COVID Update: After recent FDA approval, society is moving towards, requiring vaccines at a rapid pace.

And that’s about to get another jolt. 1/
Over 5.5 billion vaccines have been administered around the world. Think about this from a safety standpoint. Rare things happen when they occur a few times per MILLION. So we’ve seen it all.

At this point the safety record would have to be called impeccable. 2/
Over 5.5 billion shots, given to people of all ages & health, you would expect everything to occur. Yet there are only very modest & rare adverse events.

Even anti-vax strategies seem to acknowledge this reality. 3/
Anti-vax rhetoric is not the same as people who have concerns or questions. The rhetoric, perpetuated by a small number with dark motives, aims to sow doubt about vaccines.

The rhetoric began emphasizing “it’s unsafe” but evidence is it has had to shift to “it doesn’t work.” 4/
But they do work. They don’t work like we thought they did last December but they work.

Immunity wanes. Against variants like Delta, symptoms can break through. It reduces but doesn’t eliminate spread. But it delivers on what it was asked to. 5/
The latest data show a 5x benefit from a vaccine against being sick & a 29x benefit against being hospitalized.

It you told me something was free & proven safe and gave me a 29x benefit against being hospitalized (about 95%), I’d say that seems like a good deal. 6/
Even if that data were to change a little, things in the category of simple to do, carry almost no risks & can save lives are what’s called in policy circles a “home run.”

Seatbelts are an example from 5 decades ago. 7/
I remember when people faught seatbelt laws. Would make cars too expensive. Would trap people. In many collisions, people will still die.

But most of the resistance in the face of data ended up turning on rhetoric. But soon enough almost everyone made this slight adjustment.8/
Vaccines are even more obvious from a public policy standpoint.

Not only will they save lives, but unlike seatbelts, they reduce deaths for others, protect kids who can’t vaccinate themselves, reduce economic pain for businesses & families. 9/
So different sectors requiring vaccines to be around large crowds, particularly if done while offering people choices, is more than justified on the facts. 10/
So what’s the argument against? What protests will be thrown up around this tweet?

With 5 billion facts, there is surely a rhetorical storm about rights, coercion and tyranny.

An argument by the way that Washington overcame when he required vaccines against small pox. 11/
There will be other concerns, many of them valid.

The cost to business
The inconvenience
The ability to enforce 12/
But here the secret must finally come out.

In a global pandemic we do occasionally have to inconvenience ourselves & make adjustments to protect against it.

I know I know. But I’m sorry. But it just fucking is what it is. 13/
But whatever the arguments, the news here is very good.

20% of people are saying they face a vaccine requirement at work
900 universities now require it
2/3 believe in mask mandates for schools
LA County is adding a requirement, others likely to follow 14/
With the President’s speech today & the FDA’s approval, the burden is shifting from employers , schools & venues having to answer “why a requirement?” to “why not a requirement?” 15/
If you enter a school, a bar, the place you work or a concert, you should be able to know whether your risk of getting infected is high or whether precautions are being taken.

And this is where the requirement becomes a little weaker but much more tolerable…16/
The concession that vaccines should be required in many cases is creating an exception for frequent testing which demonstrates people aren’t infectious. 17/
This requires many more low cost tests be available— one of the critical components of Biden’s initiative today. 18/
We have a choice to spread small obligations among many that would lessen significant burdens to others.

Societies face these choice frequently & the decisions need to be made respectfully & with care.
19/
The changes the president announces today will do more good for more people.

As always, not everyone will get on board right away. Their concerns should be listened to & attempts should be made to accommodate them, but no one should be granted a heckler’s veto. /end

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More from @ASlavitt

7 Sep
COVID Update: How big a problem will future variants be?

I got an update from several top scientists. 1/
Quick review. Viruses continually mutate but can only mutate when they replicate. And so far we’re giving SARS-CoV-2 plenty of opportunities to replicate. 2/
Most mutations aren’t worth noting. They don’t increase hospitalizations. They don’t increase infectiousness. And they don’t cause problems for prior immunity. 3/
Read 26 tweets
4 Sep
COVID Update: Over the long term the US could be among the countries with the highest cases, greatest risks of outbreaks, and largest home to new variants.

With people refusing vaccinations here, the globe is lapping the US very quickly.

1/
We’ve now given out 5.4 billion shots across the globe.

45 countries, almost all of whom began well after the US, have now fully vaccinated more of their population than the US. 2/
Our low vaccination rates relative to the globe has put the US up there with 3-4 mostly unvaxxed nations as a leading hot spot.

And because of our lower vaccination rate, unlike other early vaccinated countries like Israel & the UK, US death rates are 2-3x higher. 3/
Read 16 tweets
27 Aug
COVID Update: We are now nearing 5 billion cumulative global vaccinations. This is welcome news & our most important priority.

1/3 of the globe has now had 1 dose, 25% with 2. We can do this.

But if we don’t do it fast & with global equity we will have failed. 1/
This is both straightforward & exceedingly complex.

What’s straightforward is we must vaccinate the majority of the globe before an immune escape variant. That would mean needing to start all over.

Let’s avoid that. 2/
With 8 billion people & a 2 dose regime (will come back to that!), we would need 16 billion doses to vaccinate everybody. To vaccinate 70% of the globe (which experts use as a benchmark & accounts for kids) would mean 11.2 billion doses (or 6.2 billion more than today). 3/
Read 22 tweets
25 Aug
COVID Update: There are few more important or sensitive topics than kids & their health.

They are being made pawns in a dangerous game. We need to be put a stop to it. 1/
There is a fairly loud camp that believes the focus on kids is overblown & mask mandates are harmful.

Much of their logic if there is any has to turn on the fact that very very few kids have died from COVID. Thankfully most indeed recover.

That argument misses a lot. 2/
Let’s start with data. There were over 130,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in kids this week. Up 4x from a month ago. But we’re just getting started & before school is back in much of the country. 3/
Read 20 tweets
24 Aug
NEW: 2 brand new studies give a fresh look at vaccine performance vs Delta.

The bottom line is run don’t walk to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. There’s a 29x reduction in hospitalizations— even against Delta.

And a couple more things.1/ cdc.gov/mmwr/index.html
The vaccine effectiveness against Delta slipped from 90% protection against any infection to 66% with Delta.

This also corresponded with a longer time since vaccination which seemed to be a small part of the impact.2/
Combing results from both studies showed that at 66% effectiveness, it corresponded to a 5x likely reduction in cases from the vaccine. Reason alone to take it.

But the 5x was minor compared to the 29x reduction in hospitalizations with Delta. 3/
Read 10 tweets
23 Aug
COVID Update: Many Southern states are doing things particularly dangerously.

But just because your Governor isn’t throwing you to the wolves doesn’t mean things can’t be as bad in the rest of the country. 1/
To be clear the governors of Florida, Texas & Arizona, to pick 3, are governing particularly poorly— even for them.

Used to dealing with hurricanes & other natural disasters, governors usually have the sense when to tell people to leave their homes & get to high ground. 2/
Political rhetoric about freedom has served as a trap, allowing only the limpest of responses. It has never been about, nor has it created, a lick of additional freedom to tell people the storm is mild, might not hit them & they’re not permitted to require sandbags. 3/
Read 23 tweets

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