Concierge Medicine

COVID-19 Update: Variant of Concern, Vaccine Status, Reopening

June 21, 2021

Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

Covid-19 Variants in US: Delta Variant

There's a variant of concern currently spreading across the United States called the Delta Variant. Its presence was initially reported in India late last year.

New delta Covid-19 variant is likely to become the dominant strain for new infections in the coming weeks. Says - Dr. Scott Gottlieb , former FDA Commissioner

It won't cause a sharp rise in infections as the vaccines currently being distributed to US citizens are effective against it, albeit at a lower efficacy rate than the prevailing variants currently spreading in the country.

What makes it even more dangerous is that its higher transmissibility rate can greatly affect the hospitalization in states and regions lagging in vaccination rates.

Coronavirus Vaccine Update:

The vaccine rollout is currently underway, with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson's as the three major pharmaceutical brands being used in the United States. Novavax, on the other hand, is on the brink of getting FDA approval.

As of June 13, the United States has given at least one of two doses to 53% of the population. Fully vaccinated individuals, on the other hand, remain low at 43.8%. These are still way below the 70% target to achieve herd immunity.

Types of Covid Vaccines:

To help educate the public on the differences between vaccines, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shares this interesting information and guidelines.

Viral Vector

Viral vector vaccines are the more traditional vaccine types. The process includes introducing a vector virus that carries a viral genetic sequence code of COVID-19 into the body's cells. Once the vector reaches the cells, it triggers them to produce spike proteins or harmless pieces of SARS-CoV-2, which it would then express on its surface.

This, however, would not cause COVID-19 as it does not produce the whole virus. Instead, it merely alerts the body's immune system about the virus so it can produce the antibodies needed to fight it off.

Once the immune system is tuned to recognizing the spike proteins, it can immediately detect and disable SARS-CoV-2 before it even gets to the cells. This helps immensely in the body's immune response if the virus enters the body for real through exposure.

Currently, Johnson and Johnson's is the only viral vector vaccine option available in the United States.

mRNA

The mRNA vaccine is a new vaccine development approach that gained more widespread use because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of viral genetic code, this new approach requires mRNA to be introduced to the cells in the body.

Then, it gives the cells instructions on producing the spike proteins without ever exposing them to any part of the SARS-CoV-2. Once the cell produces and expresses the spike proteins on its surface, the body's immune system gets to work by producing the necessary antibodies.

Since the immune system can now recognize the spike proteins, it is now on alert for potential intruders that carry the same spike proteins. This allows the immune system to immobilize and neutralize the virus once it enters the body.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the only two mRNA-based vaccines in use in the United States.

Other vaccines are currently on clinical trials or already in the planning stage of applying for emergency use authorization. A notable one is Novavax which makes it on track to become the fourth vaccine option for Americans.

Covid-19 Guidelines: Mandates, Rules, and Reopenings

The vaccination campaign has to some development in the way of economic reopening. However, states have varying degrees of economic reopening depending on the situation in their regions.

  • Air Travel:

    As of January 12, 2021, the US government now requires all air passengers coming from a foreign country to get tested no more than three days before the travel date and present the results to the airline before boarding.

  • Mask Mandates

    More states are relaxing their pandemic measures as more people get vaccinated. One of the most obvious signs of this is that mask mandates all over the country are slowly getting lifted for vaccinated individuals. However, each state is implementing its lifting in varying degrees, so it's best to check each state's orders.

  • Vaccine Mandates

    Some companies are pushing to require employees to prove that they've already been inoculated against COVID-19 before they can return to work within the company's premises.

    However, there is some pushback from certain groups. The Houston Methodist Hospital, for example, recently went under fire from employees who argued that the hospital's current vaccine options were experimental and dangerous.

    The Texas courts ultimately decided to side with the hospital's vaccine mandate. Other companies are choosing for a gentler nudge to get their employees vaccinated.

Apart from COVID-19 vaccine efforts, these membership-based models are also well-equipped to handle patients in home isolation.

As there is much relativity between Concierge Medicine and Covid-19 Vaccine. So FindMyDirectDoctor.com, a website that advocates membership-based models such as Concierge Medicine and Direct Primary Care, seems to help settle the need of the hour.

Authored by Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

Advocate of healthcare models that promote direct relationship between patients and doctors. Founder @ FindMyDirectDoctor, LLC.

Read more here.

3.236.218.88 39.0481,-77.4728