Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | Healthcare Reform | Vaccines | fda | human | moderna

Fossella: Nation's Leaders Can Show 'Unity' by Getting COVID Vaccine Themselves

doctor with a syringe and coronavirus vaccine

Doctor with a syringe and Coronavirus vaccine. (Siam Pukkato/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 20 November 2020 02:00 PM

Lately, there is a battle cry of "unity" coming from all quarters of the land.

We are told to put the election behind us, and to move on together.

Starting today, we will all hold hands and tackle the biggest challenges of the day.

We will solve all our problems — together.

Fine. Let’s begin our new unity tour with the new vaccines for COVID-19.

We've been told by the experts that "Life will not return to normal until we get a vaccine," or "We all need to wear masks until we get a vaccine," and "We will not be able to travel, work, go to school, "fill in the blank," until we have a vaccine."

Well, it now looks like we have not just one, but more than one vaccine.

As of now, Pfizer and Moderna are first to the finish line with vaccines that are claimed to be roughly 95% effective. In addition, there are more than 190 different coronavirus vaccines that are in development.

In human clinical trials there are 44 of them.

And 10 of them are in large-scale phase three clinical trials.

Today, Pfizer will ask regulators to allow emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna is expected to ask for the same in a week or so.

If this request is approved, this will not only make available the first shots by the middle of December, but also will cap the fastest vaccine development program in history.

This is indeed a noble feat.

There is one slight problem with putting all our COVID eggs into the vaccine basket: Many people just simply do not want to get vaccinated.

In fact, health experts have expressed this concern for some time.

Just a few weeks ago, only half of Americans said in a Gallup poll (granted, polls can be wrong) they would take a coronavirus vaccine, even if it were free and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Pew Research conducted a poll in September and found that just one in five American adults would "definitely" take a vaccine it it were offered to them Almost half would refuse the shot (similar to the Gallup poll), with 24% saying they would "definitely not" take it.

There are other potential issues.

Some are questioning the emergency use authorization.

They question the long-term efficacy of the vaccine(s), given the potential for different strains. According to these skeptics, they are concerned that testing people for just a few months does not mean people will be necessarily protected for a fun year.

Additionally, there may be a sense that serious side effects or other complications are not be truly appreciated or understood. In fact, of the roughly fifty percent of American adults who would refuse the vaccine, 76% said they were concerned about potential side effects.

Finally, it appears that most trials are not focusing on the groups that are at the greatest risk.

They are not focusing on the elderly, people with comorbidities like obesity, diabetics, people living in communal situations, or nursing homes.

The goal must be to decrease the rate of transmission of the virus.

This will decrease the prevalence, and when the prevalence goes down, everybody’s risk goes down.

One way to minimize the number of people who are unwilling to take the vaccine is to have notable public figures agree to get vaccinate first. This public display of "unity" to tackle the pandemic might go a long way to increase the number of people who will be comfortable taking the new vaccines.

Here's one suggestion: Have Joe Biden and Donald Trump get vaccinated together.

Or, at least at the same time.

How about having the leaders in Congress be on public display as the first vaccines roll off the manufacturing line?

Better yet, there should be a show of "unity" on the steps of the United States Capitol as all Members of Congress receive simultaneously the vaccine to give a level of comfort to the country.

Even the nation's governors and mayors can participate.

Also, we should recruit "influencers" in all walks of life to agree to do the same.

Realistically, there will be many who will refuse to take the vaccine under any circumstances. That's an "it is what it is."

However, if the drumbeat for the past eight months has been to get a vaccine so our lives can get back to normal, wouldn't it be nice to have a true display of "unity" from our nation’s leaders and demonstrate that the vaccines are indeed safe and effective?

Fmr. Congressman Vito J. Fossella represented and served New York's the 13th Congressional District 1997 2009. He was the lone Republican from New York City. He now serves as senior vice president at RTR Financial Services (a healthcare receivables firm).

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One way to minimize the number of people who are unwilling to take the vaccine is to have notable public figures agree to get vaccinate first. Here's one suggestion: Have Joe Biden and Donald Trump get vaccinated together.
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Friday, 20 November 2020 02:00 PM
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