PDF format is at: December 6,2020 Adult Sunday School

Two-Shot Vaccines Pose Challenges for Inoculating America
The Wired Word for the Week of December 6, 2020


In the News

Mass vaccinations for seasonal flu is a fairly simple operation since resistance comes from a single shot. But the current coronavirus vaccines will require two injections that will be spaced either three or four weeks apart. 

The inoculation of the American population will be made more difficult by this requirement, because a host of challenges arise. Health-care workers who work various shifts may be hard to schedule for the second dose. Residents of long-term-care facilities might move to other facilities between shots, and be hard to track down. On top of this, it will be difficult to stay in touch with people passing through jails, group homes and homeless shelters.

According to The Washington Post, health-care providers will need to keep track of millions of people who have received one dose and need to return a few weeks later for another. They worry that the first vaccine may make people feel just sick enough that they won’t want to get a second shot and go through the ordeal again. In initial tests, 2 percent of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine subjects experienced fever, and a few more subjects came down with intense fatigue.

Health care providers are also concerned that people will create confusion by getting their first dose at one provider and their second at another, moving from Walgreens to CVS, for example. Even worse will be the challenge of keeping good records on people crossing state borders and moving from one health department to another. 

“Two doses more than doubles the logistical challenges of administering the vaccines,” said Jeffrey Duchin, a Washington state officer for public health. “The moving parts have to align.” A two-dose requirement is a huge challenge for a public health system that aims to vaccinate 60 to 70 percent of the American population. That percentage will be needed in order to reach “herd immunity” (when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease) and stop the spread of the virus.

The first dose of the coronavirus vaccines may give headaches, fevers and other unpleasant symptoms, all of which are good signs that the body’s immune system is working properly. But infectious disease experts are concerned that these reactions may prevent people from returning for their second shot. 

Fortunately, studies of another painful vaccine, the two-dose shingles shots, have revealed that the vast majority of people come back for their second dose if they have been educated about what to expect. “Motivated people will come back as long as they are properly prepared to do so,” said one expert.

A professor of medicine, Dr. Mark Siegel, told Fox News that Americans should accept the coming coronavirus vaccines. The rare side effects do not last long, he said, and they are less severe than some of the more extreme symptoms of Covid-19. “We are dealing with a virus here that has very severe side effects in high-risk groups. Not only do I want the high-risk groups to get these vaccines — and health-care workers and emergency workers — but to consider those around them,” he said. “We have got to vaccinate everybody across the country.”

Unfortunately, about half the American population is uneasy about or opposed to taking a vaccine. According to the Pew Research Center, about half of U.S. adults (51 percent) say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 if it were available today; nearly as many (49 percent) say they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated at this time. Many people have concerns about the safety and effectiveness of possible vaccines, and the pace of the approval process.

Gustave Perna, the U.S. Army general put in charge of vaccine distribution by President Trump, is prepared to send out the vaccines through the country in a quick and orderly fashion, once the federal government approves the inoculations.

More on this story can be found at these links:

A Shot. A Wait. Another Shot: Two-Dose Coronavirus Vaccine Regimens Will Make It Harder to Inoculate America. The Washington Post
Dr. Siegel: Covid-19 Vaccine Side Effects Are ‘Transient’ Compared to Severe Virus Symptoms. Fox News
U.S. Public Now Divided Over Whether to Get Covid-19 Vaccine. Pew Research Center

Applying the News Story 

Reflect on how the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine will challenge individuals and communities to show persistence and disciplined living, at a time in which no quick fix can defeat the virus.

The Big Questions

1. Are you planning on getting a coronavirus vaccine? Why or why not?

2. When has an unpleasant experience been beneficial to you? When have you had a bad reaction to a situation, and avoided similar situations in the future? Would you do the same again?

3. When have you faced a challenge and been rewarded by your persistence?

4. Quick fixes are popular, but some lasting benefits require patience. When have you experienced delayed gratification, and why are you glad you waited?

5. Discipline is an important quality of a disciple of Christ. When has personal discipline been a challenge to you? A benefit to you?

Closing Prayer