Wisconsin planning for COVID vaccine- who will get it and when

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:40 PM CDT
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Five COVID vaccines are currently in phase three of trials, according to Gundersen Health System.

The state of Wisconsin is proposing who should receive a vaccine first while supplies are limited.

In order to provide herd immunity, doctors say hundreds of millions of doses of a COVID vaccine will be needed in the US.

Producing such a large amount can take time which is why Gundersen says some companies are producing now before approval.

“This Operation Warp Speed that people have heard about, the advantage is that they’re investing in subsequent stages before they even pass the prior stage,” said Dr. Raj Naik, a Wisconsin Ethics subcommittee co-chair.

Doctor Raj Naik with Gundersen Health System says while that process can cut down the time it will take Americans to receive the immunization, the research is not being fast-forwarded.

“We cannot shortcut the science,” Naik said. “Science still needs to go through the traditional phases of study.”

Knowing there won’t be enough doses of a vaccine for everyone initially, the State Disaster Medical Advisory Commitee (SDMAC) created a proposed priority list-- first are frontline healthcare workers.

“They’re the ones that respond to the crisis for this pandemic and have to care for people that become ill,” Naik explained.

Doctor Naik is the co-chair of the SDMAC Ethics Subcomittee.

He says the next priority is proposed for those at severe risk.

“Those people will high risk of mortality--meaning dying from the disease or for complications from the disease,” Naik added.

Once a vaccine is approved and ready for distribution it will take months for low-risk healthy patients to receive it and doctors say even longer for children.

“Children haven’t been studied yet,” said Naik. “One of the five vaccines is just opening up trials to those children 12 and up and so children are going to be several months down the line as well.”

One of the trials, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, is currently paused after unexplained illness in one participant.

Doctors say that’s not uncommon with trials and shows the safety measures in place.

“We want people to know that this is going to be something when it ultimately gets to market that is safe and effective,” Naik stressed. “That’s critically important because it’s not about developing vaccines it’s making sure that people get vaccinated and those are not the same.”

To read the Ethical Draft Framework, click here.

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