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Video Badger Talks video: Vaccine arrival is first step

December 15, 2020 By Veronica Rueckert

As the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are administered to essential workers, James Conway is optimistic that they seem to be “at least the first step in this exit ramp that we’re all looking for.”

Conway is an expert on international immunization programs and global health and an associate director at the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In this Badger Talks video, Conway discusses the effectiveness of the first vaccines and who’s being vaccinated in the first wave. The decision to inoculate health care works, residents of long-term care facilities and those who care for them should help address those who are suffering most and reduce strain on the health care system.

The U.S. has practice with large-scale operations, like the one now required to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Conway. The seasonal flu shot typically goes out to roughly half the U.S. population and the H1N1 vaccine also required a similar strategy. Even so, Conway calls the job ahead a “Herculean” task.

The ultra-cold temperature required for the Pfizer vaccine is one logistical issue to consider, and Conway says some people may still need reassurance that the vaccine development was “safe and comfortable.”

As for getting back to normal, whatever that may be, Conway says, “I could see that by fall 2021 things could start to look substantially different than what we’ve all been living with.”