Avera Medical Minute: Vaccine supply, distribution and variant strains

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 1:27 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Changes in COVID-19 vaccine supply, distribution, and the spread of the virus is frequently changing. Reporter Sam Wright has the latest information from Avera Medical Group Vice President of Clinical Quality, Dr. David Basel.

Q; Has there been an increase in vaccine supply locally?

A: This week we had about a 30% increase in Moderna, and they tell us to expect that to continue at that level then maybe take another jump again in a few weeks and so we are seeing that increase already starting to happen.

Q: So President Biden says that everyone who wants a vaccine should be able to go and get one by spring. So is there evidence that that seems realistic and that can be accomplished?

A: Yeah, so if we’re saying spring by the end of June when spring ends, I do think there’s that possibility, especially with more vaccines coming on the market, if those new vaccines turned out to be as effective as we’re hoping that they will be and so that they are, another possibility. I think they both have AstraZeneca and especially Johnson and Johnson have pretty big production capabilities. And so I do think that is a realistic expectation if those other vaccines pan out.

Q: What is important to keep in mind in the coming months?

A: The biggest thing that we’re watching right now is the variants and the surges. I feel like we’re in a little bit of a race night now to get as many people vaccinated before numbers start to rise back up again as far as when that surge starts kind of coming back around our direction. And so I think we’ve got a pretty good chance of getting a lot of shots in people and being able to keep this down but we’ve got to keep being vigilant and keep those numbers just as low as possible so when that happens we’re ready to go.

Q: Dr. Basel, some folks are concerned about that variance of COVID arriving. Have you seen any evidence of that in our region as of late?

A: Both the State of South Dakota, as well as Avera our own genetics laboratory, we are starting to do some sampling to look to see if any of those variants are coming into our state yet, especially the UK variant which is the biggest one that’s out there right now and we have not seen any evidence of that coming to our state as of yet but we are monitoring for it.

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