Prominent doctor reveals what ‘keeps him up at night’ despite positive news on coronavirus vaccines

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A University of California, San Francisco doctor says there are plenty of developments to get excited about with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are still a number of potential issues to watch.

Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of UCSF Department of Medicine at the highly regarded university, posted a series of tweets on Tuesday laying out what still “keeps him up at night” about the rollout and logistics of the vaccination procces.

In a 23-tweet thread he touched on three key areas of concern:

  • Who gets the vaccine first
  • The shot itself
  • Misinformation

While Wachter remains positive about the vaccine and agrees with health care workers and nursing home residents getting the first shots, he says other essential workers and elderly people ‘can make an argument for all of them to get vaccinated as soon as possible.’

He says an argument can be made for health care workers, people over 65 in nursing homes, food handlers, police, firefighters, and teachers to also receive the first vaccine.

Based on information from Pfizer, Moderna, and Operation Warp Speed, Wachter made his own estimate on U.S. people being vaccinated in 2021:

“As the graph shows, I estimate it’ll be ~May before we get to all 144M of the high-priority folks. This timeline could shorten if additional vaccines are approved, and lengthen if there are rollout glitches. If demand is low, I assume we’ll just broaden the eligible groups.”

Graph from Dr. Bob Wachter

The shot itself worries Wachter because some who experience symptoms could decide not to get their shot due to the discomfort they feel for a couple of days after.

“Probably some, particularly in lower-risk groups – & we’ll need many to take shots to get to herd immunity. Analogous to the challenge of getting low-risk folks to wear masks & buy health insurance – many are too selfish to accept pain for others.”

In addition, Wachter talks about misinformation coming from anti-vaxxers or online bots.

In Wachter’s Twitter thread, he goes on to talk about other worries he has, including President Trump’s team handling the first month of vaccine distribution, the impact of the approved vaccines, kids getting vaccines, keeping track of who received a vaccine, and how long the immunity lasts.

“I do have worries,” Wacher concluded. “But let’s not lose sight of the fact that, on November 1st, we didn’t know for sure that we would have ANY effective vaccines. Today we have at least 2-3 highly effective ones, an impressive safety track record, and millions of doses ready to go.”

Click here to read Dr. Wachter’s Twitter thread.

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