HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine gets the green light in the United Kingdom. Will top United States officials decide to do the same? That answer could come next week.
Meantime, one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panelist voted against recommendations to allow health care workers and the elderly first crack at the vaccine.
Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University, cited concerns over “safety reporting and reaction of the COVID-19 vaccine in older adults.”
Hartford Hospital’s Dr. Sam Pope said that is because most of the data looked at adults ages 18 to 55. Though some 80-year-old patients reported no issues.
“The safety profile is excellent, better than other vaccines that we’ve ever tested,” said Pope, the Director of the Medical ICU at Hartford Hospital.
Keipp Talbot, the CDC panelist, stressed she has, “no reservations for healthcare workers taking the vaccine.”
At Hartford HealthCare, that includes janitors and food service workers.
“There were a lot of people who had to empty all the garbage and clean floors and it’s easy to forget these are front line workers,” added Dr. Pope.
The doctor goes on to say the Pfizer vaccine contents are simple.
“The reality is there’s nothing in the vaccine beside the lipid carrier, messenger RNA and the base – which is saline. So there’s just very little in there that can cause side effects.”
Once the Food and Drug Administration authorizes a vaccine, the governor and his COVID advisors will decide who gets the shot.
“We’re going to be pretty close to what the CDC said in terms of prioritizing of public health workers and then the most vulnerable,” said Governor Ned Lamont.
Buried deep into the 77-page draft state mass vaccination plan – language on “injury compensation” and “liability immunity.”
Hamden Representative Josh Elliott who sits on the State COVID Advisory Panel admits, “Historically there have been vaccines that have caused damage.” Adding, “We want to ensure that people feel safe and secure using this vaccine so that’s more for people to know if something goes wrong that we have protections against it.”
Dr. Pope said three percent of study recipients reported mild fever, muscle aches and fatigue as significant side effects.
“I certainly am going to get vaccinated as early as possible. My family will. It does appear that it is extremely safe. It’s a medical breakthrough…truly miraculous.”
The federal government is expected to pay for the first round of shots. After that it’s unclear. The governor said he’s interested in tapping the state’s $3 billion rainy day fund to make sure he can get the vaccine out to you, sooner rather than later.
Once vaccines are given, the CDC said it looks for any reports on side effects. Here is how to report an adverse event to the CDC VAERS unit:
- Go to vaers.hhs.gov and submit a report online.
- For help, call (800) 822-7967 or email info@VAERS.org.
- Video instructions
- Safety information resources can be reached here and here.