METROFOCUS: April 7, 2021

DOCTOR ON CALL: ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COVID VACCINES

Governor Cuomo says one in three New York State residents has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine-  another milestone in the drive to end the pandemic. And this week, every New Yorker age 16 and older will be able to get vaccinated, making vaccines available to thousands more. But worries persist as our region battles the spread of more contagious variants, and a third wave in the pandemic. New York and New Jersey, as well as Connecticut, all have some of the highest infection rates in the country. So, where are we in the race between getting more people vaccinated and a third wave? How long does vaccine protection last? Can the vaccine offer relief to COVID long haulers? And when can we expect to reach herd immunity? Tonight, doctor Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University and the Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at Prohealth New York answers those, as well as answer many of the most commonly asked questions about the vaccine.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENA FLANNIGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SILVIA A. AND SIMON B.VOITA ENDOWMENT TO FIND ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE JOAN GAN SOONY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND THE AMBER MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY JANET PRINDEL SIDE LER AND JODI ARNHOLD, AND JUDY AND JOSH WESTIN, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA STONE FOUNDATION.

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> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METRO FOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

BEGINNING THIS WEEK, NEW YORKERS 16 AND OLDER ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE COVID VACCINE.

RIGHT NOW OFFICIALS SAY THE STATE HAS ADMINISTERED 10 MILLION DOSES AND ONE-THIRD OF NEW YORKERS HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE MARKING ANOTHER MILESTONE IN THE BATTLE AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS.

NATIONWIDE, PRESIDENT BIDEN HAS CALLED FOR ALL STATES TO OPEN IT UP TO ALL ADULTS TO APRIL 19th.

THE GROWING ELIGIBILITY LIST COMES AS OUR REGION BATTLES THE CONTAGIOUS VARIANTS AND A POSSIBLE NEW WAVE, NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, CONNECTICUT ALL HAVE SOME OF THE HIGHEST INFECTION RATES RIGHT NOW IN THE COUNTRY.

SO WHERE ARE WE IN THIS RACE BETWEEN GETTING MORE PEOPLE VACCIN VACCINATED AND A POSSIBLE NEW WAVE?

HOW LONG WILL THE PROTECTION LAST?

CAN IT OFFER RELIEF TO COVID LONG HAULERS?

AND WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO REACH HERD IMMUNITY?

JOINING US NOW TO HELP US ANSWER THOSE AS WELL AS SOME OF THE MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VACCINE, WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE DR. DANIEL GRIFFIN, AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST AND ALSO THE CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT PRO-HEALTH NEW YORK.

WELCOME TO YOU.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

HAPPY TO BE HERE THIS MORNING.

LET'S GO THROUGH A WHOLE LIST AND WE'LL TURN THIS INTO A MASTER CLASS, IF YOU WILL, ON WHAT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW.

LET'S START WITH THE VACCINE WHICH IS THE LOGICAL WAY TO START.

WE'LL S.T.A.R.TART WITH MODERNA PFIZER, JOHNSON & JOHNSON AND WE TALKED ABOUT THE TESTING PROCESS AND WHAT ARE WE LEARNING NOW IN TERMS OF HOW EFFECTIVE THEY HAVE BEEN IN REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE?

YEAH.

NO, I THINK THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO START.

WHAT WE'RE DOING IS WE'RE STARTING WITH THE TOOLS THAT WILL BE ENDING THIS PANDEMIC AND WE HAD SOME PRETTY IMPRESSIVE -- I MEAN, IMPRESSIVE TO THE POINT OF STARTLING, IMPRESSIVE RESULTS FROM THE TRIALS.

WHEN THE FIRST DATA CAME OUT, PFIZER, PREVENTING 95%, AND 94% PREVENTING SYMPTOMATIC AND IN THE TRIALS 100% AT PREVENTING DEATH AND HOSPITALIZATION.

REALLY, I THINK PEOPLE ARE BLOWN AWAY.

WE DID NOT EXPECT RESULTS THAT GOOD AND THEN J & J CAME OUT AND J&J, AND THE ADVANTAGE WAS ONE SHOT.

THEY WERE LOOKING REALLY EARLY, 14 DAYS AND 28 DAYS AFTER THE FIRST SHOT AND THEN I LIKE TO SAY OUT THERE IN THE REAL WORLD, VARIANTS, HIGH TRANSMISSION RATES STILL 100% KEEPING PEOPLE FROM DYING, 100% KEEPING PEOPLE OUT OF THE HOSPITAL IN THESE TRIALS AND SHOWING TREMENDOUS EFFICACY AT KEEPING PEOPLE FROM THE DISEASE.

THOSE ARE THE STUDIES AND THEN COMES HOW WELL IS IT WORKING IN THE REAL WORLD AND THAT'S THE BIG QUESTION EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW, AND WHAT WE ARE ACTUALLY SEEING IS WE'RE SEEING THIS TREMENDOUS LEVEL OF EFFICACY EVEN IN REAL WORLD SITUATIONS.

I'LL PIN US DOWN, JACK, ON WHERE WE'RE SEEING THE BEST DATA.

ISRAEL IS A LITTLE AHEAD OF US.

I HATE TO SAY THAT BEING A PROUD AMERICAN, BUT WE'RE SORT OF WATCHING WHAT'S HAPPENING THERE AND VERY QUICKLY WE WERE SEEING EVEN AFTER JUST THE FIRST DOSE, THEY STARTED OFF WITH THE PFIZER VACCINE.

WE WERE SEEING 80% REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF CASES AND NOW WE'RE GETTING DATA AFTER THE SECOND DOSE AND WE'RE SEEING OVER 90%. SO WE'RE SEEING REAL-WORLD DATA DEMONSTRATING THE SAME, TREMENDOUS LEVEL OF EFFICACY IN THESE VACCINES.

WHEN YOU GET TO HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATHS TREMENDOUSLY EFFECTIVE TOOLS.

NOT THAT OFTEN IN LIFE THAT YOU SEE THE ESTIMATES PLAYING OUT BETTER THAN WHAT WE HAD ANTICIPATED ESPECIALLY GOING WITH SOMETHING LIKE THIS WITH THIS DISEASE.

LET ME ASK YOU OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VACCINATION AND ABOUT EFFECTIVENESS.

WHAT ARE WE LEARNING ABOUT HOW LONG THIS EFFECTIVENESS CAN LAST AFTER YOU'VE RECEIVED YOUR APPROPRIATE VACCINE?

YEAH.

I THINK THIS IS KEY.

EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW, IF I GET MY VACCINE HOW LONG WILL THIS PROTECTION LAST?

AND IT'S BEEN A GREAT TIME FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIANS BECAUSE SUDDENLY EVERYONE IS EDUCATED.

THEY WANT TO ASK THESE QUESTIONS AND BEFORE THEY CAME IN AND GOT WHATEVER SHOT.

THANK YOU.

AND MAYBE THEY LEFT WITH A CARD TELLING THEM WHEN TO COME BACK AND NOW THERE'S CURIOSITY HERE AND THEY'RE STARTING TO GET THE DATA AND THE DATA IS EVOLVING AND IT RECENTLY EVOLVED IN FRONT OF US WHICH IS GREAT.

THE INITIAL DATA, SOLID DATA ON THE EARLY ROLLED OUT VACCINES AND THAT WOULD BE THE PFIZER AND MODERNA THAT WE HAD THREE MONTHS OF GOOD PROTECTION.

WE ARE NOW SEEING, ACTUALLY THAT'S SIX MONTHS AND I HAVE TO SAY WHEN WE LOOK AT THE LEVELS OF PROTECTION AND WE LOOK AT LEVELS OF ANTIBODIES, IT LOOKS LIKE THAT TRAJECTORY WILL SUGGEST AT LEAST A YEAR OF PROTECTION, BUT I'M GOING TO THROW IN A CAVEAT THERE BECAUSE THE VIRUS IS CHANGING.

SO WHEN I SAY A YEAR I'M TALKING A YEAR FROM THE ORIGINAL VIRUS THAT CAME OUT OF WUHAN.

WE'RE LOOKING AT PROBABLY THROWING A BOOSTER, A QUADRIVALENT BOOSTER PROBABLY EARLY THIS FALL.

IT MAY BE THAT THIS IS A YEARLY SHOT.

THAT'S THE PESSIMISM.

THE OPTIMISM IS WE'LL HAVE AT LEAST A YEAR PROTECTION FROM THIS SHOT.

THIS MAY BE A YEARLY THING OR MAYBE LESS FREQUENT.

EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THE SCIENTISTS MEAN WHEN YOU SAY A BOOSTER SHOT.

IS IT JUST ANOTHER SHOT?

ANOTHER ONE OF THE ONES THAT YOU'VE GOTTEN OR WILL IT BE MODIFIED IN SOME FASHION?

THAT'S AN EXCELLENT QUESTION.

I WAS JUST ON A CONFERENCE CALL IN COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND SOMEONE SAID DO WE HAVE BOOSTERS?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BOOSTER?

IT'S EITHER THE SAME SHOT YOU GOT BEFORE, JUST BOOSTING YOU BACK UP AGAIN OR THAT BOOSTER CAN BE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT.

IT CAN HAVE MODIFICATIONS TO KEEP UP WITH CHANGES THAT THE VIRUS MIGHT HAVE.

WHEN YOU SAY BOOSTER, TIME WILL TELL WHETHER THAT'S THE SAME QUADRIVALENT, SHOT, YEAR AFTER YEAR OR WHETHER OR NOT THAT SHOT, MUCH LIKE THE FLU SHOT WOO WILL BE AN UPDATED BOOSTER THIS YEAR.

WE ASKED ABOUT THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE BECAUSE AS YOU KNOW THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CONCERNS EXPRESSED IN EUROPE.

THERE WERE SUGGESTIONSOR AT LEAST CONCERNS THAT INSTANCES OF BLOOD CLOTS MIGHT HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED IN SOME FASHION WITH THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE WHAT I'VE SEEN WERE 30 OR 40 INSTANCES OF BLOOD CLOTS IN PERHAPS 15 MILLION, MAYBE MORE VACCINATIONS.

SO NOT STAGGERING NUMBERS, BUT WE NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT ANY NUMBERS.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE RIGHT NOW AND DOES IT APPEAR THAT ULTIMATELY A DECISION WILL BE MADE AND THAT IT IS, INDEED, SAFE ENOUGH TO CONTINUE ITS USE.

YEAH.

THE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE IS A LITTLE TOUGH, TO BE HONEST.

IT'S SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER VACCINES.

THE WAY THE VACCINES WORK IS WE ARE EDUCATING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ABOUT THE SPIKE PROTEIN WHICH IS WHAT SARS COVID II, THE VIRUS THAT GIVES US COVID-19 WILL AFFECT OURSELVES OR IT CAN HAVE A NICE, ROBUST RESPONSE AND WHAT PEOPLE LEARNED A WHILE AGO IS THAT IT CAN CHANGE ITS SHAPE AND CONFIRMATION ASK ALL OF THE OTHER VACCINATION STRATEGIES ARE BASED UPON STABILIZING IT IN THIS PRE-FUSION STATE, WE CALL IT.

ASTRAZENECA SAID WE CAN PROBABLY THROW IT IN AND NOT DO THAT.

SO THERE IS A SUBTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASTRAZENECA AND OTHER PLATFORMS AND THERE'S BEEN A COUPLE OF BUMPS IN THE ROAD FOR ASTRAZENECA.

FIRST, EARLY ON WITH THE ISSUE WHERE THEY HAD A MANUFACTURING CHALLENGE AND PEOPLE WERE GETTING HALF THE DOSES AND WE DIDN'T HEAR ABOUT IT UNTIL LATER AND THE SIDE EFFECTS THAT WERE LEAKED OUT OF BOARD MEETINGS AND PROPERLY ANNOUNCED, MAYBE AS WE LOOK BACK ON IT AND NOW THE LATEST BUMP IN THE ROAD HAS BEEN THIS BLOOD CLOTTING ISSUE.

A FEW MORE, AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AN EASILY TREATABLE COMPLICATION WITH AN INCIDENT THAT WE'RE SEEING IS A ONE IN A MILLION VERSUS WE LOOK AT COVID WHERE YOUR CHANCES OF DYING ARE ONE OR TWO IN A HUNDRED.

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE BALANCED ISSUES WHERE YOU SAY THE PREPONDERANCE OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE DURING A PANDEMIC FAVOR, YOU KNOW, USING ALL OF THE TOOLS WE HAVE.

AND IN A ONE IN A MILLION CHANCE OF GETTING A BLOOD CLOT VERSUS A ONE IN A HUNDRED CHANCE OF DYING YOU CAN DO THOSE NUMBERS AND SAY THERE IS A PLACE FOR THIS VACCINE AT THIS POINT OF THE PANDEMIC.

AS WE MOVE FORWARD WE MAY WANT TO REASSESS THAT ISSUE.

WE TALKED ABOUT ASTRAZENECA BEING USED IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD.

IS THERE ANTICIPATION THAT IT WOULD ALSO BE UTILIZED HERE IN THE UNITED STATES?

RIGHT NOW ASTRAZENECA IS NOT APPROVED FOR USE IN THE U.S., BUT THEY ARE INTERESTED IN GETTING APPROVAL.

TOO MANY ISSUES WITH THE MANUFACTURING PLANT THAT WAS MAKING BOTH J&J, AND THE ASTRAZENECA.

THE PROBLEM WITH DOING THAT, RIGHT, IS THEY MIXED THE INGREDIENTS OF THE TWO AND THE TURNAROUND WAS LET'S JUST MAKE J&J, IN THAT FACTORY BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT'S APPROVED HERE.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING GOING FORWARD.

WE HAVE ENOUGH VACCINES WITH THE MODERNA, PFIZER AND J&J, FOR THE ENTIRE U.S. POPULATION.

MORE THAN ENOUGH PARTICULARLY BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT MAY CHOOSE NOT TO GET VACCINATED.

SO IT'S NOT CLEAR TO ME THAT WE NEED ASTRAZENECA HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

ASTRAZENECA IS ALSO UNLIKE THE RNA VACCINES, SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T REQUIRE TO BE FROZEN OR THERMAL SHIPPERS.

ASTRAZENECA MAY PLAY MORE OF A ROLE THAN THE U.S.

THAT IS WE'VE HEARD THE TERM COVID LONG HAULERS, PEOPLE WHO APPEAR TO BE RECOVERING AND PERHAPS FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS.

YOU'VE BEEN ACTIVELY INVOLVED?

'S A SUGGESTION THAT THE ADMINISTRATION MIGHT PROVIDE SOME HELP FOR THE COVID LONG HAULERS.

COULD BE ONE OF THE FEW, OPTIMISTIC BEING -- THERE WAS THIS OLDZ?

DOES MAKING SURE THEY WERE NOT IN THE HOSPITAL AND THEY STARTED GREAT FALL LOW UP.

FOR A LARGE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS THIS IS NOT JUST A TWO-WEEK ILL HAPPENS AND WE'RE HEARING NUMBERS AND IT SEEMS TO BE CONSISTENT.

20% TO 30% OF ADULTS WHO GET COVID MAY CONTINUE TO SUFFER MONTHS AFTER WARD AND THIS HAS BEEN DEVASTATING.

IN A SENSE, THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF PATIENTS AND THERE ARE PATIENTS THAT HAVE HAD SUCH SEVERE COVID THAT THEIR LUNGS ARE SCARRED AND THERE'S PERMANENT DAMAGE TO THEIR HEART.

THOSE PEOPLE ARE NOT SEEING THE BENEFITS OF THE VACCINE BECAUSE THERE'S A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF SCARRING AND DAMAGE THAT IS NOT REVERSIBLE, BUT 80%, 90% OF PEOPLE DON'T END UP IN THE HOSPITAL, BUT YET THEY HAVE DEBILITATING NEUROLOGICAL CHALLENGES AND THE BRAIN FOG.

THEY CAN'T WRITE THEIR OWN NAME AND THEY HAVE TROUBLE COMPLETING A SENTENCE AND THEY CAN'T RETURN TO WORK AND ARE EXHAUSTED AND HAVE TROUBLE GOING UP AND DOWN THE STAIRS.

FOR THAT LARGER POPULATION, WE'RE SEEING 30%, 40% OF THEM ARE SEEING IMPROVED WITH VACCINES.

SO NOT EVERYONE, BUT MY GOSH, 30%, 40% IF THIS PANS OUT FOR THE LARGER STUDIES AND WE HAVE ONE GOING.

AKIKO UP, AND LET'S GET A REAL NUMBER AND LET'S GET A BUNCH OF PEOPLE LONG COVID AND LET'S REALLY FOLLOW THEM PROSPECTIVE TO SEE WHAT IS THAT% AND WHAT IS THAT CHARACTERISTIC AND WHICH PATIENT IS LIKELY TO GET BETTER AND THEN HOPEFULLY IT WILL GIVE US INSIGHT INTO WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE SUFFERING, SO IT IS NOT JUST 30%, 40%, BUT WE CAN GET 60% OR BETTER, AS WELL.

SOME OPTIMISM HERE.

YES.

LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE QUESTIONS PEOPLE HAVE AS THEY'RE ABOUT TO RECEIVE THEIR VACCINES OR IF THEY'RE HESITANT ABOUT IT AND THIS MIGHT HELP THEM IN TERMS OF SAYING, OKAY, I WILL GO DO THIS RIGHT NOW.

IF IT'S IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO SAY BEFORE BECAUSE THERE IS A BIT OF A MISCONCEPTION THAT THESE VACCINATIONS ARE NOT ESSENTIALLY INJECTING THE VIRUS INTO YOU.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT?

SO IF SOMEONE SAYS I'M THINKING ABOUT THE VACCINATION OR I AM GETTING THE VACCINATION, WHAT IS THE COMMON REACTION TO EXPECT FROM THAT?

ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT THESE VACCINES WHICH IS DIFFERENT THAN THE FLU SHOT IS A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PEOPLE WILL SAY FOR A DAY OR TWO AFTER THE VACCINE AND THEY FEEL LIKE THEY'RE FIGHTING SOMETHING OFF.

THEY FEEL SICK.

THEY'VE GOT THE MUSCLE ACHES AND WE CERTAINLY SEE HEADACHES AND FEVERS.

PEOPLE WHO HAD COVID BEFORE AND GET VACCINATED IN GENERAL THEY'RE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE SYMPTOMS AND THE SECOND DOSE IF WE'RE DOING A MODERNA OR PFIZER APPROACH.

THE SECOND DOSE HAS A LITTLE BIT MORE OF THOSE SIDE EFFECTS.

SO, YEAH, A LOT OF PEOPLE -- I WOULD HAVE TO SAY FRIDAYS ARE A POPULAR DAY FOR PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED AND I GUESS IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR JOB, MONDAY WOULD BE A BETTER CHOICE TO GET A DAY OR TWO OFF.

NO, THAT'S MOSTLY WHAT WE'RE SEEING AND THERE WAS A LOT OF CONCERN EARLY ON ABOUT THIS ANAPHYLAXIS AND IT'S NOT AS HIGH A LEVEL AS WE WERE CONCERNED IT WOULD BE.

ONCE AGAIN, WE ARE TALKING WITH AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY HEAD OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE AT PRO HEALTH NEW YORK.

MY WIFE AND I HAD BOTH OF OUR SHOTS AND NEITHER OF US HAD REAL PROBLEMS AT ALL AFTERWARDS.

I, AFTER THE SECOND ONE, HAD A MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT SLIGHT, VERY DULL HEADACHE THAT BASICALLY DIDN'T WAKE ME UP AND WAS GONE BY MORNING.

SO ANECDOTALLY WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME, WE'RE FINE.

LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS SUCH AS YOU AND GO AHEAD AND DO IT.

HERE'S A QUESTION FOR YOU THAT I'VE HEARD PEOPLE SAY, SHOULD I BE TAKING SOME SORT OF PAIN RELIEVER EITHER BEFORE MY VACCINATION OR AFTER MY VACCINATION?

WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THAT?

YEAH.

I THINK YOUR EXPERIENCE IS VERY TELLING, JACK.

MOST PEOPLE WHO GET THE VACCINE ACTUALLY FEEL FINE.

I JOKE THAT, LIKE, I HAD A FEW MINUTES OF FEELING FRUSTRATED AFTER MY SECOND SHOT, BUT THAT WAS AFTER I OPENED AN E-MAIL FROM ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES.

THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE FEEL ABSOLUTELY FINE.

SO THERE'S NO REASON TO PREEMPTIVELY MEDICATE AND THERE'S THOUGHT THAT IT GIVES YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM A CHANCE TO BE EDUCATED SO YOU DON'T GO GET THE VACCINE PRE-MEDICATED.

SO IF YOU GO THE NEXT DAY AND YOU FEEL CRUMBY, THESE ARE ROBUST VACCINES AND IT'S FINE TO TAKE TYLENOL OR IBUPROFEN EARLY AND IT'S FINE TO TAKE SOMETHING TO TREAT THOSE SYMPTOMS.

IF THERE'S MINIMAL IMPACT, IT'S EXACTLY THAT.

JUST MINIMAL.

IN THE TRIALS PEOPLE TOOK THESE MEDICATIONS AND WE SAW AS PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED INCREDIBLY ROBUST EFFICACY.

WE TALKED BEFORE ABOUT WHAT WE ARE LEARNING ABOUT HOW LONG THE PROTECTION CAN BE LASTING HERE AFTERWARDS.

ANOTHER QUESTION WE HEAR RAISED OFTEN IS ONCE YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR -- ALL OF YOUR DOSES OF YOUR VACCINATION AND THE TWO WEEKS OR SO AFTER THE SECOND ONE HAS GONE BY ONE OF THE QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASKING IS CAN YOU THEN TRANSMIT -- CAN YOU TRANSMIT THE VIRUS TO SOMEBODY ELSE AND HOW CONCERNED SHOULD YOU BE AT THAT POINT THAT YOU CAN, ONCE AGAIN, CONTRACT IT?

SO I'M GOING TO TURN THIS INTO THREE QUESTIONS, JACK AND NOT ONLY THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS.

THE FIRST ONE AND YOU HIT THIS PERFECTLY, THE VACCINE DOESN'T TAKE EFFECT IMMEDIATELY.

WE, UNFORTUNATELY, I'M ON A NATIONAL VACCINE COMMITTEE FOR UNITED HEALTH GROUP AND WE WERE HAVING A CONVERSATION WHERE THERE IS AN UPTICK IN INFECTIONS FIVE OR SEVEN DAYS AFTER THE FIRST SHOT SO YOU ARE NOT PROTECTED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE FIRST SHOT.

SO DON'T GO OUT AND CELEBRATE YET.

THAT FIRST SHOT IN SOME CASES, THE MODERNA AND PFIZER IS FOLLOWED BY A SECOND SHOT.

SO WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TWO WEEKS AFTER THAT SECOND SHOT.

J&J, TWO WEEKS AFTER THE FIRST SHOT WHERE WE START TO SEE THE PROTECTION THAT WE TALK ABOUT?

THAT'S THE FIRST THING.

YOU'VE GOT TO WAIT AND DESPITE HOW EXCITED YOU ARE, YOU JUST GOT THAT VACCINE AND YOU'RE NOT PROTECTED YET, BUT HOW PROTECTED ARE YOU FROM THOSE TWO DIFFERENT ISSUES?

HOW LIKELY ARE YOU AFTER THE VACCINE TO GET A LEVEL OF INFECTION THAT MAY NOT EVEN BE APPARENT TO YOU, BUT MIGHT ALLOW YOU TO TRANSMIT TO OTHERS?

AND WE'RE SEEING MORE ASK MORE DATA SAYING THAT THAT IS SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASED.

IT IS NOT ZERO AND WE SAW PRETTY IMPRESSIVE RESULTS WHERE WE WERE 100% NOT EVEN GETTING INFECTED AND MAYBE THERE'S AN 80% OR 90% REDUCTION IN THE CHANCE OF GETTING INFECTED AT ALL.

NOT ALL THESE INFECTIONS ARE YOU AWARE OF, BUT IF THAT VIRUS IS THERE, THERE IS A CHANCE THAT YOU CAN SPREAD TO OTHERS AND IT IS DECREASED AND WE THINK THE LEVEL OF VIRUS SHOULD YOU GET EXPOSE SIDE LEVEL, AS WELL SO WE THINK THAT THE VACCINES HAVE A BIG IMPACT ON INTERRUPTING TRANSMISSION AND INTERRUPTING YOUR ABILITY TO SPREAD IT, BUT IT'S NOT 100% SO THAT'S CRITICAL TO KNOW.

THE SECOND IS ONCE YOU GET VACCINATED PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THIS BREAKTHROUGH.

CAN A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN VACCINATED STILL ACTUALLY GET INFECTED AND STILL ACTUALLY GET QUITE SICK?

IN THE TRIALS WE WERE LOOKING AT HEALTHIER INDIVIDUALS AND PEOPLE NOT ON SPECIFIC MEDICATIONS AND IN REAL WORLD EXPERIENCES IF YOU GIVE THIS VACCINE TO A GENTLEMAN, SAY, IN THEIR 90s WHO IS ON A NUMBER OF MEDICATIONS AND DOESN'T HAVE A FULLY INTACT IMMUNE SYSTEM THAT INDIVIDUAL MAY GET SOME DEGREE OF PROTECTION, BUT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE 100% PROTECTED AND THAT'S WHY WE STILL TALK ABOUT PEOPLE TAKING PRECAUTIONS.

WHEN YOU'RE LIVING IN A CASE LIKE NASSAU COUNTY IN LONG ISLAND WHERE THERE IS A 95 POSITIVITY RATE, JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE YOUR VACCINE DOESN'T MEAN YOU GET TO TAKE YOUR MASK OFF YET AND MAYBE IN JULY WHEN THERE'S NOT A LOT OF VIRUS IN THE COMMUNITY AND YOU'VE BEEN VACCINATED AND ALL YOUR FRIENDS HAVE BEEN VACCINATED AND THEN WE START CHANGING THE GUIDANCE, BUT RIGHT NOW WE'RE STILL IN A P PANDEMIC.

WE STILL HAVE 50,000, 60,000 CASES PER DAY AND HIGH POSITIVITY RATES AND WE STILL HAVE HOSPITALS WITH A LOT OF CAPACITY CHALLENGES.

SO NOT QUITE TIME TO TAKE OFF THE MASKS AND HAVE THOSE BIG MASKLESS INDOOR CELEBRATIONS.

HOPEFULLY WE'LL GET THERE.

YOU MENTIONED ADOLESCENTS.

LET ME ASK WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW IN TERMS OF VACCINES FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN.

THIS IS, I THINK, HUGE.

WE HAVE A CHUNK OF OUR POPULATION UNDER THE AGE OF 18, UNDER THE AGE OF 16.

SO UNTIL WE CAN START OFFERING THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET VACCINATED TO THAT GROUP, WE HAVE A LARGE ENOUGH POPULATION THAT ANY SORT OF IDEA OF HERD IMMUNITY IS DEAD IN ITS TRACKS.

WE JUST GOT REALLY EXCITING NEWS FROM PFIZER THAT THEY COMPLETED THEIR STUDY LOOKING AT 12, 13, 14, 15-YEAR-OLDS AND 100% EFFICACY AND THIS WASN'T JUST IS IMTOM ATTIC AND THEY WERE DOING PCR TESTING AND NONE OF THE KIDS WERE INFECTED WHERE IT WAS 28 IN THE GROUP THAT DID NOT GET THE VACCINE.

SO THEY'RE PUSHING FOR EXPANSION DOWN TO 12 AND ALL THE PFIZER AND MODERNA AND J&J, THEY'RE ALL LOOKING AT POTENTIALLY THE ABILITY TO GO DOWN TO SIX MONTHS OF AGE.

I'LL SAY THE J&J, PLATFORM HAS BEEN USED FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS IN AFRICA.

IT WAS PART OF HOW WE LEFT THE LAST EBOLA OUTBREAK AND THAT WAS USED IN PREGNANT WOMEN.

IT WAS USED IN NURSING MOTHERS AND IN KIDS DOWN TO 4 MONTHS OF AGE.

THERE'S NO SIGN TO SUGGEST THERE'S ANY CONCERN, BUT WE'RE ROLLING THIS OUT AND GETTING ALL OF THE SAFETY DATA BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT TON BEFORE THEY GIVE THIS TO THEIR CHILD, WHAT'S THE TRACK RECORD?

WHAT'S THE SCIENCE?

LET ME ASK YOU GO THE IDEA OF A SEX TASK FORCE.

HOW OBSESSIVE DO YOU THINK THAT ONE AND HOW EFFECTIVE WOULD IT BE?

I WAS ON A CALL WITH THE UNITED HEALTH GROUP HIGH-LEVEL DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS AND, AND MY COMMENT IS I THINK WE'RE PREMATURE HERE.

WE STARTED OFF WITH THE NUMBERS AND A THIRD OF NEW YORKERS HAVE HAD AT LEAST ONE SHOT WHICH IS 70%. MOST NEW YORKERS HAVE NOT HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET A VACCINE YET SO WE KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET THE VACCINES ARE NOT THE SAME DEMOGRAPHICS HARDEST HIT BY THIS VIRUS AND THE FIRST STEP IS TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO THE VACCINE SO WE'RE NOT GIVING PRIVILEGES ON TOP OF PEOPLE WO HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF GETTING THE VACCINE EARLY, BUT THERE IS A POINT WHEN WE WANT TO HAVE FULL, IN-PERSON SPORTING VENUES.

WE WANT TO GO SEE MOVIES AND OUT TO RESTAURANTS AND PEOPLE WILL PREFER, IF THEY CAN GO TO VENUES WHERE A VACCINATED PERSON NEXT TO THEM IS LESS LIKELY TO GET THEM INFECTED, PARTICULARLY OLDER INDIVIDUALS WHO MAY NOT HAVE THE SAME, ROBUST IMMUNE SYSTEM AS THE REST OF US.

I THINK THE WHOLE VACCINE PASSPORT THING WILL PLAY OUT IN SOME SHAPE OR FORM.

WE'VE USED VACCINATION PASSPORTS IN MUCH OF THE WORLD WITH YELLOW FEVER.

THIS IS NOT AN OLD IDEA.

A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SORT OF, WHERE IS THIS COMING FROM?

IF YOU'RE A COUNTRY THAT NO LONGER HAS YELLOW FEVER, YOU DON'T WANT PEOPLE COMING IN WHO HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED.

IF WE CAN REACH A POINT WHERE WE'VE HAD OUR COUNTRY WITH A LOW LEVEL OR MAYBE WE CAN GET TO A GREAT LOW LEVEL OF COVID WE'RE NOT GOING TO WANT PEOPLE COMING IN WHO ARE NOT TAKING ALL OF THE STEPS TO KEEP IT AT THAT LEVEL AND IT MAY EVEN GO DOWN TO A STATE OR VENUE LEVEL.

SO THIS WILL BE CHALLENGING AND THERE IS A LOT OF HEALTH EQUITY AND ETHICAL ISSUES SURROUNDING THIS, BUT THERE IS A CERTAIN INEVITABILITY TO DOING THIS.

LAST QUESTION.

WE HAVE BEEN BESIEGED BY THIS, NOT JUST IN THE U.S., BUT AROUND THE WORLD.

GIVEN WHAT WE ARE SEEING NOW, HOW OPTIMISTIC NOW, AND HOW OPTIMISTIC SHOULD WE BE THAT WE ARE GETTING CLOSE TO DEALING WITH THIS SENSE OF SOME NORMALCY.

I WILL SAY IT IS OKAY TO BE OPTIMISTIC.

WE'RE STARTING WITH THE TOOLS THAT WILL END THIS PANDEMIC HERE IN THE U.S. AND ULTIMATELY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

WE ARE AVERAGING OVER 3 MILLION VACCINATIONS A DAY.

THIS IS HUGE.

THE VACCINE HAS A LOT OF TROUBLE DOING MUCH IN THE PERSON THAT'S BEEN VACCINATED.

AS THE PRODUCTION RAMPS UP AND AS WE EXTEND INTO THE YOUNGER AGES, I THINK WE CAN BE OPTIMISTIC AND A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE IN THE FOURTH WAVE AND A BUMP, AND WE STILL HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT THE CONCERNS AND NO, THERE IS REASON TO BE OPTIMISTIC.

THAT'S CERTAINLY GOOD TO HEAR.

AS I SAID BEFORE WHEN I DID THE INTRODUCTION HERE, INTRODUCING YOU SAYING YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ANSWER MANY OF THE QUESTIONS THAT SO MANY OF US HAVE AND YOU'VE DONE A MARVELOUS JOB OF DOING THAT, THANK YOU.

IT IS UNCERTAIN AS UNCERTAINTY CAN WEIGH HEAVY ON PEOPLE AND HAVING ANSWERS, ONCE AGAIN, DR.

DANIEL GRIFFIN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT.

THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AND UNDERSTAND AND IF NOTHING ELSE IT HELPS ME FEEL BETTER AFTER THE CONVERSATION, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU DOWN THE ROAD.

THANKS VERY MUCH.

YOU TAKE CARE.

THANK YOU.

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> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

SILVIA A. AND SIMON ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN SOONY FUND.

BERNARD AND BERNICE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA ZUCKERBERG AND THE AMBROSE FOUNDATION AND BY JANET PRINDEL SIDLER AND JODY ARNHOLD, JUDY AND JOSH WESTIN.

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SLOAN FOUNDATION.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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