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tv   ABC7 News 400PM  ABC  February 12, 2021 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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up to receive thousands of pfizer's covid-19 vaccine. >> city officials, kaiser permanente and dignity health unveiled a new vaccine hub at the moscone center. >> the levi's stadium site is expected to serve 5,000 people a day. >> fema's plan is to open the first mass vaccination site in the oakland coliseum. >> president joe biden has an ambitious plan, aiming for 100 million shots in the first 100 days in office. >> we're nowhere close to where we need to be. >> we're sober and mindful of the scarcity that is the number of available vaccines. nonetheless, we are not naive about our responsibility here in the state of california to move these vaccines out of the freezers and into people's arms. >> we're now on track to have enough supply for 300 million americans by the end of july. we've never failed when we stood together. if there is ever a time we need to stand together, it's now.
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>> thank you so much for joining us for this very special edition of abc7. i'm kumasi aaron. >> and i'm kate larsen. instead of our 4:00 p.m. newscast today, we're going to spend an hour engaging experts and you in an abc7 virtual town hall. today we are focused on the covid-19 vaccine, something kumasi and i and the entire abc7 team have dedicated months to covering as part of our efforts to build a better bay area. >> this is an important virtual one-hour town hall. it's airing on tv, our connected apps on, youtube and facebook. over the next hour, yes going have a thorough conversaion focused on questions from all of you, our viewers. >> we're going get to our fantastic group of panelists. they will be answering questions that you have been submitting. we have received more than a thousand questions. thank you so much for all of those, and you can also continue to comment online with more questions and concerns. >> dr. arlene brown with ucla, who also leads a statewide coalition focused on how covid impacts disproportionately
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affected populations is along on our panel, along with dr. aaronson. members of california's drafting guidelines work group. >> and dr. reed tuckson, a consulting business focused on public care delivery and a face familiar to our abc7 news viewers, dr. alok patel, special correspondent and physician. and dr. nadine burk harris, the surgeon general of california. dr. burk harris will be joining us for the first 15 minutes, and many of our first questions will be directed towards her as we just got some brand-new information from the state today. that new information is this. health and human service secretary dr. mark ghaly just announced starting march 15th, many more californians will be eligible to get vaccinated. doctors will be given flexibility to use their clinical judgment to vaccinate people ages 16 to 64 with certain conditions that put them at risk for covid complications
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or death. the list of those conditions includes cancer, pregnancy, heart disease, down syndrome, severe obesity, type 2 diabetes, and immunocompromised conditions among many others. the state estimates this adds another four million to six million people to those eligible to be vaccinated by mid-march, putting about half of the state's population in an eligibility tier. dr. burk harris, will the vaccine supply be large enough for that eligibility influx? and how do you reconcile this new group with essential workers in groups 1b and 1c who still need the vaccine? >> those are great questions. thank you so much for that. and what we know right now is that our -- we are building a system in california that we hope to be limited only by supply. and while we're expanding eligibility to this group of people, we do want to recognize that supply is still limited,
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although it is increasing week by week. and so we want to let folks know that, you know, there is still going to be -- it will still take time to get an appointment, even if you're eligible. there is still limitations in accessibility. but it was very important for us to recognize the increased risk that these individuals are facing. increased risk of death if they do develop covid and for that reason, it was very important for us to respond to that risk by opening up eligibility. >> dr. burke harris, what about someone who is an essential worker, say a food or agricultural worker who doesn't have an underlying health condition. will they still be in a priority group in addition to this new group of folks who are immunocompromised? and also what about the third party administrators, kaiser and blue shield, who are expected to come on line in the next week or two to oversee this entire operation. how will that fit in?
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>> well you gave the example of a food or agricultural worker who is currently in tier 1 of phase 1b. so that -- those individuals, yes, will still be eligible to receive the vaccine right now. we know that california will be making that transition from an age and sector-based approach to a more straight forward age-based approach after we complete the tier 1 of phase 1b which is where most of our counties are now. and so a food and ag worker, yes, would have access to the vaccine. and then following that, we're going to a more strictly age-based approach. >> do you mind if i ask a follow-up question to dr. burke harris? >> of course. >> when i personally was looking at these new guidelines, it made a lot of sense to me. we have a younger age group of people with underlying medical conditions. i'm already getting messages from californians who are worried that their underlying
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medical condition may not be represented in this high-risk group. and my instinct tells me there may be some discretion at the providers level. hey, you're not in these listed disease categories, but you're still immunocompromised or high risk. is there room for discretion at the level to say this individual does need the vaccine and fits in this group or is there any worry about accountability there? >> well, we're asking providers to really recognize that given there is a limitation in supply, right, that to really prioritize those who are at highest risk and for those who have a slightly lower risk. and this is the work that dr. aaronson and others on our drafting guidelines work group really dove into the data and looked at the risk stratification for these different health conditions. so i think it's really crucial for providers really to exercise
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a fair amount of recognition of the scarce supply to ensure that those who are at highest risk are able to get access to the vaccine. >> yes. and speaking of access, i want to pose -- i'm sorry, dr. aaronson, you had a question there? >> i was just going to acknowledge the difficulty of doing this if you're faced with your patient who is at high risk to focus on the highest risk. it's going to be hard for patients and it's going to be hard for clinicians, but the way we get through it is for all of us to prioritize the highest risk and to stay a little more patient longer, which is one of the hardest asks of this moment in history. but that's really what's needed to save the most lives and get us back on track economically. >> yes. i know a big question surrounding these new guidelines is accessibility, especially people who might have challenges. they might be home bound. they just might have issues actually getting this vaccine if they are dealing with any of the
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conditions that are on that list. i want to pose this question from brittany doyle with wise health. >> there are people that are not connected to organizations, that are not connected to any sort of committee or task force, caregive caregivers. they're basically living socially isolated. i want to ensure that there's efforts and strategies in place to reach those people. and it is going to take a collective effort. so that's just basically my concern and my questions. what does that look like? how are we going to make sure that those people are reached? >> dr. burke harris? >> i second that question. >> is this something you can address, dr. burke harris? >> absolutely, i'm happy to address that question, because that's something we've worked very, very hard on at the state level. so there are a number of different ways that the state is seeking to do outreach for vulnerable or hard to reach populations. and number one that starts with
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good old-fashioned media, shouting it from the rooftops, getting it out there through social media. we have public education campaign that's available in multiple languages to let people know and to raise awareness. we also as you all may have heard are rolling out across the state the my turn system so that folks can either go online at or call in to the phone line to be able to find out when they're eligible an get a notification at the time they're eligible, or if they're eligible now to go ahead and make an appointment. but we also recognize that for some communities that just raising awareness or public awareness isn't going to be enough. and that's why the state of california just granted $17.3 million worth of grants to
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community-based organizations. these are organizations that have been doing the work of doing the hard work on the ground of reaching out to our vulnerable communities, to our hard to reach communities. and we actually utilize the same infrastructure that we use for the census. so we worked with many of these community-based organizations for the census where we literally were trying to count every person. well, you know, our hope is that we can vaccinate every person. so utilizing that same infrastructure, we're partnering with community-based organizations who are trusted messengers, who have trusted relationships to do that outreach and engagement for individuals who may be harder to reach. >> thank you so much, dr. burke harris. well also have another question from john jacobo with san francisco's latino task force, again about equity and sort of questions about the opacity of data available about these
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at-risk communities and just in general. >> our concern is that latinos are not gettin the equitable amount of vaccine that we should be getting given the amount of infection we're seeing that we know here in san francisco at its peak we were 15 times more likely than any other ethnic group have covid-19. when should we get to get data and when should we get to know the there truly is equity behind the vaccine roll-out? >> a great question. some new data has been released in san francisco this week. but dr. burke harris, when can people in california expect some of these numbers to be widely released so we know exactly who's getting this vaccine and when and how many more folks in these at-risk communities need to get it? >> that's absolutely right. we've been looking at that data. we want to make that data public. so i'm going to have to confirm because i don't have the latest in front of me. but i believe that data was going live today. so this is very timely, if not
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today it will be likely early next week. but we're looking at the data around access to vaccine based on race and ethnicity. and one of the things that i want to highlight is that when we look at the first tier of eligibility, phase 1a where we were vaccinating prioritizing our health care workers so that we can shore up our health care infrastructure, make sure we're vaccinating the vaccinators, and then also those at the extremely, extremely high risk residents of long-term care facilities. we recognize that inherent in that are inequities, because the proportion of health care workers that look like me or that are -- that look like the viewer who just asked that
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question is disproportionate. and so what we are seeing is that in this first round, where we are now as a state that there are fewer black and brown folks, fewer folks of color, fewer vulnerable individual who have been vaccinated. but we recognize that that was the rationale for that was to shore up our health care infrastructure. and that if we don't do that, the result is excess deaths. and when we have excess deaths, the majority of those ex-set deaths, they tend to be those who are more affected, our block and brown communities. so it's a little counterintuitive, but the next piece of the work that we have to do as we move through our age-based tiers and then as we move through as we complete tier 1 of phase 1b which is a combination of age and sector, what we have the opportunity to do now is use allocation to
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guide our -- as one part of our equity strategy. and that is what we're working on now. we hope to have information to share with you shortly. but it's really around how do we correct more vaccine to our communities that are more vulnerable. >> dr. burke harris, i have right open side by side with a zoom window the five-point plan for vaccination equity, and i think it really outlines what you were just missing. and two things on it about community partners and public education. i started to ask you, do you think in addition to just getting the actual doses of vaccines to these vulnerable communities, will this also address the vaccine hesitancy that we've seen in color communities, underrepresented communities with immigrants or people who may not necessarily trust what they're hearing? are we going to be able to really reach them? >> no, i just allocation of vaccine alone is not going to get over vaccine hesitancy.
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i think some of our strategies of working with community-based organizations, trusted messagers and trusted providers, right. so, you know, before coming into the state, i spent my career as the founder and a pediatrician in a community-based organization in the bayview hunters point neighborhood of san francisco. and it takes years to build up trust. i mean, people have to see that you're there. and that's why we as a state need to partner with our federally qualified health centers, with our community-based health centers so that folks can go to their provider that they trust that has been caring for them or their families for years because they may not get it because dr. nadine burke harris, surgeon general of california tells them to get it. but they may get it because
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their promotera suggested they get it, or someone they have been working with and caring for their family. so i think that part of working with trusted providers and trusted messengers is critically important. and one of the other things i also think is critically important is we already know that it's going the take more work. it's going to take more time, it's going to take more resources to get equitable vaccine -- vaccination rates in vulnerable communities because the reason for that hesitancy is because of years of de facto and du jour sec congratulation, years of structural inequities that frankly even today many people of color, many people in vulnerable communities find themselves going to the doctor and feel like sometimes they're not heard, right. sometimes their interests aren't represented. so we have a lot of work to do. i think oftentimes we talk about hesitancy like those people
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that. >> don't trust the vaccine, when really, we recognize we have a lot of work to do to repair some of the historical harms that have taken place so that folks can trust in our health care system. >> dr. burke harris, thank you so much for your time today. we appreciate your conversation with us. this just a beginning. we have much more ahead, including more of your questions, and we'll be right back. >> and we want you to join in on the conversation. you are part of this abc7 town hall too. you can go to facebook or youtube an ♪ we always have a big party, it's a big thing for us. everyone gets together... to just have fun. the happy chaos... a lot of noise and... for me, i just enjoy it all...
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repeating. welcome back, everyone, for our vaccine town hall. we want to get to a question now we got from rose who works with disabled individuals. she wrote this question to us. if we wait for our vaccination slot, will we have had to delay our health care for a year and a half? where can we go for the vaccine now? and this question i think really has two important parts to it. first it's about vaccine access, but also what to do if you have been delaying care, but you're not eligible for the vaccine yet, or maybe you won't be able to get it until march. so i want to pose this question to our panel. and let's start with you, dr. brown. what would you say to rose? >> i think that's a great yes, rose, and it's something my patients ask me all the time. i tell them do not delay care.
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if you need care, you should get it. it's really important to recognize that we now have many, many ways to access care in addition to in-person care. so there are times when you need to come into the office, but our offices are now so much safer than they ever were. and we're taking incredile precautions, hand-washing, social distancing, wearing masks, and in some cases -- i think it's important to recognize that our clinics are very, very safe. and if you need care, you should definitely go in and get it. but we also now are using telemedicine in a way that i think none of us anticipated a year ago. and via zoom in some cases. we have telephone visits. so it's really incumbent upon your health care providers and your caregivers out there to make sure that you're
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encouraging people that may need access helping them to get to get the care that they need. in terms of the second question, how do you find out when it's your turn to get the vaccine. you know, california launched the my turn website. and there is also a covid number. and that site takes information from the caller for the person who logs in and it provides information on whether you're eligible to get a vaccine now and where you can get it, but it also indicates people who aren't currently eligible, it takes your information, and it will send out a call or a method indicating when it is your turn to get the vaccine. >> thank you so much for that, bring brown. i also want to loop in dr. tucksin here. i'm curious what you think in terms of access in terms of how california is doing and the folks that need it most, and also how the whole country is
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doing since you have a bird's-eye perspective. >> well, the challenge is really across the country that we are struggling as a nation to be able to have enough supply to meet the demand. i would say that all of you who are frustrated, you are in a very big club. everywhere we go in this country, people are lining up for the vaccine and are being told that they've run out of supply or people have tried to make appointments and couldn't get an appointment in time. and so i think we all have to understand that this is a challenge that is upon us, but that we have to stay calm. the good news is that people want it. and that's really important. and i would also emphasize that we have been very concerned about people of color having a higher rates of vaccine hesitancy or nonexistent in other parts. yet all around the country as i look african americans and people of other color are in lines trying to get vaccinated and can't or trying to make appointments and can't. so let's remember that the biden/harris administration is in place. they're working their tails off.
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there was good news announced today by the president about more doses. i think we just have to stay calm, work with our local officials and we will get there. but let's be also as i conclude this answer, let us remember clear thing. while we are waiting for our turn, and let's don't try to game the system and jump in line, and let's don't have the privilege taking away from those most in need while we have short supplies, everybody has to continue to be vigilant. wear your mask, physical distancing, all the things we have known we should be doing this, is the time. i'm sure your going to ask it later, but because of these variants in the virus, this is an absolutely essential time that while we're waiting to be vaccinated, we must follow public health guidance. >> yes, dr. tuckson, my next question is about the variants. and this comes from wall feng with the youth center of san francisco. >> people have been expressing concerns after a few months, if they still don't get vaccinated,
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the virus will probably have been mutated like three to four times, right. will the vaccine still work by then, right? and for those who have already been vaccinated, if, you know, the vaccines don't worry against the new variants, does that mean they will have to be vaccinated again in the future? >> dr. patel, i'm going let you handle this. >> i hate to say it, but i think some of it comes from these headlines which are very scary and sometimes people don't take the time to actually look at the underlying data and understand that, yes, variants are coming. rna viruses, which this virus is an example that mutates every single month. it's totally possible it can mutate to a point where it's able to have a little more defense against our immune system or vaccines may not be as effective. here is the really important
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thing. so far vaccine manufacturers feel that the vaccines are still effective against the variants that we're seeing right now in the united states. now some people out there saw that data from the johnson & johnson trial and said hey, whoa, 57%. in south africa we have that variant, b 1531 in the united states. that's concerning. but the important thing is the data also show it was very successful, above 80% at preventing severe infections, mild and severe infections, hospitalizations and deaths. and that's key. and one way to think about that is with the annual flu shot. if you get the flu vaccine and you still get influenza, you're less likely to get hospitalized or wind up in the icu. that's really important for people to understand. you know, the united states and scientists and researchers are doing their part in genomic sequencing and looking at all the variants out there and making sure the vaccine still works and we're spotting outbreaks. i have to echo what dr. tuckson said. while we're doing our part and getting vaccines, we have to remember if we let the virus replicate, it's going to mutate.
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and so it's not only important for us to take the necessary precaution, it's really important to make sure all of us have vaccine diplomacy. and we have resource poor areas getting vaccines as well. you cannot have wealthy counties or nations hogging all the vaccines and leaving it to replicate elsewhere. i'm about to go on a soapbox. i'm going cut myself off. >> i think also dr. patel has nailed the first part of that question. there is an important other part to it, and this is will these vaccines, how long will they hold up? and will as things change over time, will there need to be some changes? the answer to that is we are really having to study that, and really think hard and watch carefully. it may well be that our vaccines eventually will need a booster shot or a second dose. and there is a lot more that we have to learn. so i would urge you to know that we don't always have all of the answers right where we need to have them. they're still studying that is going on, a clinical trial still ongoing. but for now, i think dr. patel
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really nailed it, that we think that we'll get people vaccinated in time while the vaccines are still effective, even against the three variants that are moving into the united states. and we will learn whether or not there needs to be a booster shot down the road a year, two years from now. we'll find out more about that and deal with that as the science comes in. a little too early to answer the question. >> definitely tough. i know people want answers to those questions right now, but sometimes we just have to wait and do that research and wait for the data to come back. i'm enjoying this conversation. so glad that we've been able to ask so many of your questions, and we are not done. we have much more ahead. if you have any
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>> welcome back, everyone to our virtual town hall on covid-19 and the vaccine. we've gotten a question in on facebook from alex kahuna, basically asking is it really safe for a cancer patient to take this covid-19 vaccine with all the meds that they're taking. this is in response to the new guidelines that lists certain medical conditions that would now be prioritized in march under the new state guidelines. and that question kind of ties into a question that we're getting from brittany doyle, who is the owner and managing director of wise health, a group that is focused on addressing public health issues here in the bay area. >> there has also been discussion around co-existing diseases that are embedded in the community.
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will that have an impact with the vaccinations. so if somebody has chronic disease like diabetes or copd or their immune system is already compromised, will the vaccination affect their health as well? >> and i want to pose this question to you, dr. brown. what would you say? i'm sure you're getting this question a lot from your patients. >> absolutely. and it's an excellent question. i think we know that the vaccine works in people with many chronic conditions because they actually try to include people with diabetes and hypertension and asthma, because they knew these were the people at highest risk from the disease. so it's been well tested in people with many chronic conditions. we don't know about cancer patients because there may have been certain exclusions different from vaccine to vaccine, but based on the evidence we have and the evidence from the trials, the
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evidence that's emerging from across the world, it is very safe for people with cancer, with other chronic conditions to take the vaccine. and you should definitely talk to your physicians, your cancer specialist, your general doctor, before making any decisions if you are concerned. but it's really critical to recognize that this vaccine is very safe and all the vaccines very safhat we have to date are safe for covid-19. and they actually prevent both severe illness and hospitalizations and death. so it's -- in the hour that we're going to have here, we're going have 100 people die from covid. and the vaccine we know has prevented millions of severe to really bad outcomes for people who have taken it so far. so we really support you doing that, taking the vaccine. >> i would piggyback on this.
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go ahead, please, doctor. >> i was just going to use the exact same phrase actually to piggyback and to say that when people are concerned that their condition means they shouldn't get the vaccine, what i'm seeing is that usually means they are precisely the people who will benefit most from the vaccine. so the condition that is making you concerned is the condition that puts you at very high risk for serious disease, intensich care unit, and death. everything we know as dr. brown says that this is very safe and effective. and even if your immune compromise is such that it's slightly less effective, these vaccines are so effective that slightly less is still really, really good. >> i'm so glad you went first, dr. aaronson, but i want to add very quickly this is one of the reasons why it is so important for people to participate in clinical trials. those people who have these kinds of conditions, we are desperate for you to be a part
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of the clinical research apparatus. we are lucky that for as you heard from both of these answers that there was sufficient numbers of people with chronic conditions and the challenges that we've heard that we can be able to make a very well-founded argument that says you should. the data tells us that it's okay to be vaccinated. but the only reason why we know that is because of the generosity of people with those conditions who participated in the clinical trials. so we hope that everyone will learn from this and participate when you have the opportunity to do so. >> well, and doctors, there is clearly a lot of folks out there who are very at risk for severe covid disease, including our older community members. brian writes in. my wife and i are 90 and we have no computer. how can we get the vaccine? this is another access question. there are so many folks, maybe older folks who don't have helpers, who don't have family members who can get on the phone or get on the computer and sign them up for all these appointments which are difficult for the most technologically
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capable people. so how can we make sure this vaccine is accessible to folks easily? dr. aaronson, since you are a geriatrician, i'd love to know what you think some of our older viewers can do. >> yeah, it's actually been on the one hand amazing how we've ramped up all these centers, but also slightly disappointing that so many of them lack chairs for people to sit in, or they'll say this place is really easy to get to, but many people have retired from driving, aren't safe on the buses, are not going to get in somebody else's car. so what dr. burke harris was talking about of the community-based strategy and using community-based organizations is working really well. i know there are a bunch of the in southern california that have already done this. i think any vaccine dissemination plan, even if it's going to be primarily digital needs a robust multilingual
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phone option at all times. and any flyers that go out need to have a phone number listed prominently, because people are going to have questions about how do they get places. at ucsf, we found we actually had to provide transportation for some people over age 75. with some groups we've also found that going to places where there are lots of seniors really helps. if you're not in that category but have kept yourself safe and might accompany someone, i've also seen online young people just walking across the street to older neighbors and saying hey, can i help you sign up? there are so many ways we can all be a part of making this better. >> i have a comment which may turn into another question for dr. aaronson, but we were just talking earlier on the news about massachusetts piloting a buddy vaccination program. so if anyone were a caretaker and were to take someone above the age of 75 to get his or her vaccine, they would also be eligible for a vaccine. given how many people out there
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desperately want to get one, in theory it sounds awesome. and i know this probably would run into bottleneck supply, but my co-panelists, do you think this would be feasible in california or other states? >> absolutely. i would say that we're seeing some really innovative strategies being deployed across the state as dr. aaronson mentioned at ucsf there are several programs down here in southern california. we have hospital that has done outreach to the senior living facilities and assisted living facilities in their area, and preregistered that come in for the vaccine. when they get there, they're expedited. these are focused on higher risk, in some cases isolated for months, and we want to keep them safe. so let's get them vaccinated. let's do it quickly. they're actually deploying a wholed a dre of ucla undergrads to help with this process.
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so i think as dr. aaronson so nicely stated, it's really imperative for us to think outside the box and think how do we help our neighbors. how do we help the people who don't know who need our help? and i think that's where the community-based organizations and those strategies that they've deployed come into play. so it's really reaching out to the community and reaching out to the groups that actually know how to reach these communities, including the churches, the senior centers, the local primary schools. there are so many groups that can help and provide the services in language. that's really critical. >> wand so much discussion about vaccine, and that is a vaccine town hall, of course, but they're still testing and testing is very important. so we have another question from john jacobo, the health committee chair of the latino task force in san francisco who is wondering about this. >> the latino task force, we run
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numerous testing sites here in the city and county of san francisco. and we also just launched our first in community vaccination clinic. the one concern we have is we've kind of noticed trends throughout the city where we've seen a drop in how many people are coming to get covid tests to the point where at one site we were up to about 500 tests per day and it's dropped closer to 200. can we explain why it's important to still get tested and what the cadence should be for people to actually get tested even though a vaccine has arrived? >> i think we have only so much space in our brains and so much of our focus and attention right now is on getting vaccinated. so i wonder if that's contributing to lower testing rates doctor. patel, what do you think? >> i think it's multifactoral. i think a lot of people are thinking about vaccination. there may be a false sense of security, and this is just my anecdotal evidence. i've heard from people saying trends are going down, our case rate are all decreasing, and
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there may be less urgency for people to go and get tested. i think what's really important especially as we're trying to monitor variants, people who have exposures still need to go and get tested so they can self-isolate and we can prevent further outbreaks. we use so many analogies. i like to think of it we're in the second half of a marathon. we have to finish it. we can't stop and let the pandemic catch up to us. we're in a race between variants and outbreaks and trying to get ourselves to herd immunity. >> all right, thank you, dr. patel. you talked about this false sense of security. i think this kind of ties into this question people are having about what it is, what can i safely do at this point? and we got an email from miss v., and she said when we have both vaccines, how soon will be be able to travel? will we still have to have a negative covid test to fly? it ties into this question we also got from dawn which says after getting the vaccine, will i still be a carrier and have a chance to infect someone else? so i think a lot of people are
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excited about this vaccine but still kind of curious as to what is safe to do because we don't want to continue to spread this. so i don't know. all of you could probably address this, but dr. patel, what are you telling people who have these questions about what can i do safely to not spread covid, even if i have this vaccine? >> and i'll be quick so one of the other panelists can jump in too because there is a lot of information out there. as of right now, we're still waiting to see definitive data about how much these vaccines can reduce transmission. the vaccine trials were about preventi preventing symptomatic. we're waiting to see how much it can prevent that person-to-person transmission. which is why it's still really important for people to do everything they can to protect people around them, including wearing masks, distancing and all of that. there was some early data from the astrazeneca vaccine that showed people after getting the shot, their pcr samples were going down, they were carrying
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less virus. it's totally feasible we're going find out that these vaccines are not only giving us this protected immunity, but actually sterilizing immunity. they're preventing the virus from actually spreading around, which would be a great thing to find out. i think people need to stay tight -- sit tight and do the same thing until we learn more. >> i think that's extremely important. and, again, just to reemphasize it, that the vaccine as far as we know today does not prevent the spread from one person to another. i hope that we will learn that it does. but we don't have that data now. that means that we believe that you can be vaccinated well and protected from becoming significantly ill or dying, but still transmit this virus to other people. until we get to what is called herd immunity, and you've heard that word before, this idea of having enough people in the population who are immunized so that there is no more fuel for
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this fire to burn. there are no more logs to put on the fire. it's already done. and the fire burns itself out. that's about 80% of the population. so just think about where we are today and where we are to get to 80%. that's going to be a while. so you have to know that this is not a magic single bullet that all of the sudden you are immune and you can go do whatever you want to do. and also remember this. as you're thinking about traveling, you're traveling to other states or other countries where there may be different strains and different levels of risk. you don't know that. so you're going need to be cautious for a while. and i think we realize that maybe hopefully after the summer into the early fall, things will have gotten to a place where life can certainly resume to be more normal. but the one thing is if we don't follow the rules, we're not going get to the finish line, because the finish line is going keep moving back. >> i know a lot of people also have questions about kids, and this is another question from
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brittany doyle with wise health about that. >> why are children excluded from the vaccine? and what's the strategy to vaccinate children? >> and let's start with you, dr. brown. what would you say to someone who is worried about their children and the plan to get them this vaccine? >> well, i was hoping you would go to the pediatrician, but i will tell you that, you know, the vaccine tests the trials for the most part did not include children. so one of the vaccine trials included children 16 and above. there are some ongoing studies now with children 12 and older, but because we don't have great evidence with children, the acip that is a decision making body for the country on everything related to vaccines basically gave priority to adults and said until we get better evidence for
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the pfizer vaccine at 16 and older and for the moderna -- the moderna is 16 and older and pfizer is 18 and older. and i defer to dr. patel, who i know has a lot of knowledge. >> have i some knowledge, but i also get a lot of questions from anxious and worried parents, teens and kids about this as well. and, you know, dr. brown's on point with the fact that we didn't have the data to actually definitively say hey, if this was proven effective and safe and people above the age of 16, we can just give to it younger kids as well. you know, children against the misnomer are not just little adu adult, and adults are not just big children. our bodies react differently to different medications, vaccines being one of them. and we may totally find out that younger kids, kids in trials age 12 or even younger may require a different dose. our immune responses are also different.
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in some vaccines children have a different level react differently to the vaccine as well. in the same way they responded differently when they got covid-19, and they weren't getting the same level of acute severe symptoms, but they were coming up with these delayed inflammatory responses which kind of gave scientists a pause that maybe we shouldn't generalize them with the vaccine either. i think we may see some data about kids 12 and up by summer time. i know there is a lot of people who want to see that data before the fall school year, and i am one of them. >> can i just jump in on that as the geriatrician. there are three main life phases, childhood, adulthood and elderhood. these trials have been new in recent years included in moderna up to 85. note we started vaccinating people in long-term care facilities who are often older than 85, sometimes 20 and 25 years older than 85.
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which some people might find shocking, but now as i often deal with two generations of patients. we often don't include those people in trials, and they have different responses. indeed, if you look on the cdc website, you will find the different reactions in children to the virus. you will not still find despite an extensive evidence base the different presentations in older adults. so i think this is also an opportunity to think about, yes, we are more vulnerale at both ends of the life span. but when we're studying something that matters to all humans, we need to include humans of all backgrounds and all ages in those trials because history has shown when we do not and apply the results to those people, we often do them harm. >> dr. aaronson, i want to pose this question for to you this. is from wallace fung of community youth center of san francisco. he told us he has been getting a lot of questions about the impact for older individuals. >> can someone be too old to
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get -- to receive the vaccine because they have heard a lot of rumors so they're not sure if their body would be able to hold up. >> yeah, there is a lot of people concerned. am i too old? am i better off not to get it and to risk it and my body is overloaded? what would you say? >> it's such a good question. and the good news is that what we are finding is that older people tolerate this vaccine very well. in fact, probably because of a phenomenon called immunosenesence. older people tend to have less severe reactions. by that i mean your average 50 something-year-old compared to your average 30 something-year-old. there is a range over the life span.
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so it appears to be perfectly safe. and given if you're quite old you're at incredible risk of severe illness, death, or huge functional or cognitive losses from the virus. we are strongly encouraging this. and sort of for better or worse, we haven't given vaccines to kids because we haven't studied them, but we have given vaccines to very old people, although we haven't studied them. and luckily we found that they tolerate them well. >> panelists, i have one quick question for you. for all of our older folks who have been able to get the vaccine or may be looking at their second vaccine which can sometimes come with stronger side effects. what can people take, what type of over-the-counter medications are safe to take after a vaccine, and how many hours after the vaccine is it safe to take tylenol, ibuprofen, advil? what are your thoughts? dr. brown, maybe you can answer. >> sure. you know, i think we've -- i preface this by saying you
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should definitely talk to your doctor about it because you may have a reason for not being able to take one or more of these medications. but for many people, taking tylenol a few hours after the vaccine is fine, or advil, making sure you take it with food. but for people who are having side effects, that's helpful. and as dr. aaronson said, a lot of times many of the people i'm seeing have not had very many side effects from the second dose. so the second dose is the place where we see more symptoms. >> one thing -- i'm sorry. we're going have to answer this question in the break because we're going to take a short paused here on tv and be right back with some final thoughts
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>> welcome back, everyone. we just want to say thank you so much to our panel of experts for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk with us today and with all of you about the crucial questions surrounding the covid-19 vaccines. it is a time for optimism, but in many ways we have quite a ways to go in the fight against this pandemic. >> absolutely. thanks so much to our panelists. we'll continue to follow the important stories and keep you informed and connected to all sorts of great resources. you can find more on and on our connected tv app for your roku, apple tv, amazon fire and android tv. thank you so much for joining us. again, thank you to all our brilliant panelists. abc7 news at 5:00 is coming up next.
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- i'm norm. - i'm szasz. [norm] and we live in columbia, missouri. we do consulting, but we also write. [szasz] we take care of ourselves constantly; it's important.
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next at 5:00, the cdc rolling out guidelines for reopening schools. what doctors here think of the plan. how will it impact the bay area. what three different districts are doing right now. and right now cvs offering vaccines. getting a shot is not as easy as walking through the pharmacy door. and the vaccine pecking order. the millions of californians that can get the vaccine starting next month. businesses struggling to stay afloat despite a lot of people outside of their door. >> building a better bay area for a safe and secure feature. this is abc 7 news. >> we begin with the cdc's new blueprint for reopening


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