As nation prepares for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Regenstrief expert talks need, benefits

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Rebekah Davis and Lacy Akin, two Terre Haute residents, said they’ve been living in fear since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s their hope that the COVID-19 vaccine will allow them to return to a sense of normalcy.

“I have elderly family members and immunocompromised family members that I haven’t been able to hug in months and I hate that,” Davis explained. “It’s really taken a toll on a lot of people’s mental health including my own. So I’m really excited to have this vaccine.”

“There’s too many people dying and too many people having long term effects from COVID-19. I feel so bad for our nurses and our doctors who are stressed out every single day,” Akin said.  “So it’s not just about me. It’s about everyone else too. “

Davis and Akin both have kept up with the progress of the vaccine’s development…

Davis said she doesn’t have any concerns. However Akin said she wonders about the vaccine’s distribution process.

“If I get my first dose are they going to make sure that they have enough of that same vaccine on hand? So that in three weeks when I go back they aren’t like ‘Oops! We ran out.’ There’s some logistical concerns that I’m curious about.”

Dr. Shaun Grannis, Vice President of Data and Analytics at the Regenstrief Institute, said the need for the vaccine is great and it’ll help slow the spread of the virus.

“If you look at medical advances, that have increased our life expectancy, vaccines are at the top of the list. They’re incredibly effective and they have very low risk profiles,” Grannis noted.

Researchers aren’t sure if the new COVID-19 vaccines will become an annual requirement, similar to the influenza vaccine.

However they are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

Grannis said he expects a public health campaign to begin shortly after the first round of vaccines are given to healthcare workers and long-term care patients.

“We want to encourage people to consider the vaccine. My advice is that anyone who is eligible and able to take the vaccine should,” he said.   

He explained certain steps will need to be taken before herd immunity can be achieved.

“Getting greater clarity on the overall process of administration like ‘how do we get this out to the entire population quickly?’ will be important,” Grannis continued. “There are many dedicated people on the national level and in Indiana making sure that this will go as smooth and as effective as possible.”

In the video below, Dr. Grannis explains the importance of masks after vaccines are distributed:

In the video below, Dr. Grannis explains the importance of those who’ve had the virus getting vaccinated:

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