Vaccines are an important contributor to the increase in life expectancy over the last century. In 1900, life expectancy was less than 50 years and now it is greater than 80 years. Vaccines may have been the greatest medical factor associated with that improvement. It is without a doubt that vaccines have benefits to the individual and those are well documented. In the midst of our current pandemic, we are seeing in real time, the benefits that a vaccine not just to the individual but to all of society.
The ‘full public health value’ of vaccination is an area of ongoing debate in the world of public health. We are very soon going to see the individual benefits from COVID-19 vaccination. The full public health benefit will not be understood for several years but that value will be great, in all likelihood.
I am frequently asked how one can sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination. Presently, that list does not exist; aggressive efforts by the public health sector are underway to create the proper list.
Administration of the first vaccines started on December 14. Those vaccinations were given to healthcare workers in acute care hospitals. At this time we do not know where subsequent vaccinations will be distributed. Based on the information from the Texas Medical Board, public health safety officials and news reports, we believe that nursing homes will be second on the priority list for vaccine distribution. Subsequent to that, outpatient administration via medical practices and pharmacies will offer the vaccination to those individuals at increased risk (i.e. elders with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease).
For the latest information on when vaccines will be available to you, please contact your healthcare provider and check local news outlets for the latest details.
Based upon the reports I’m seeing, we are very likely to have an adequate supply of vaccines. I predict that almost everyone who wants to get vaccinated during the first few months of 2021 will be able to do so.
Vaccinations have the greatest return on investment in the world of medicine as compared to all therapeutics and prophylactics available to us. Developing a vaccine and vaccinating a worldwide population as quickly as we are on schedule to do for COVID-19, has never been done. This is an amazing example of what modern day biomedical science can achieve. I am encouraging all of my patients to participate in the vaccination plan. I am doing so because of the trust that I have in the vaccine research and development programs that companies like GSK and Pfizer have in place. They have a very good track record. I will be getting my vaccination as soon as possible.