Romano Law Nurse Corner COVID-19 #41
More Vaccines on the Way
The numbers of positive COVID-19 cases continue to be staggering. Currently, the United States has 17.8 million COVID-19 cases with more than 315,000 dead from this disease. Sadly, there are states in which hospitals are full and past capacity, caring for patients infected with COVID. Our home state of Florida had over 8,000 newly diagnosed cases this past Sunday. COVID fatigue is upon us, yet this is the most upbeat and hopeful time we have had in a long time.
Vaccine distribution, along with our mitigation efforts of masks and limited social contact is what we need to work our way back from this pandemic and yes, we are working our way back.
According to the CDC, last week 2.8 million doses of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine went out to facilities and over 556,000 doses of the vaccine were administered. The news was full of pictures of vaccinations given to healthcare workers, and even locally, residents of long-term care facilities and others. To help instill confidence for the American people, politicians such as VP Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Mitch McConnell got theirs, all on our televisions. Most people reported very few side effects, with some noting mild ache from the injection site to mild body aches.
President Elect and Jill Biden are scheduled to get the vaccine this week. VP Elect Kamala Harris and her husband will be getting the vaccine the week after next. Many more will follow. This is leadership.
This mass vaccination effort will continue and even amp up this week with the approval and distribution of the Moderna vaccine, authorized by the FDA for use late last week. Moderna says it will be able to deliver 20 million doses of its vaccine by the end of December with another 80 million in the first few months of 2021. This will have us well on our way to gaining some control of this deadly virus.
Let us also remember that the Moderna vaccine, logistically speaking, is easier to get out to more places because it does not require the deep freezers that the PfizerBioNTech vaccine requires. More vaccines are on the way to more places.
As we have seen thus far, based on the CDC recommendation, Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been geared toward frontline essential healthcare workers. As we saw locally in Florida, Governor DeSantis chose to allocate some of the doses of vaccine to elderly long-term care residents. With these next batches of vaccine, experts are looking at the next phase and who should be a part of it.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), made up of doctors and public health experts has made its recommendation for the next phase, 1b, of the vaccination efforts. This recommendation includes vaccinating people 75 and older and front line essential workers.
Generally, this recommendation represents a compromise by the committee to balance two high-risk population groups, those aged 75 and older who are dying from COVID-19 at a rapid rate and those on the frontline, such health care workers, emergency responders, teachers and grocery store employees who are all essential to our continued function as a country.
Dr. Helen Talbot, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt (member of the panel) noted that she feels very strongly we do need to have that balance of saving lives and keeping our infrastructure in place.
In earlier discussions, the panel had indicated that it would recommend a broader group of Americans defined as essential workers only for receiving the second phase of vaccine distribution. However, this past weekend, the committee members concluded that it made more sense given the continued increasing death rate among older Americans, to allow the oldest among them to be in the next group, along with workers whose jobs put them at substantially higher risk of exposure to the virus.
Dr. Jose Romero, the committee’s chairman and a pediatric infectious disease specialist in Arkansas, said the committee is providing governors and health officials with is a framework which is supported by evidence and will address this limited supply of vaccine that we have at this time. The Committee emphasized that its recommendations were nonbinding and that every state should fine-tune them, as we saw here in Florida with the first phase including long-term care residents.
The two recommended groups together in phase 1b number 51 million people while Federal health officials have estimated that there could be enough supply to vaccinate 100 million people before the end of February, including our 21 million health care workers and 3 million residents in long-term care facilities.
Speculation at this time is that a third wave of prioritization under the committee’s recommendations would include other types of essential workers such as construction and restaurant workers, school support staff, public transit personnel and daycare workers, however a time line is unknown at this time given the earlier priority groups and unknown demand.
Either way, this is all good news. Vaccinations have started and will continue. We must remain steadfast in our personal safety mitigation efforts, but we are on our way.
We continue to wear our masks and socially distance to protect our fellow human beings and ourselves. We ask that everyone do the same. PLEASE STAY SAFE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.