Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine

PEOPLE, PAY ATTENTION: We are in peak Covid-19 spread right now. Our small practice suffered 14 infections in the past 6 weeks alone, about 3% of our members. Affected family who were not our direct patients increase that number to about 22. That is awful. Several have been quite sick. We have been trying unsuccessfully to date to get antibody infusions for new cases, though may finally have succeeded in that with a couple we diagnosed two days ago. The benefit is uncertain. We still have no other outpatient medication for the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

People are being careless

The common infection theme is that people are not being rigorous in their self-care and protection. It is work-related exposure from office settings, or family-related when someone visits the sister’s family at their home where the son was seeing some other friends and so forth. There is so much asymptomatic disease around that you can’t effectively verbally screen to protect yourself. Even rapid tests at our office (or PCR tests for that matter) just improve the odds of being safe; they are not assurance of safety.

The peak risk of this pandemic will be continuing through March, maybe April. And you still will need to wear masks and social distance for months after you get your immunization at least through the second quarter and more likely through the fall. Detailed guidance will evolve, but we have a long way to go.

We are prepared, but need the vaccine to give you

Orchard Health Care has been ready since December to administer a Covid-19 vaccine to all of our patients. We are approved by DPH for this purpose. But we as of today still have no date certain for receiving the vaccine, no do we know which one (though likely Moderna), nor how many doses.

Everyone is on our list, in priority

We have listed everyone in our practice on our Covid-19 vaccine lists. We have noted everyone’s additional risks from “comorbidities” such as diabetes, or hypertension, or immunosuppression of any sort. The first distribution wave should be everyone over 75, everyone over 65, and everyone with at least two comorbidities regardless of age. We hope, but do not know, that we will have supplies from DPH to vaccinate these members starting by second week in February.

We will let everyone know by email and by blog post. We’ll have a website signup again, as we did for flu vaccines, which worked well. We expect to devote sequential days to vaccination to get any group done quickly. We can safely do 70-80 people daily, so it will go very quickly, within a few days. We’ll also call older folks who may not be so computer-savvy to get them on the schedule.

So fear not. You’ll know as soon as we get word about vaccine supply.

Alternate sources of vaccine

Many of you have had outreach from your towns about their town distribution system. I don’t believe the towns will get it sooner than medical practices who are skilled in giving immunizations to known patients. But who knows? We have no problem if you sign up with your town as well. Do let us know if you get a first dose of either vaccine elsewhere.

Frustration abounds

Finally, the lack of vaccine distribution to us and the lack of clear mention of medical practices as a central part of any vaccine distribution system is of great concern to us, and really frustrating. I just emailed to our State House representatives (Rep. Thomas Stanley and Sen. Mike Barrett) and congresswoman Katherine Clark to voice my concern about the slow provision of vaccine to medical practices and almost complete lack of mention of medical practices as being part of the distribution plan for the vaccine, including in a Page 1 Boston Globe article today. The email is available here. If you agree, you can jingle their chain as well.

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15 Responses to BE CAREFUL! Too Many Infections. Vaccine Coming, Still Unclear When

  1. Lisette Cooper says:

    Hurray. Many thanks for this helpful note. I am way down on the list below all the groups mentioned above. Please keep us posted at least every couple of weeks as you move through the process. It may be months for the rest of us, but communication amd community is so very important. Thanks!

  2. Janet Flammey says:

    Please add our names to the Vaccine list of your patients.

    Janet and Ben Flammey

    Thank you

  3. Lawrence Schwartz says:

    Good update and good letter to the Boston Globe
    Many of my clients and friends from other states have had better luck than the people of Boston.
    Everyone at Dana Farber and Shriners Hospital has had a first dose

  4. Karen Belinky says:

    Thanks so much for the update. It is greatly appreciated. I sent emails to my state rep and senator this evening. Also to governor’s office and the covid planning group email. For the last 2, I quickly got an automated email which makes it clear that they will not be paying attention to comments from constituents.

  5. Karen Belinky says:

    Thanks so much for the update. It is greatly appreciated. I sent emails to my state rep and senator this evening. Also to governor’s office and the covid planning group email. For the last 2, I quickly got an automated email which makes it clear that they will not be paying attention to comments from constituents.

  6. Corinne Reppucci says:

    Thank you for the update. Seems the process is really much slower in Massachusetts than other states. Also, concerned there seems not to be enough vaccine for distribution.

  7. Margi and Dave Doherty says:

    Thanks, Dr. Kanner. We are very disappointed in how the State of Ma is handling the vacinne distribution and dates for vacinnation for all citizen categories. Many of our friends in Va. and Fla. have already had the first dose and have date certain for the second dose. And, we still have not finished with Phase I – not a good record for Ma. We look forward to your communication with us to help us navigate the course of receiving this vacinne as soon as possible. Thanks, again. Margi and Dave Doherty

  8. Andrew Ostrom says:

    Actually, I think there’s less of a vaccine shortage than a shortage of leadership in the Commonwealth. According to the Mass DPH Vaccine Dashboard, published weekly, as of 1/21, 591,775 doses of vaccine had been delivered to us, but only 359,919 had been administered. That means that there are almost a quarter of a million doses sitting unused in freezers somewhere. Someone or many people should be fired or put in jail for either incompetence or reckless endangerment.

  9. Margi Doherty says:

    Hi Dr. Kanner

    Was just at Dr. Czarnecki’s office; he seemed to think that primary care physicians may have the vaccine at their offices next week. Hope so. Thanks for keeping us informed and getting ready for when you do get the vaccine. Btw, it is very difficult to navigate the websites and almost impossible to get through. Even after we go through the steps, we get to the end and are informed no appointments available. Of course, we prefer to come to you for this shot so we will keep our fingers crossed that you will have it available very soon. Thanks. Margi

  10. Howard Bloom says:

    Dr. Kanner — are you required to live by whatever rules BI puts in place for vaccine distribution and administration, or are you totally independent of that?

    • DrKanner says:

      When (and if) we get vaccine to administer, we will follow the guidelines of the Mass DPH as to whom to give it. We are not independent. But we certainly can be more efficient in getting eligible members in to the office promptly and conveniently.

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