Covid update 12-11-20

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In last week’s message I discussed vaccines and now with the approval of the Pfizer vaccine almost completed people are wondering when they can get it. Unfortunately, due to short supply, a vaccine will not be available for most individuals until many months from now.

When the search for a vaccine began in earnest earlier this year, six products emerged as the most promising. Of those six, two (the Pfizer and the Moderna product) are about to become available as early as next week. However, vaccine development and production are notoriously difficult, and in the beginning, it was impossible to know for certain which one of the six would become available first. Hence the government could not completely commit to buying all the doses needed for the whole country from just one company least that vaccine turned out not to be useful.

Ultimately, about 200 million doses will become available by March 2021 from both Pfizer and Moderna. That means 100 million people will be immunized, which is approximately 30 percent of the population in the United States.
For the moment though, nowhere near those number of vaccines will be available, and here in Arizona it is projected we will only be able to immunize about 190,000 individuals initially. Due to the demanding storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine, distribution in Arizona is only going to occur in Phoenix and Tucson to start. Hospital employees and other health care workers along with nursing home residents are first in line to be immunized due to their high exposure to the virus.

We will not be administering the vaccines in our clinic since we are not capable of adequately storing them. We will notify everyone where they can get one once they become available on a more widescale basis. It has not yet been officially announced who will be in the second group of people to be immunized.

Once again, I need to strongly encourage everyone to please stay at home. Arizona is now leading the nation in Covid 19 spread. Back in March and April we spoke of “flattening the curve” and we need to return to thinking like that in order to prevent both a complete collapse of our hospitals and an astronomical death rate. Please be safe.