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tv   Washington Journal Dr. William Schaffner  CSPAN  July 19, 2021 4:12pm-5:12pm EDT

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washington journal continues. host: joining us again on washington journal is dr. william schaffner from vanderbilt medical center, welcome back to washington journal. dr .schaffner: good to be with you. host: we are having you on as covid cases arise around the country great reflected in this headline from usa today, fourth wave of virus hits the u.s., unvaccinated kids and adults suffer most from this spread. this is coming from the delta variant. are you surprised by these numbers going up or is this to
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have been expected given the recent fourth of july holiday? dr. schaffner: i'm concerned about it for sure and somewhat distressed, but not surprised. this delta variant is extraordinarily contagious, so it is spreading widely. initially this virus was affecting people who were older. many of them have now been vaccinated, so this virus is now seeking out and honing in on people who are unvaccinated, middle-aged and younger adults, adolescents and down into children also. it doesn't surprise me and cases are going up, behind them a czar rising and it is likely that deaths will rise also. unless of course we get vaccinated. because the vaccines we currently have, once we use them are effective against this delta
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variant. >> is there any indication that because of this variant, potential future variance, a booster either with the moderna, pfizer, or johnson & johnson vaccine will be needed? dr. schaffner: that's a frequently asked question and it's asked by the people who have been vaccinated already. they are attentive to this and concerned. let's think about the two things that would be reasons for us to get a booster vaccination. the first is there our current protections that we have from the vaccine that is waning and all of a sudden people who are vaccinated start to become ill with this virus. that has not happened yet. the other is that we have a new variant on the scene that invades the protection of our vaccines. that also has not happened. in the immediate future they
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protection we have seems to be sustained and we don't need to get a booster right now. however a year from now or two years from now let's play those cards when they are dealt. stay tuned, it wouldn't surprise me if we need a booster in the future, but not right now. right now rather than a third dose for everyone who has been vaccinated we need to focus on the folks who have not gotten there first dose yet. that is where we need to pay attention. host: the vaccines that we currently have, in terms of these variants that come up, are the vaccines as they go along, are they retooled to handle these variants? dr. schaffner: so far it has not been necessary to retool the vaccines. when the new variance show up they are tested immediately in the lab to see if they match
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with what we have in the vaccine. so far we have a pretty darn good match. if other new variance show up that suddenly threaten the population of the united states and the rest of the world, then we would create a new vaccine and we would have to start all over again. host: if one is not vaccinated and gets covid and gets the new variant, does that provide immunity for future versions or strains of covid? dr. schaffner: yes. if you have covid and recover you will have a measure of protection going forward. here is the interesting thing. this was a bit of a surprise for most people. the measure of protection you get from the vaccine is higher than the measure of protection that you get from the actual
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infection. that is why we suggest that everyone who is recovered from covid nonetheless still needs to get vaccinated. because that higher level of protection you get from the vaccine probably provides more durable or long-lasting protection and likely also provides more protection against the various variants that are out there. even though you did not -- you have recovered you still need to get a vaccine. host: we know a number of states are under vaccinated across the country, in particular some states in the south and places like arkansas. do you think that the country as a whole has somewhat let down our guard in terms of vaccinations and being vigilant for covid? have we opened up too soon? have we loosened restrictions too soon?
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dr. schaffner: i have to admit tennessee is one of those states that is under vaccinated, to my great concern. it has been said in the media that there are two americas. there is the america that is very concerned about this virus that have complied with the vaccination, and then there is a large group of people who remain very dubious, skeptical, concerned, and some downright stubborn about the impact of covid itself and many aspects of the vaccine. then there are some people who don't like to be told what to do and they are withholding themselves from the vaccination for that reason which i believe is unfortunate. let me just say a word about that, because one of the most frequent reasons i here for not being vaccinated is that it is
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their individual decision and they will make that decision when they feel like. there is an element of truth to that. it's not the whole story. here decision, you see this as a contagious virus. your decision not to be vaccinated could have implications for people around you, we all give up some of our individual decision-making in order to live together. when we all drive cars we drive on the green and stop on the red , not being vaccinated is like driving on the red. yes you made your own personal decision to get where you are going, but it puts other people around you at risk. not being vaccinated is like driving on the red. host: dr. william schaffner joining us from vanderbilt.
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we welcome your comments and questions. the line for those of you who have been vaccinated against covid and for those of you who have not, -- the line for those of you have been vaccinated, (202) 748-8000, the line for those of you who have not, (202) 748-8001. the effective vaccination efforts on the youth in tennessee. tennessee abandons outreach on vaccine to minors. how important is it for teenagers in particular to get vaccinated before school opens up in the fall. >> let's think about this. during the lockdown lots of parents did not take their children into be vaccinated. infants, children, and adolescence, against all kinds of routine vaccinations, let alone covid, and now before school is all the more important that we can once again raise up
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the rates of vaccinations of the routine vaccines, and now children age 12 and older can get vaccinated against covid. this is very important once school starts. the last thing we want our outbreaks of the old diseases, those mad old diseases that we have eliminated and of course we want to make schools absolutely as safe as possible regarding covid. schools can be safe, all the adults associated with schools not just teachers but school bus drivers and custodians and coaches, everyone. they should by now have been vaccinated and if we can vaccinate all the kids 12 and older that would make those schools even safer. >> obviously hospitalization rates for covid due to the delta strain increasing across the country, what have so far been
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proven as the successful therapeutics as successful treatments for covid. what have we learned? dr. schaffner: we have learned on a norma's amount about how to treat people that come into the hospital with severe covid. in the beginning when covid first hit we opened up our textbooks and there were blank pages. people all across the country, our own intensive care doctors have made major contributions, we know much better about supportive care, we know how the virus hurts the body and at what stages, we have a couple of drugs now that really do work, remdesivir and dextro method zone -- a steroid we been using for years. if you use them at the right time in the right doses we can have people get through hospitalizations and leave even intensive care units and come
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back to a useful life. we are very excited about that. let me just say, think about it. all the hospitalizations currently occurring in the country, and i do mean over 98% of them are in unvaccinated people. these are unnecessary hospitalizations that could have been prevented if people had been vaccinated. host: i just heard recently this term from a friend i know who has this long haul covid. i had not heard of it before. what is that and how is that being treated? how long do doctors like yourself and others think this long haul covid could exist or last? host: this is something we are learning more and more about, this is a nasty virus. not only can it make you acutely ill but as you recover even
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after a mild infection there are some patients who develop symptoms that can last for weeks and months. they feel fatigued, they don't have the same energy. they talk about a brain fog, so they are not thinking as quickly. they can have muscular and joint aches and pains, a loss of taste and smell which you have heard about and persist for weeks. this collection of symptoms that can go on for quite a long time is called long covid. it is so common that medical centers including my own have established a long covid clinic so we can better learn how to care for these patients and make them feel and function better and try to figure out what it is about this virus that produces these symptoms. host: our guest dr. william schaffner.
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you are welcome to call (202) 748-8000 for those of you who are vaccinated. the unvaccinated line (202) 748-8001. this is a headline in politico, poll shows growing worries about the delta variant, americans growing increasingly concerned about the delta variant of the coronavirus and are split along party lines on president biden's handling of the new strain. a survey published over the weekend found 62% of americans say they are concerned about the delta variant, but the dominant strain in the u.s. including 48% of the people said they are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated. the former fda commissioner was on cbs's face the nation yesterday and was asked about the delta variant and his concern about it. >> the cdc director said this week that there is an epidemic of the unvaccinated. what is your reaction to that?
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>> when you look at the people hospitalized 98% of the hospitalizations are people who are unvaccinated. the bottom line is that many people are no longer susceptible to covid, about 50% of the population has been fully vaccinated, another third of the american population has been previously infected with the virus. many are not susceptible to the virus. a lot of people are still susceptible to the virus. this variant is so contagious it will affect the majority -- it will in fact the majority. many will have been previously infected or will get the delta variant. for most people who get the delta variant it will be the most serious virus they get in their lifetime in terms of risks of getting them into the hospital. host: dr. gottlieb saying the most serious virus they will get in their lifetime. dr. schaffner: that's pretty straightforward, isn't it? i think dr. gottlieb is right on
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the mark. it is clear that this virus is obviously spreading among people who are unvaccinated. people who are previously vaccinated have good protection against serious disease, and it can make people who are unvaccinated if they acquire the infection seriously ill. i know they are younger and they were told that people who are younger are less apt to get seriously ill, that is still correct. you have to hold two thoughts in your mind at the same time. although you have less chance it's not zero. if you do get infected even though you are otherwise perfectly healthy you can be put in the hospital seriously ill from this virus. this virus is not going to disappear or just vanish. dr. gottlieb thinks if you are
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unvaccinated it's only a matter of time before you become infected. that is how contagious this delta variant is. host: what do you think the behavior should be in terms of the people who are vaccinated. should people who are vaccinated still continue to wear masks? or should that be a personal choice? dr. schaffner: it's a personal choice, there are people like myself who use the belt and suspenders approach. my wife and i are both vaccinated, but when i go to the supermarket i wear a mask. i'm in the older age group that is more likely if i do get infected to become seriously ill. and that also goes to people who are immune compromised. these are people who are for reasons of illness or treatment they are receiving, even if they
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are vaccinated the vaccine can't work as well in that group, so that group i certainly recommend that they continue to be cautious and wear the mask and observed social distancing and certainly when you are indoors in a large group circumstance, where the mask on those occasions. host: i want to make sure people know the correct lines. the lines for your unvaccinated (202) 748-8000, if you are fully vaccinated the line is (202) 748-8001. we will hear from lori first up in hamburg, pennsylvania. good morning. caller: hi, my name is lori and i am vaccinated and i can -- i couldn't be happier. i'm going to see my daughter in oregon, portland. i waited two years i've had airline tickets.
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i think private businesses should be able to decide what they want for their employees and their customers or how they want, i think a lot of people will find that there are a lot of people that can be more comfortable going to work. i was talking to a man the other day who had a mask on and told me he wasn't vaccinated. he had all his shots before he went to school when he was later little -- when he was little. there was no explaining to him that different things happen and throughout history we have had different pandemics and different viruses that have circulated. usually it depends on how people reacted as a whole as to how well the survival rate works. going back thousands of years.
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the workforce right now i think a lot of people have the long-term issues, migraines, seizures, hypertension, they are worn out. that is why they don't have workers. they keep on suffering and they don't understand it. ok, lori. -- host: ok, lori. caller: thank you for your comments and support of vaccination and keep trying to get your friends and neighbors who are not vaccinated to come in and receive the vaccine. it's important for them and everyone else around you. one of the things you mentioned in passing has to do with employers asking their workforce to be vaccinated. that is happening slowly. in my own medical center all the leadership here is under an obligation to be vaccinated and we have a couple more weeks to get that done.
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that's in preparation for extending that obligation to be vaccinated for everyone who works here in the medical center. leadership first then the rank-and-file. i think we are going to do that because it's a patient safety issue. we don't want our infection to infect our patients. we do that with influenza vaccine already and i think you will see once the food and drug administration approves fully this vaccine that's a matter of time. there will be other groups who do the same thing. host: our previous caller had mentioned childhood vaccines. i recall before the first -- before the birth of my first grandchild my doctor recommended getting i think it is called a tdap booster, getting a re-up before that baby was born. >> that's absolutely right. that has to do with the hazard
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of transmitting the bacteria that causes whooping cough to a newborn infant. infants are the most fragile and the most susceptible to severe whooping cough before they themselves can get the baby shots that will protect them. anyone that has contact with a newborn baby should have had your tdap, tetanus, diphtheria, a cellular pertussis, you should get that vaccine before you see the newborn baby. there are vaccines that are appropriate for adults. vaccines are not just for kids. host: let's go to amy in georgia. go ahead. caller: good morning. first i would like to thank dr. schaffner for speaking so thoughtfully and clearly about this virus. i am unvaccinated. not on purpose. i had a reaction to my first
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pfizer shot, so i was unable to get the second shot. i would like to know -- i wear my mask and social distance -- i would like to know what you -- when you think it would be available for someone in my situation in the future, will we be able to mix vaccines or will they find out something different for someone like me? i would love to hear what you have to say about this. dr. schaffner: that's a very important question. the first thing i would say is, consult with your physician or maybe --
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dr. schaffner: it is for all the rest of us to be vaccinated. we can surround you with a cocoon of protection that will make it very hard for the virus to find you. we all have a responsibility to ourselves, but i am very clear, we also have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters among us who cannot respond optimally to the vaccine. that responsibility means we should be vaccinated to protect you and others like you. host: chris is on our line for the vaccinated from michigan. chris, you are not there. i have the right line. chris, go ahead. caller: hello, doctor. why do you think the administration would be allowing all of these unvaccinated covid positive illegals to be spread
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around the country and why do you think the democrat lawmakers that took the planes to d.c. caught the virus. is it true that the vaccinated in england are becoming ill with this virus? thank you. dr. schaffner: thanks, chris. first of all i would like to back away from the political formulation, this virus doesn't care who you voted for. it's happy to infect anybody. i like to approach it from a public health point of view. let's give a little subtle. if you are vaccinated you are protected against severe disease, that is what the vaccines were designed to do. if you have illness not only are we protected against severe disease by these vaccines, but they make it much less likely
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that we can get infected and transmit the virus to others. it doesn't go to zero. what we are learning now is that there are clearly people out there, this was not expected, who are vaccinated who are exposed to the virus, they have no or little symptoms and they can transmit it to others. let's make a distinction between getting infected and getting severe disease. talking a lot about people who have been vaccinated who are still able to transmit the virus. clearly we are seeing that here also. the answer to all of this is if everyone were vaccinated the transmission of this virus would really be reduced, it would not disappear. it would be very reduced and we
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would all essentially be protected against severe disease . the only people -- dr. gottlieb mentioned this -- the only people being hospitalized today with severe disease are our friends who are unvaccinated. this is a huge emphasis on the importance of the vaccine, keeping vaccinated people out of the hospital and it's also a great sadness, these hospitalizations could have essentially been almost completely prevented and those folks been vaccinated. i don't want everyone to be vaccinated, nobody wants to come to our hospital, it's not a resort hotel. >> the caller mentioned the virus in the u.k., the headline here from the daily beast about the british prime minister, boris johnson who had a serious case of covid, agreeing to
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quarantine after a covid-19 exposure when he learned from it -- of it from the app the u.k. is using to communicate. one of his ministers who was covid positive and the prime minister is going into quarantine. a question from you all -- for you all from michael in portland. "i read the delta variant may be at the outer limit of infectiousness, i.e. that mother nature has given us its most infectious variant it will ever see. if so, if we weather this fourth wave is the worst over? dr. schaffner: covid is teaching us stuff every single day. here are my crossed fingers. i hope we don't see anymore contagious, more infectious variance than the current delta strains, but i'm going to hold my dollar. i'm not going to bet on that. we have to keep surveillance going and we are doing that.
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we are sequencing many of these viruses that are occurring to determine whether new variance crop up and what their characteristics are and then you will have to respond to that. hold on to that thought. i certainly hope you are right. host: on the vaccinated line, bayville, new york this is jeff. caller: thank you, bill, and thank you dr. schaffner. i have a point to make, really to expound on what you've been saying and other health care experts. you point out very correctly that we have a solution to preventing the unvaccinated from succumbing to covid. absolutely correct. by way of analogy we also have a method and way of preventing the next outbreak from being so catastrophic and the data shows
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that as well. if we look at for example some south asian pacific countries that prepared and actually fared very well compared to the united states such as for example south korea and taiwan we see that south korea has a total of about 2000 or more deaths to date from covid. we have 600,000, and we want the temp -- we were the template south korea used to formulate their public health infrastructure to protect them after the sars and mers pandemic. my point is that we know how to prevent this. the problem is that we don't resource it the way south koreans or taiwanese and other countries have. the take away is, we need to seed the necessary authority to
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resource our public health community, our health departments, all the necessary supply chains, contingency plans, to something outside of the budget process which has politicized it and prevented it from being resourced. that is the federal reserve-type paradigm. not the federal reserve itself but a similar situation where the federal reserve funds the program outside of the congressional process. it will fund all the things we know from evidence that prevent the next catastrophe. inc. you very much. host: thank you, sir. dr. schaffner: jeff is onto something and we certainly appreciate his bringing up the point that if you are going to have a response to the pandemics you need at firm coherent public health infrastructure --
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to wayne over period of time. we need a coherent public health , strong, professional infrastructure in place. that is something we need to think about going forward. we have to remind ourselves, we americans have a short memory, and there will be a pandemic that will come in the future. i can't tell you when, i can't tell you which virus, and i can't tell you where it will start, you will need another good public health infrastructure, it just needs to be -- there are a bunch of good ideas. host: the next color is from
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montreal, canada on the unvaccinated line. caller: there are many reputable doctors in the united states and india -- and india that saying they are having tremendous success treating them with this drug. the india bar association is suing the nih and who for lying to their country about this drug. how many americans have choked to death on ventilators because they were denied life-saving medication? i thought there was something called the right to try in the u.s. and i'd like to know if the doctor believes that doctors that are talking about this should be censored on the internet. thank you, very much. dr. schaffner: richard, thank you for your comments. you bring up a point about a drug that has been investigated and continues to be investigated in two circumstances. one, to prevent covid illness in the first place, and two, once covid illness occurs to actually
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treated. the data on both of those issues is rather mixed. i would say that the data are substantially in the, it doesn't look like it is -- as if it has a major role at the present time. we have had any number of studies to show that it does not play as large a role as was initially hoped. investigations are continuing. >> the delta variant not only having an effect on americans health, also on their stock portfolio. from the wall street journal, but doubt drops as investors go into bonds, oil, u.s. stocks, and government bonds slid among anxiety with the spread of the delta coronavirus variant. surging cases of the coronavirus
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in many parts of the world including highly vaccinated countries like the u.k. have prompted investors to dial down their expectations of economic wrote the coming months. some are concerned a steep rise in prices will pinch consumption and prompt central banks to withdraw stimulus. on the markets this morning with this delta variant a question for you about the vaccines themselves on twitter. the vaccine has been emergency use authorization, she asks, why is this vaccine not being approved, what is holding us up? dr. schaffner: there are many of us who wonder about that a little bit. just to make it clear to all the viewers and listeners, it's a two-stage process. the food and drug administration has the opportunity to issue an emergency use authorization when the vaccine and other therapeutics come along in the face of a calamity and of course
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we had that, 1000 people were dying back then in the united states on a daily basis. companies keep providing information to the food and drug administration to fulfill all of the requirements for complete licensure. this has been an ongoing process. the companies have to produce that much information. at the present time we have vaccinated 186 plus million people in the united states alone. that is more information than the food and drug administration has had for any other vaccine in the whole history of the fda. we all think fda complete licensure is a foregone conclusion, it is happening. i do wish that it would happen more rapidly, some of us are puzzle is taken quite so long. we would love them to be careful
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but we are still a little puzzled why it is taking so long. many people say they would be pleased to receive the vaccine once it were fully licensed. i kind of wonder whether they have some other reasons, because i don't think if the license came through tomorrow, the day after tomorrow we would see long lines of people ready to get vaccinated. nonetheless it would put the period at the end of the sentence and it certainly would remove that concern. i urge my friends at the food and drug administration, let's get on with it. host: here is mark from new york, vaccinated, go ahead. mark in new york, you are on the air. one more chance here. we will go onto anton from
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florida. caller: dr., you seem like a nice man. i'm really frightened, i'm 78 years old and have not been sick a day in my life. not a single day. i still work, i still work. if they force me to take the vaccine i am scared to death that i will die in a week. what do you think? dr. schaffner: first of all, congratulations on your 78 years and your vigor such that you keep working and state of good health. you express a concern which in one way or another many people still have, a hesitancy, because you are concerned about the safety of this vaccine. not about its effectiveness, i think you think it works. the question is about safety, could you have an adverse event?
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what we know about these vaccines is they will make your arm sore, and many people feel fatigued for a day or two afterwards. some actually get some aches and pains, but that goes away within 24 to 48 hours. there are a few serious adverse events associated with these vaccines. i'm happy to discuss them but they are rare. a few cases for every million doses administered. you are at risk, just because you are 78 years old, of the serious complications of covid. when you balance the risks and the benefits i think the benefits of getting vaccinated strongly outweighs the risks. if you have doubts, please talk to your doctor. host: dr. william schaffner a
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infectious disease professor at vanderbilt, with us to talk to you on vaccines about the delta variant. (202) 748-8000 if you are unvaccinated. if you are vaccinated the line is (202) 748-8001. this is the headline from the washington post this morning, biden surgeon general backs localized mask mandates as delta variance drive arise in covid cases. vivek murthy was on the state of the union talking about the delta variant and breakthrough cases of the virus. here is some of that. >> we are hearing about vaccinated individuals experiencing breakthrough infections. some examples, the yankees red sox game was canceled because six vaccinated players caught the virus, six texas democrats who met with top officials in d.c. also infected. i understand the vaccine prevents serious disease and death, but of what is your recommendation for the 100 60
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million vaccinated americans area should we live our lives differently than we normally would? >> the good news is not only is the vaccine highly effective at preventing severe infection and hospitalization, but even if you do have a breakthrough infection , which happens to a small minority of people it is likely to be a milder, asymptomatic infection given that the vaccines don't just prevent infection but reduce the severity of breakthrough infections. my hope is people will feel reassured by that. i'm fully vaccinated and i feel reassured by that data. it makes me feel comfortable going out and resuming other activities that i missed. if you are in a community where there is a lot of virus spreading some people may choose to be more cautious in terms of how they use masks or in terms of their engagements and that is ok to do. getting back to quote unquote normal and what life was life
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pre-pandemic is going to be a process. we will not all move at the same pace in terms of our comfort with going back to the way things were it whether it is changing mask practices or tree engaging in group settings. it will take time. what we have to do is make sure science is guiding our process. host: dr. william schaffner, if you are vaccinated and get a case of the sniffles or are not feeling well how important is it to get a covid test after? dr. schaffner: that's very important. particularly as we enter influenza season that is coming up pretty quickly. we will have flu and other respiratory viruses and we will want to sort out which is covid, which is the flu, which is respiratory etc. etc.. we will be doing more testing. even if we are vaccinated and we develop symptoms, call your
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health care provider. don't go into the office, you might be spreading something. call them or email them and get advice about whether they would like you to be tested. i hope we will be using testing more frequently this fall. by the way, isn't it wonderful we have a surgeon general like him? he is so clear, deliberate, careful, science-based. we are fortunate to have him. host: as we approach flu season, explain the difference between the seasonal flu and covid. >> they are both respiratory viruses. the flu and covid are spread in entirely similar ways. the delta variant is even more contagious than the flu. both viruses can make people very seriously ill, so we take them both very seriously and
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remember once september rolls around and we are into october it is time to get your vaccine against influenza as well as covid. we need to protect ourselves against both because there is no overlap. you have to get independent protection against both of those viruses. the recommendations for getting a flu vaccine could not be simpler. if you are older than six months of age in the united states you should get a flu vaccine each and every year. host: here is pat from pennsylvania, good morning. dr. schaffner: -- caller: good morning, thank you. i am fully vaccinated and immunocompromised. my son last year traveled to thailand through hong kong and we believe he definitely caught the virus. he was very ill for three weeks. he doesn't feel he needs to get the vaccine. my question is, to people who --
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do people who have had it need to get the vaccine? should i get an antibody test? i have heard about serious damage to long-haulers, and i want to understand, how can the lungs be so severely damaged by this as opposed to pneumonia? i would appreciate your answer, thank you again. dr. schaffner: two things. the first is, even if you have recovered from covid the recommendation is that you nonetheless still get vaccinated , and that is because the vaccine provides a greater amount of antibodies and you get better, more durable long term protection from the vaccine we think then from the natural infection.
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as you can imagine severe covid involves the lungs. you can get severe inflammation in the lungs. it's a form of pneumonia. this is a form of pneumonia that when it resolves, when the body fights it off it's a little like -- you can be left with a scar, some scarring in your lungs which results in long-hauler kind of symptoms. you may not have the same capacity that you did before you became sick. this is a nasty virus, not only because it makes you acutely sick, but it can have long-term implications for your health. host: here are the numbers on vaccinations across the country, the latest from the cdc. 161 million americans --
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66% have had at least one dose and 48.6% of the adult population with at least one dose. the population of greater than 12 years old. let's hear from betty in albany, louisiana. betty, go ahead. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. i'm in the vaccinated group because i'm in my 70's. the risk to me was great. i assessed it and i took the vaccine. the problem is my grandchild. he is only like 13. they are telling us that even young children should get the vaccine. it seems that children are not likely to get very ill from it. the risk assessment appears to be that they are less likely to get severely ill unless they are
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immune compromised. why are they pushing this vaccine on children, even young children? i have read that there have been more than 5000 deaths due to the vaccine and it is causing heart problems in young people. if they are less likely to get it severely wide make them take a greater risk of being harmed by the vaccine? host: we will get a response. dr. schaffner: your question is very important. i will explain this but the first thing i have to tell you is 5000 children have not been killed by the vaccine. that is malarkey, that is not correct. you are right, children are less likely to be infected with this virus and get seriously ill, but less likely does not mean zero. have been 300 plus children who have died of covid in the united
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states so far, over 13,000 hospitalizations and covid is now one of the 10 leading causes of death among children here in the united states. my two grandchildren, one is in child -- one is in college and one was about to go to college. they were first in line of their own volition to get this vaccine and i certainly recommend it to everyone else. host: you been quoted in articles before including c-span health including on vaccinated people, variant factors. explain what you mean by that. dr. schaffner: it was a bit of a vivid notion.
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the virus has multiplied in people and can only spread in unvaccinated people at the present time. when it spread it vault -- it multiplies millions of times. variants are created through mutations. every once in a while you get one or a series of rotations that can create a new variant. whether you live here in the united states or someplace else in the world, if you get infected the virus can multiply and potentially create a new variant that can spread. that is what happened with the delta. it was a one person, the variant was created. there was a potential for an unvaccinated person who it gets infected of the virus could be the source of a new variant that
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threatens the country and the world. host: you were commissioned in the public health service as an epidemic intelligence service officer with the cdc. is that the kind of position where you look into the source of viruses and variants like this? dr. schaffner: the epidemic intelligence service is a training program within the cdc. we are called the disease detectives and those disease detectives investigate all kinds of outbreaks of infectious and increasingly noninfectious diseases with the intention of curtailing the problem, and they will be sure to create circumstances so they won't happen again to make the population here in the united states and around the world as safe as possible so that people can stay as healthy as possible. it is an elite corps of public health investigators and it was
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a remarkable experience, a great privilege to be part of the epidemic intelligence service. it has influenced my teaching and my entire practice as i have worked in public health to teach and do research in an academic environment. christ we will hear from chesapeake, virginia on the unvaccinated line. caller: we will hear -- i have a question about guillain-barre syndrome. if a person who is not vaccinated -- should a person who is not vaccinated get the vaccine? we have not been able to get a direct answer from anyone. just give us literature to read. host: glad you asked the question. go ahead. dr. schaffner: it's an interesting question. let me tell you that there are two kinds of vaccines out there.
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there is the pfizer and the moderna vaccine. they are made in a similar way and then there is the johnson & johnson jansen vaccine, that is the one and done vaccine that is so attractive. that vaccine has been associated with the johnson & johnson vaccine with a very low risk of following guillain-barre syndrome. the risk is about eight cases for every million doses of the vaccine that are used, so there is an increased risk of guyon barre syndrome. if that concerns you please get them a dharna the pfizer vaccine. but you should be vaccinated. host: to jonathan in texas. good morning. caller: yes. right now if i wanted to go to canada on a vacation they wouldn't let me in because of
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the covid restrictions and everything. i am only a 1 hour drive from the rio grande, and we are letting thousands and thousands of so-called migrants in, mostly untested. my question is is there any relationship between the spread of this delta virus and letting thousands of people in untested. i will hang up and let you answer. dr. schaffner: sure, that is also a commonly asked question, and i guess behind that there is a notion that we should perhaps in some way create barriers to keep people out of this country, because of the risk of importing covid. covid is being transmitted very rapidly in the united states already.
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the analogy that i have used is by trying to keep people -- that's a little like telling somebody not to pour a bucket of water into a swimming pool. we have so much covid here i think restricting travel in the interest of trying to keep covid out is a small issue. there are some countries who are trying to restrict travel from the united states because we have more covid than they do. at this juncture the answer is, let's all get vaccinated. host: the latest in terms of covid spread across the country, cases have arisen in every state across the country. the u.s., a 14 day change according to the new york times 140%, the top five or bottom five states in terms of the number of increases, arkansas, missouri, florida, louisiana, and nevada.
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we will go to brandenburg, kentucky and hear from brenda. good morning. caller: good morning. i am unvaccinated and i am more likely to want to take the johnson & johnson vaccine. from what i've seen on tv it's not as effective as the moderna or pfizer. my question is if i take the johnson & johnson mi more likely to spread the virus to other people? dr. schaffner: also a wonderful question. the johnson & johnson vaccine in terms of preventing serious disease is about comparable to johnson & johnson, about comparable to pfizer and moderna. they are all in the same ballpark. there are nuanced differences between them. in terms of preventing infection completely, none of the three vaccines does that completely, but it does reduce your risk.
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if you are interested in the johnson & johnson vaccine one of the things we want to let you know is if you are under 50 years of age talk to your doctor about that. there is a small risk of developing this a rare clotting disorder that has been associated with the j&j vaccine. host: one more call from birch down, tennessee we hear from daniel. hi there, daniel. caller: hello. dr. schaffner, i wanted to thank you for what you have done in the last year or so. you could walk away from your job today and hold your head up high for saving thousands and millions of lives, unlike somebody previously in the white house. i will stay away from politics. i do know about vanderbilt, university and i had a water ski accident several years ago, a
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punctured lung and broken ribs and i was transported to vanderbilt from the east side of tennessee and you saved my life. i know how good vanderbilt hospital is. i wanted to touch on denial is him and brainwashing. nashville television stations constantly tout their vaccination rate of four or five counties in the municipal areas of 40% to 50%. they rarely, i rarely see a discussion on the other counties that are 20% to 30%. it's a form of denial is him, a form of brainwashing. they just do not want to cover this situation. i think, general russel honorary when he was in the middle of the
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second wave up in new york, he had to tell people jesus is not coming. science will have to take care of this. host: we will get a final thought from dr. schaffner. x there is not any doubt that as you move from cities out into rural areas vaccination is less accepted in the rural areas and that is true over much of the united states. i would like to emphasize that science is something that comes from what we as humans do and many of us believe that is influenced -- there is the old saying that the lord helps those who help themselves and science is a way of helping each other and something you can do for yourself in a responsible way
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but also by getting vaccinated you protect your family, your neighborhood, and your entire community and i would urge people who are concerned about vaccinations, if you have not been vaccinated yet speak to your health care provider and they will provide you with advice. >> he is an infectious disease professor at vanderbilt university medical center. he is dr. william schaffner. "washington journal" continues. host: michael wolff is with us, the author of seven books, including three on the trump presidency and the latest, " landslide: the final days of the trump presidency." welcome to "washington journal." guest: thank you for having me. host: was it always your plan to write about the final days of the trump presidency, or did the situation on the inauguration, january 6 included, drive you to write this book?


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