COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan outlined
SNOHOMISH COUNTY — When a vaccine for COVID-19 begins being deployed as soon as Christmas, it won’t be a wide distribution but it will be strategic.
High-risk health care workers who interact with COVID-19 patients would be first in line, per a statewide draft distribution plan released Wednesday. Nov. 25. Also first priority would be custodians in health care settings and EMS first responders and, broadly, law enforcement who are often in contact with people with COVID-19.
Next would be people in long-term care (nursing homes), people in congregate settings such as prisons and homeless shelters, and also certain people over age 65 with specific serious health ailments.
After many more doses are produced, the second phase would mean K-12 school staff, tradespeople, public transit workers, other health care and law enforcement employees and many other categories would become eligible for vaccination. All people over age 65 would become eligible then.
The rest of the public can get vaccinated when a surplus of vaccine doses are available.
County health officer Dr. Chris Spitters said it could be six to nine months before the general public could get a vaccine.
State officials said Wednesday, Nov. 25 that vaccine doses may begin arriving in Washington state in mid-December.
According to the state Department of Health, the federal government last week told them that Washington will receive an estimated 62,400 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer as an initial allocation, plus around 200,000 doses in total by the end of the month, ”Regular weekly shipments should begin in January,” the Department of Health said in a press release last week.
At the time, state officials were still waiting to speak to distribution possibilities for a vaccine developed by Moderna.
Moderna, a U.S. biotech company, planned to apply Monday, Nov. 30 to get federal authorization to allow emergency use of its vaccine.
Out in the future, “mass vaccination clinics run by community based healthcare systems,” meaning clinics and pharmacies would likely be where you would get the vaccine, the county plan says. The state will work with providers to make sure vaccine access to uninsured people will be without barriers, Dr. Spitters said in a roundup for reporters Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Initial trial results of Moderna’s vaccine protected up to 95 percent of those vaccinated, the company said. Pfizer said its vaccine could protect up to a similar percentage. Their “mRNA” vaccines stimulate proteins to form an immune system against the coronavirus, explains a microbiologist with the American Council on Science and Health, a workgroup.
A third vaccine from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University also shows promising results, from a company press release. This vaccine teaches the immune system to recognize the virus based on genetic appearance and attack it, The Washington Post explained. U.S. medical company Johnson & Johnson is taking this same approach for its vaccine.
A different vaccine style delivers virus-laden proteins to cells to stimulate the immune system. Novavax is doing this approach.
The fourth vaccine style is to give a partial version of the virus or bacteria to irritate the immune system into being able to fight it off. Three top Chinese vaccines in late-stage testing are built like this. This style is also the standard for the Mumps, Measles and Rubella vaccine, The Washington Post explained.
Meanwhile, for treating people infected with COVID-19, one option is remdesivir. The federal government gave formal authorization to remdesivir in October. It’s made by Gilead Sciences and is administered through an IV.
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