As vaccine manufacturers prepare to put a cure for Covid-19 on the market, several physicians and health experts nationwide are attempting to create an independent commission to review data from coronavirus vaccine trials before a vaccine is released on the market. The physicians cite several missteps by the government as the pandemic has progressed, along with growing public distrust of vaccines, and believe an additional layer of independent review is needed.
Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said she thought of the idea of an independent panel to increase trust in the vaccine after several colleagues told her they did not want to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.
“I’m hearing this from my peers, from doctors and nurses. They’re not anti-vaxxers. They’re pro vaccine. They vaccinated their own children. But they are skeptical about this vaccine,” said Stephenson, director of the clinical trials unit at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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When a coronavirus vaccine comes on the market, doctors say people will likely need two doses, not just one. The need for two doses is causing some concern among doctors who cite difficulties in the supply chain in securing enough test kits and protective gear when trying to vaccinate all citizens. In addition, getting people to return for a second vaccination could prove to be difficult, doctors say.
“There’s no question that this is going to be the most complicated, largest vaccination program in human history, and that’s going to take a level of effort, a level of sophistication, that we’ve never tried before,” said Dr. Kelly Moore, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University.
As the airline industry struggles to return to pre-pandemic flight sales, United Airlines announced it is permanently dropping its $200 fee for most people who change a ticket for travel within the U.S. Air travel remains down about 70 percent from one year ago and the country’s four largest airlines lost a total of $10 billion from April through June.
After Massachusetts issued a new statewide mandate requiring students to get flu shots by the end of the year, a rally against mandatory flu shots drew hundreds of parents in Boston at the Massachusetts State House on Sunday. The state issued the order amid concerns that flu cases combined with COVID-19 patients could overwhelm the healthcare system.
Administrators at the University of Alabama’s main campus in Tuscaloosa say almost 1,100 students have tested positive for the coronavirus since in-person classes began two weeks ago. Nine faculty and staff also have tested positive. Students infected with the virus are being isolated from the general population.
At least 260 coronavirus cases in 12 states have been associated with people who attended the 10-day motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, in early August. States with related infections include Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming. South Dakota reported the most, with 105 cases.