Coronavirus Outbreak: Part 2

We have grown to prefer it and won’t ever go back to the big crazy :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: family holidaze

One of my two stepbrothers and my stepsister still live in my MN hometown, and they each have 2 grown kids that live within driving distance (except one still in HS).

We always come for a week at Christmas and get a rental cabin near my parents so we’re omnipresent at their house for most meals and everyone else usually works in to have at least one or two meals at my parents to see us. Between situations of “other set of parents” of spouses and a divorce, it’s a rotating door of Christmas meals. A big meal on both Christmas Eve and Day, plus always a big fish fry (I will so miss my walleye!), and a pizza night or two (I will also so miss my pizza fix from the family pizza place owned by family friends).

There was one Christmas we had to delay until January due to my work, and the one the twins were born at Thanksgiving and were still in the NICU when my mom came and stayed with us for over a month, but otherwise this is the first Christmas I won’t have been there.

So it’s a huge deal to all of us that we’re not going. With my stepdad being a hair’s width away from being an invalid and my mom being his primary caregiver, she really depends on our visits as something to look forward to. She’s always done a ton of volunteer work, even before she retired, and she’s had to give most of that up (she still does a smidge at the hospital while my stepdad gets kidney dialysis). She absolutely understands and supports our decision not to come, but I still hate to disappoint her.


Unfortunately, the timing is going to be a little short for Christmas, I think? The first dose will hopefully be available in mid-December, but I would think takes a week or two to kick in at all, and protection wouldn’t be complete until after the second dose a month later kicks in? Worriedly, people might have false confidence about their level of protection if they’ve only received one dose?


It’s weird to me that more people don’t do a nuclear family Xmas. I grew up in a military family and like 95% of ours were that. It seemed strange to me when I got married and we’d go to his family’s house with tons of people. So to me the “staying at home” Thanksgiving and Xmas is completely normal.


Ok, I caught up somewhat on the latest timeline info on the vaccines today.

FDA meets on Pfizer vaccine on Dec 10. They could potentially start giving immunizations within 24 hours of approval. FDA meets on Moderna vaccine Dec 17.

This article has a good summary that covers several articles I read.

This article talks about herd immunity of 70% possible being achieved by May, if the public cooperates. (Sounds like May is best case scenario, with July being more conservative.)

This article dives deeper into the phases of who will get the vaccine and seems to align with the chart I’d posted previously. (Yes, school staff are mentioned in the school teacher phase.)

A couple interesting tidbits from the above or other articles.
The ultimate distribution of vaccines and prioritization will be under control of the states.
The two doses will be administered 3 weeks apart.


This is honestly as fast as I could possibly hope for, at least once it became clear to us lay folk in March / April that we weren’t going to get “back to normal” any time soon.

(There was a time in late February / early March where I think many of us had that naive optimism that it would all blow over in a couple months - we just couldn’t conceive that in the modern world that we could be so crippled by a virus. But here we are.)


Antibodies are typically produced 1-3 weeks after exposure to an antigen, including via vaccination, and some immunity is always better than none. Some people will be immune after the first shot- others may get infected, but do better because they already have circulating antibodies and their T and B cells are primed. Immunity is on a spectrum- a booster ensures the highest amount of immunity but not everyone needs it, it’s just easier & less expensive to just give it to everyone rather than check and see if they need it.

Certainly having had the vaccine for any length of time before exposure to the virus is much better than not having had it at all. Especially with this virus, there’s such a wide variation in severity of infection that natural partial immunity probably plays a very significant role. I would expected artificially induced partial immunity to have the same impact.

So for the most vulnerable people, which is who I was talking about, I would expect it to make a material impact on their health and well-being by the end of the year, if they can get vaccinated quickly. Because they are the vast majority of who end up in the ICU, it will help relieve the burden on the hospitals very soon after it’s available. Some of them won’t get sick at all, and the ones who do may have a milder course- including avoiding death.


@amvanhoose and anyone interested, here’s an article that popped up today discussing the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines, and comparing the immunity conferred by each and what they have to do to reach their targets. For the AZ vaccine, 70% were immune after one dose.

But to get to immunity of over 90%, it sounds like the side effects might be to great, so it’s probably going to be split up into two doses like Pfizer. There are many considerations regarding how they decide what’s “effective” & how best to reach that threshold. Any time they split the dose, they run the risk that some people just won’t followup, but they have to balance that against side effects from one big shot. If it’s too nasty, no one will want even one dose!


I don’t think 70% is a single dose efficacy? I’ve read a couple of different articles trying to understand the AZ efficacy, and here was the clearest explanation I could find.

“The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective. That means that, overall, when both ways of dosing are considered, the vaccine showed an efficacy rate of 70%.”

The reason I’ve read several articles is this seems counterintuitive to me. Why would starting with a half dose rather than a full dose result in a higher efficacy?

ETA: The article talks about the researchers having the same question, but not really a good explanation. But it does leave me wondering.


It would be challenging to get people to get 2 doses. And do we know yet if this will be like the annual flu shot or one/twice and done? Maybe it is too early to know.

I had to nag DS20 to get his flu shot, which he finally got on Friday, even though he is home. The last 2 years, he would happen to walk along the path center campus and see the free flu shots being offered. He would wander over and get it done. Out of site, out of mind.


:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: Love it… even if it’s “big brotherish”


It is, but Im sure they watch for safety. If someone had a medical emergency, it would be best if a CM could immediately address the situation. Rides and attractions are the only spots DH was worried about. He thinks plenty of people will try to take their masks off when “no one’s looking” and then your stuck. At least in a line, shop, restaurant etc you can move away. He will be happy to hear this, less than 7 day 20 hours and I’ll be there!


yes, you’re right about that. It’s 70% effectiveness overall, and although some people will have immunity after one dose, they didn’t say how many, but it’s not the 70% I thought it was. I think that the explanation given about the differences between the two trials was a bit facile (actually there was no real explanation given as the researchers themselves don’t know why it worked that way) which makes me think they have a little bit of work to do. There might have been something different in the way the batches for the two trials were prepared- even if they didn’t know it at the time. Between this and the business with the transverse myelitis, I hope they take their time.

I think the main advantage of the AZ vaccine over the Pfizer is that it doesn’t require storage and shipping in extremely cold temperatures, so I hope they are able to work out the dosing differences.

Yes, and that part worries me. Not only because people might not followup, but there are timing issues. It means that when they say they shipped e.g. 10 million doses, only 5 million people will be fully vaccinated- maybe. I wonder if clinics will save the second dose- or will it be 10 million vaccinated and then three weeks later the clinics involved hope the second shipment comes through? I see many different means by which the plans could fail.

And because we haven’t had a coronavirus vaccine before, as you say we don’t know how long it will be effective. If this process has to be repeated every couple of years, I think that the virus will just become endemic, and most of us will eventually get it. I hope we don’t get it repeatedly. The long term outlook is not great for us, but it’s terrific for vaccine manufacturers!

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Of course I can’t find the article I want to reference now, but one thing I read this morning pointed to a number of differences between the two trials that could cause these results. Of course, it also said that the half dose given as the first shot was actually an error by the researchers! In that part of the trial (which occurred in the UK), they mistakenly lowered the dose for the first shot, and once they discovered it, decided to just keep going that way.

The findings actually pointed to only 62% efficacy for the two full strength shots and around 90% for the half dose and then full dose. But the trial with the half dose had a smaller number of participants than the one with two full doses. Given the smaller numbers the differences between the two could easily just be a statistical anomaly - it’s hard to tell based only on what they’ve released thus far. We definitely need more data to really know what’s going on there.


This makes a lot of sense. They really are very early in this process, not nearly as far along as I had thought. Whew!

Edit: When I say “early in the process” I mean the phase III trials, where they’re refining the doses. They are not very close to releasing the vaccine just yet, not like Pfizer.

Also, I was able to find where they talked about the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine. They saw immunity starting at about a week out:

When it shows up here, I’ll be up front rolling up my sleeve as fast as I can!


Didn’t I call first in line? I thought I did?


I thought this was an interesting read.

People are going to be skeptical if public health officials push information not supported by data. While I can give a lot of grace to officials and politicians during the earlier days of the pandemic in terms of how they handle it and what they told us to do to be safe, they need to change the guidance as data changes as we learn more.

DSIL cancelled our backyard Thanksgiving lunch because the high on Thursday is forecasted to be about 62 degrees. Too cold to be eating outside. I know, we are wimps! The guys are all okay with eating outside but not any of the girls. DSIL and us live in the same development. We decided to still swap dishes so both families won’t both have to make everything. That means we can have double the selection of desserts and starches!

DD22 is flying home on Thanksgiving morning. By then, she would have been quarantining herself for nearly 14 days, with the exception of going into her biotech lab for work everyday. She took a COVID test last Wednesday and is still awaiting results. When she returns to San Diego, her boss is requiring a COVID test before she can return to the office. I scratch my head at this one because our positivity rate at home is lower than in San Diego (2.1% vs 5%). We live in the same state! I told her to ask if she has to take the test if she drove home instead of flying home.

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Maybe her boss is worried about the airplane and airport?

Maybe he just wants to be safe, rather than just ‘trust’ something no one can be sure about. :slight_smile:

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I do recall seeing some data here from a county in Washington that 50% of their cases were household transmission and maybe 22% from social gatherings. I think the rest were a mixture of work sites, long term care, and unknown. This was a few weeks ago. As numbers are exploding here, they probably cannot say for sure what’s happening any more.