CHICAGO (CBS) — There’s a big shift in the COVID vaccine rollout.
It means people across the country, and here in Chicago, will get the shot sooner. CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reports on what’s changing.
President-elect Joe Biden said he won’t reserve vaccines for a second dose when his administration takes office, a big reversal from the current policy.
Friday’s big announcement on the fight against COVID-19 was a surprise to Chicago’s top doc, Allison Arwady, when the Biden transition team announced come January 20, they will release all the vaccine in the national stockpile.
It’s a reversal from The trump administration policy where the government is holding back half of the vaccines, since both Moderna and Pfizer require two doses.
“Within the medical community there’s just a lot of questions.”
Doctor Jeff Kopin with Northwestern Medicine points out that manufacturers will have to ramp up how quickly they can get vaccines out, so those who get their first dose can also get their second dose soon afterwards.
“We intended on giving two vaccines separated by 21 or 28 days depending on the vaccine. This would be a change,” Kopin said.
Nationally, just 27% of the vaccine available has actually been administered, according to the CDC.
The first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine doses here were health care workers. In the last week, those living in and working for long term care facilities like nursing homes were getting vaccinated. Friday’s announcement could mean essential workers get added to the list sooner than we thought.
“I am thrilled about the prospect being able to get more vaccine here in Chicago,” Arwady said.
The reaction highlights an ongoing debate in medical circles around the world: How to get that vaccine to as many people as safely and fairly as possible, in a way that keeps it effective.
“This is what they’re doing, by the way, in Britain,” Kopin said. “They started to immunize everybody with the idea being they want everyone to get the first immunization. This is going to be the discussion starting today, really.”
Chicago has been getting about 32,000 doses a week. Roughly 258,000 doses have been given throughout the state so far. The Biden transition team said details would come next week. Studies are still being done to test the effectiveness of one single COVID vaccine dose.
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