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COVID-19 Briefing - Tuesday, 2/16

Can you get COVID-19 even if you've been fully vaccinated?

Today's Recap:

Best Questions:

How did they make this vaccine so quickly?

We were able to do this as a result of years and years of prior research on related viruses, new technology to manufacture vaccines faster, and, perhaps most importantly, enormous funding - often the largest stumbling block to vaccine development. Because of this, manufacturers were able to run multiple trials at once. Add to that an expedited approval process and now we’re able to get vaccines in arms in record time.

COVID vaccine development will most certainly change the future of vaccine science and we’ll be able to develop other vaccines at a much faster pace because of it. Before the COVID vaccine, the fastest vaccine ever developed took four years (it was for Mumps). This new ability to rapidly develop vaccines is a real game changer as we see the arrival and transfer of new pathogens.

Dr. Fauci said it best: “The speed was not at all at the sacrifice of safety. The speed was the reflection of extraordinary advances in the science of vaccine platform technology.”

Can you mix and match vaccines?

Outside of extremely rare circumstances, the CDC does not recommend mixing different brands of the vaccine. As of now, there is insufficient research observing the safety and effectiveness of mixed vaccine doses. The UK is currently studying this to find out if it could work, but until we know more, it’s recommended that you get the same dose for your second shot as you did for your first. Most vaccination clinics will schedule your second dose when you get your first and ensure you get the same brand, but it’s a good thing to double check when you go for your second jab. 

What have states done to prepare for the enormous task of mass vaccination?

States have been practicing some of the skills needed to oversee mass vaccination for years. North Dakota’s DOH moved around last year’s unused flu vaccine to model vaccine transport. Baltimore used Girl Scout cookies to practice their Anthrax response because boxes of Girl Scout cookies are a similar shape and size to the antibiotic used to treat Anthrax. They’ve built up their existing partnerships with couriers, trucking companies, refrigeration repair folks and others to get vaccines to everyone who wants it. The logistics are truly mind boggling.

We know communication is key but we’re not sure how to get started talking about vaccination with our employees, especially when they can’t yet register in their state. What resources can we use?

First, we’ve got a quick Vaccine Communication Action Plan on the app to get you started. For more detailed resources, the CDC also has a great and customizable essential workers vaccination communication toolkit, including a letter, slide deck, posters, stickers and more to get your employees excited about getting their vaccine. Another key here is to figure out if your state can allow essential workers to register now for their vaccination, or at least to be alerted when it’s their turn. For example, CA has “My Turn” to check eligibility and get a reminder. Having a clear call to action if it’s available in your state.

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Everyone should be working on their vaccination communication plan at this point, but it’s key to customize the messaging for different groups, especially if not everyone in your company is eligible to get vaccinated yet. Experts point out there is no one-size fits all message.

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.