School of Public Health panel discusses the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic | News – Community News
Covid-19

School of Public Health panel discusses the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic | News

Experts in immunology, epidemiology and infectious diseases discussed the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic in a forum jointly presented Friday afternoon by the Harvard School of Public Health and National Public Radio.

The event, titled “Pandemic Update: Vaccines, Children, Equity, and More,” was moderated by Scott Hensley, senior health editor at NPR’s Science Desk. The panel consisted of HSPH professors Kizzmekia S. Corbett and William “Bill” P. Hancage, Massachusetts General Hospital infectious disease specialist Amir M. Mohareb, and senior pediatrician Richard “Rick” Malley of Boston Childrens’ Hospital.

The forum kicked off with a discussion about the recent approval and rollout of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for younger children.

Corbett started the conversation by emphasizing the safety of the vaccine.

“I think parents, grandparents and anyone who is a guardian of a child should understand that getting authorized and approved vaccines for every age group, be it adults, the elderly and then, now, children, comes with a process. that is highly vetted by Food and Drug Administration regulators and comes with a lot of data,” Corbett said.

Malley and Hanage then pointed to the value of administering Covid-19 vaccines to younger children, such as feelings of relief and comfort knowing their child is protected from a serious illness caused by Covid-19. However, Hanage said that “the real impact of the pandemic on the headlines depends on how many elderly people have been vaccinated.”

The conversation then turned to inequality in vaccines around the world.

Mohareb said he believed the US and other rich countries should donate their surplus vaccines and supplies to countries with limited vaccination options, but explained how money dictates how vaccinations are distributed.

“We do not distribute essential medicines and essential supplies on the basis of human dignity or need. We divide it based on money,” he said.

The panelists also discussed vaccine hesitancy and efforts to counter them, focusing on listening to those with outstanding questions rather than judging them.

“One of the ways we use the [vaccine] The debate is when we start to get disrespectful about the fact that some people have genuine concerns, whether they’re based on science or gut feeling or misinformation from various websites,” Malley said.

Finally, the panelists shifted to the future of Covid-19 and discussed new potential treatments and variants, along with the need to maintain preventive measures.

Hanage discussed these points from an epidemiologist’s perspective, explaining that “we cannot be certain” about the future of Covid-19, which will depend on the extent of transmission and infection.

“If that [levels] If we stay relatively mild, we could probably see seasonal peaks of illness, like the other coronaviruses,” Hanage said.

“People will still get sick, and people will still die, and they’ll be mostly older, but the number will be much smaller,” he added.

To reach this state and fight variants of Covid-19, Hange is calling on people to get vaccinated.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, even though we’re in a less wooded part of the woods,” he said.

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