How We Are Going To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

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A SiriusXM Special Vaccine Edition on Doctor Radio featuring Admiral Brett Giroir MD, who discusses how many should get the vaccine by the end of year, how we are going to overcome vaccine hesitancy & more.

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During a special COVID-19 vaccine edition of SiriusXM Doctor Radio's "Doctor Radio Reports”, HHS’ Assistant Secretary For Health Admiral Brett Giroir MD spoke to show host, Dr. Marc Siegel about how many Americans should get COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year, how we are going to overcome vaccine hesitancy in America, and HHS's work with Gen. Perna and the DOD to distribute the vaccines.

How Many Americans Should Get COVID-19 Vaccines By The End Of The Year?

“We estimate that 40 million doses, or 20 million people will be done by the end of the year. The best estimates right now that will have another 30 million immunized in January, and another 50 million immunized in February. So, we’re looking at 100 million people immunized by the end of February, and that is only assuming Moderna and Pfizer. It is highly likely that, and again we don’t know the data, but it’s highly likely that the Janssen, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will have an EUA to be submitted in January. They have very high production of that vaccine and it’s only one shot, so our numbers could go up dramatically after that time, even it going up in February. And my Secretary and Dr. Slaoui say that we are really on track that anybody in this country who wants a vaccine will be able to get that vaccine by June.”

How Are We Going To Overcome Covid-19 "Vaccine Hesitancy" In America?

“There's 60% or so who said they'll take it. And then there's another 15 or 20% who are just unsure. And I will say one thing I would be unsure until the FDA says it's safe and effective. And I bet that number is going to go up, but we all have to be on the same message. We have to be honest, transparent as we all are with physicians, with our patients, that we clearly explain what we know about side effects and they are very mild. We also know that if you're over 70 years old and you get COVID, your chance of dying is 13%. If you're a young person and give it to your grandmother, her chance of dying is 13%. And even those who are 40 to 59, have about a 1% chance of dying. So it's not totally innocuous in that group. So we just have to be honest, we have to be transparent, we have to assure, especially those who may have not been treated well by the system, racial and ethnic minorities that we went to great extent to make sure that the samples in the studies included appropriate numbers of racial and ethnic minorities.

There's no biological reason to believe it would act differently, but we proved that with the data. So, I urge everyone, we've lost over a quarter-million Americans. This is an absolute serious catastrophic thing that's happened to our country. I think we've survived well, despite it, but the end of the pandemic is in sight. There is a way to end this pandemic and that's by getting 75-80% of people vaccinated, and then this will go away and we can get back to as normal a life as we could possibly imagine after such an episode in our history.”

HHS "Assistant Secretary For Health", Admiral Brett Giroir MD, Talks About HHS's Work With Gen. Perna & The DOD To Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines

“General Perna is a no-nonsense, serious guy. He's passionate. He's motivated. He's on point, but let me just tell you, I've never experienced anything like that. I'm in uniform. We're one of the eight uniform services in the country, used to be seven, and now there's a space force, but we're unarmed. But, since early March, I've been around a table with the DOD, the VA, and when I say DOD, logistics agency, the joint staff, Indopacom, Northern Command, you name it, we've been working together, National Guard Bureau. The key to the logistics of all this, HHS is great, but we don't do logistics. So I think you remember him, Rear Admiral Polowczyk (Admiral P) as the Vice President called him, he was the logistician for the joint staff in the Pentagon. He came over and ran logistics. I can't, I have done 38 air bridges just for testing from all over the world. These are 747 level planes. I can't do that. He's done hundreds more for PPE.

So we've been working with them. In my suite right here I have two dozen military people now led by Brigadier General David Sanford who's doing the contracting in the industry relations. The DOD buys a lot of stuff, they contract, they know how to deal with industry. They know supply chains down to the minute pieces, and they're doing all of that with diagnostics and testing the same way they do for building aircrafts. So it's been an amazing partnership. I hope, I don't know who writes this up business schools, policy tanks, maybe yourself, but bringing to bear the best in the country and look at the VA. I mean, the VA has really stepped up. Not only do they take care of veterans, but they're opening their hospitals to civilians.

They're opening their testing to civilians in places where regular hospitals are getting overrun. This has truly been an all of society approach and it's remarkable. I kind of pinch myself. I know we've been through horrible times, but to see people in all uniforms. We got Coast Guard running our joint coordination cell, Vice Admiral Abel. So, we're all in this together trying to do what we do best. The Faucis and Redfields of the world are the world's best infectious disease doctors, but I don't know if they know how to go to the post office. They're not logistics people. I can barely do a spreadsheet, but we've got people to do all of that and we're maximizing our talents.”