Augusta, GA (WJBF)- We could be close to a vaccine for COVID-19 according to two companies.
So, how would one get distributed to people across our area?
Augusta University’s Chief Medical Officer calls the news of a potential vaccine encouraging.
And he said when the vaccine is available, getting it to people will take a lot of planning and not everyone will be able to get it right away.
“The higher we get, the faster this thing will slow down and will be over,” said Dr. Phillip Coule.
The top doc at Augusta University Medical Center, Doctor Phillip Coule said, when it comes to getting back to normal, the key is—all of us.
“So we’ve been working very closely with the Department of Public Health and the state government to make sure we’ve got a solid plan for distributing this. We think that antibody testing is probably going to play some role in this. In other words, if you have documented antibodies, you probably don’t need to get the vaccination.”
Dr. Coule said when it is ready, the vaccine will be available in waves, with the most vulnerable and the most needed population first in line to roll up their sleeves for the first of 2 shots.
“The way that we’re probably going to have to do this is to vaccinate those most at risk first. And that would be residents of long term care facilities, those patients are incredibly high risk. The elderly. Those that have significant medical co morbidity. Those in health care that are being exposed to this,” explained Dr. Coule.
He believes the first round of vaccines, which will be taken in two doses, will be available as early as December. The vaccine should be available to the general public in the second wave, expected roll out in January or February. Dr. Coule and worldwide researchers said people getting the vaccine will be vital to ending the pandemic.
“We’re going to need at least 50 percent of the population or more to not be susceptible to COVID to really slow this thing down.”
He used the history of flu shots as an example of why being vaccinated is so important to protect an entire community.
“When we seek to control influenza every year, we really need upwards of 60, 70, 80 percent of the population that’s at risk to get vaccinated to really control the disease,” he said.
Dr. Coule strongly encouraged everyone to continue to follow CDC safety guidelines and to get their flu shot as soon as possible to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.