Medical College of Wisconsin: Community briefing recap of COVID-19 vaccine

Milwaukee, Dec. 22, 2020 – As the COVID-19 vaccine receives approval for emergency use authorization and Wisconsin receives its first batches, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) is pleased to continue providing up-to-date information and insight regarding the pandemic through COVID-19 Community Briefings, one of which took place yesterday at 6 p.m.

Who: Dr. John Raymond, President and CEO, and Dr. Laura Cassidy, Professor and Director in the Division of Epidemiology, MCW

Key messages

  • Dr. Raymond provided an update to the COVID-19 dashboard data in Wisconsin (1:44), and he put forth three potential reasons for why the pandemic is decelerating in Wisconsin: people are being more diligent about protecting themselves, the most susceptible individuals have gotten infected already and key people at the nexus of social networks have also already been infected. (4:27)
  • Dr. Raymond described vaccine precautions for those with significant allergies, as there have been a few instances of people who experienced an allergic reaction to it. If you do have a severe allergy, consult with your doctor beforehand, make sure the site is stocked with Epinephrine and wait at the site where you receive the vaccine for 15 minutes following. (13:10) “Even with an anaphylactic reaction, under the right supervised settings you can safely get the vaccine,” Dr. Raymond said. (50:11)
  • “The goal of vaccination is to achieve herd immunity,” Dr. Cassidy said. In June, 40-45% of people said they would get the vaccine. Now, 65-85% say they will receive it, “which is really encouraging,” she said. (19:10) 
  • Scientists are still studying how long immunity from the vaccine will last and if it prevents transmission of the virus from person to person. Also, clinical trials are beginning to test the vaccine on children. (21:25)
  • Dr. Cassidy addressed vaccine myths, explaining that it cannot give you COVID-19 or the flu because it does not contain a live virus. She also said that even if you have already had COVID-19, you should get the vaccine, as immunity from the vaccine is stronger than immunity from infection. The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines do not contain pork gelatin, for those who do not consume pork for religious reasons. They do not alter your DNA, and they do not require fetal cell cultures to create them. (22:52)

Dr. Raymond and Dr. Cassidy’s presentations were followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience (25:48), addressing the new strain of the virus discovered in England (25:50), why immunity from the vaccine is stronger than immunity from infection (31:05), how equitable vaccine distribution to underserved communities is being addressed (36:21), what constitutes an essential worker (39:00), the difference between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (42:00), precautions for those with preexisting conditions (45:47) and those who are pregnant or nursing (46:57), and how individuals will be notified when it is their turn to receive the vaccine (56:01).

View the full video recording here, and the Power Point presentation here

MCW continues to update those resources often for your use, distribution or posting to social media channels. Please find them here.