THE NEW NORMAL: Dr. Nachman answers viewers' questions about vaccines, number of COVID-19 cases
Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an emergency meeting today to decide who should be the first to get a coronavirus vaccine once one is authorized.
This all comes as BioNTech and Pfizer ask European regulators for expedited approval of their COVID-19 vaccine. They already asked the FDA for emergency use of their vaccine in the U.S. And Moderna followed suit Monday after announcing final analysis of their vaccine shows it is more than 94% effective.
As we wait for those approvals, pharmaceutical companies, airlines and other parts of the supply chain are working right now to prepare for its distribution, and how to preserve the vaccines.
Even though a vaccine is coming, many health experts are warning we are in for a horrible winter, and that the end of the pandemic is still far away.
This morning, Dr. Sharon Nachman joined News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen on the New Normal show. Dr. Nachman is an international leader in the area of pediatric infectious disease, and the chief of Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and director of the Office of Clinical Trials for Stony Brook Medicine.
We've got a panel of advisers to the CDC about to meet to determine how to allocate initial supplies of vaccine.
Public health officials and medical experts have said health care workers should get the vaccine first, followed by vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, people with preexisting conditions and essential workers.
Dr. Nachman talks about the meeting, how the decision is made, and who will get access to the vaccine:
ACIP will send its guidance to the CDC. However, it will ultimately be up to states on whether to follow the CDC's guidelines on vaccine distribution.
So much of vaccine policy is set at the state level, and each state has its own unique at risk populations. How states adopt those recommendations or make modifications to what is specific to their area. Friday is the "locked and loaded" date for states to have their dose requests for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. It is also the deadline for states to submit physical locations for the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. Nachman talks about how the states play a role in the distribution plan.
A new study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience looks at the effect the virus has on the brain. German researchers reported the coronavirus may invade the brain through nerve cells in the nose. Autopsy results from 33 people who died of coronavirus showed the virus in the brain and in the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat where it connects to the nasal cavity. The researchers found high concentrations of virus in the tissue associated with smell.
The findings can help explain some of the neurological symptoms of coronavirus infection - notably, the loss of smell that so many people experience, the researchers reported. Below is what Dr. Nachman has to say about the study:
New York's state and city authorities are working to try to keep hospital capacity under control as the coronavirus' positivity rate rises. The positivity rate is 4.5% statewide. Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his winter plan in case of another surge. It includes managing hospital capacity, adding beds, and identifying retired staff who can come back to work.
New Jersey just announced an increase in restrictions on outdoor gatherings and youth sports. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced reducing its outdoor gathering limit from 150 to 25, starting next Monday. Dr. Nachman discusses hospital capacity:
Below, Dr. Nachman answers a question from a viewer: Is it possible to get the virus from the vaccine?
Dr. Anthony Fauci says slowing the virus is as simple as wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds. Dr. Fauci is also urging people to avoid travel and small gatherings this holiday season. Below is what Dr. Nachman has to say about gatherings:
Are schools still considered a safe place to go? Dr. Nachman says yes, school is safe for both students and teachers:
A viewer asks if you should get the vaccine if you had COVID-19. Dr. Nachman says yes, and explains a study that looked at that: