queridos a mantenerse saludables.

Y no olviden unirse a nuestro próximo programa, el 18 de noviembre a la 1:00 p.m. para participar en un evento especial en vivo donde nos acompañará el cirujano general de Estados Unidos. Como recordatorio, el número de teléfono para ese evento es 855-274-9507, 855-274-9507.

Esperamos que nos acompañen. El cirujano general atenderá nuestras llamadas, pero lo que es más importante, atenderá las llamadas de todos ustedes y las responderá en el programa. Esperamos que puedan unirse. Muchas gracias por acompañarnos hoy. Con esto concluye nuestra llamada.

Coronavirus: Boosters, Health & Wellness

Nov. 4, at 1.pm. ET

Listen to a replay of the live event above.

As the holidays approach, and flu season sets in, many older adults want to know how they can stay safe and protected while spending time with loved ones. This Q&A event addresses those concerns and others related to COVID boosters, flu shots, and prioritizing your health and wellness through preventative care and screenings.

The Experts:

  • Rebecca Weintraub, M.D.
    Vaccinator and Faculty,
    Department of Global Health and Social Medicine,
    Harvard Medical School, Ariadne Labs,
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital

  • Litjen (L.J) Tan, Ph.D.
    Chief Policy and Partnerships Officer, Immunization Action Coalition
    Co-chair, National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit

  • Jennifer Goldman, D.O.
    Family Physician,
    Chief of Primary Care,
    Memorial Healthcare System

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

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


Replay previous AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • December 16Coronavirus: What You Need to Know About Boosters, Vaccines & Variants
  • December 9Coronavirus: Boosters, Vaccines and Your Health
  • November 18 - Coronavirus: Your Questions Answered — Vaccines, Misinformation & Mental Wellness
  • November 4 - Coronavirus: Boosters, Health & Wellness
  • October 21 - Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health & Caring for Loved Ones
  • October 7Coronavirus: Boosters, Flu Vaccines and Wellness Visits
  • September 23 - Coronavirus: Delta Variant, Boosters & Self Care
  • 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