NEWS FLASH regarding San Mateo County’s vaccine allocation for TVD. Please see below.
Dear TVD Friends,
Today marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, and the end of a year where one in three Americans has lost a friend or loved one to COVID. Read and watch this powerful tribute in the NY Times.
And yes, we’ve had another very busy week. If you have been watching the news, you have seen a lot of swirling information about what California’s COVID vaccine program might look like these coming weeks, with news about Blue Shield’s new role as the State’s vaccine Third Party Administrator (TPA) (read more about MyTurn below!), but concurrent news about many counties reluctance to abdicate their systems to Blue Shield’s and participate in this proposed system. Santa Clara County just recently opted out, and San Mateo County is continuing active internal discussions about which next step will serve their constituents the best.
News Flash: Unrelated to the above, but due to ongoing challenges with vaccine supply, we just received this email from San Mateo County couple of hours ago: “Unfortunately, we are in a very tight position for this upcoming week as far as vaccine is concerned and have had to make some really tough cuts. We did not receive any increase in allocation this week and have a lot of second dose clinics that need to take priority. I’m sorry to say that we will not be able to get you the doses you requested for this upcoming week. For what it’s worth, you are not alone. I will be sending a similar email to all of my private providers that requested first doses this week”
This is very disappointing to our patients who become eligible for a vaccine this coming Monday, the 15th, due to their “chronic medical conditions” (principally coronary artery disease as proven by coronary calcium score or CT angiogram). I am hopeful that we will receive next week’s allocation for them (which we would receive the week of the 22nd). If you have a qualifying “chronic medical condition”, and this new tier will soon apply to you, we will email you directly the moment we confirm our next vaccine allocation. In the meantime, you should explore getting your COVID vaccine through the usual (and more challenging) sources – please see our FAQ, How Do I Get My COVID-19 Vaccine. Specifically, please note this update regarding Blue Shield and their new “My Turn” website designed to facilitate COVID vaccine for all Californians.
NOTE that the State of California recently selected Blue Shield as a Third Party Administrator (TPA) to coordinate COVID-19 vaccine delivery via the MyTurn tool. The State will provide distribution criteria to Blue Shield to ensure “equitable, safe, and efficient” vaccine allocation. The transition is underway and will be completed by the end of March.
The MyTurn tool allows eligible individuals to be notified when a vaccine is available to them locally and help them make an appointment. This is available to all California residents — you do not need to be a member of Blue Shield. There’s more information about the MyTurn program, administered by Blue Shield, here.
Again, on behalf of everyone who has worked very hard to keep our vaccine program rolling (including our colleagues at San Mateo County), my apologies.
For those of you who have already had “Dose #1” and are waiting to schedule Dose #2 with us, I am more confident in our ability to deliver. In ongoing conversations with both the State and the County we have been reassured that getting our patients their second COVID vaccine dose remains a high priority. We will communicate with you directly as soon as we know more.
OK, moving on to better topics. There has been some great news out of the CDC this week, who have relaxed their recommendations about people getting together: The CDC said on Monday that vaccinated individuals can gather in small groups indoors without masks. This means these individuals can eat and socialize together and share long overdue hugs. Read more below!
The CDC is also not recommending quarantine for vaccinated people who have been exposed to the coronavirus. You can see why we’re putting such a priority on getting vaccine into your arms.
Please also read more below about California’s plans to reopen our schools, and an interesting overview on the new Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, and why it is also an excellent tool in our toolbox against COVID as we work our way slowly but surely toward our new normal.
And lastly, let me again draw your attention to an excellent, upcoming, virtual presentation on how to Eat to Beat Depression & Anxiety, featuring Dr. Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist, author, farmer, and founder of the Brain Food Clinic in New York City. Log on and learn more this coming Thursday, March 18th. A big shout out to our friend Jeanne Rosner at SOUL Food Salon for being Dr. Ramsey’s virtual host.
In continued health and community spirit,
Eric Weiss, MD, March 12, 2021
NOTE: CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.
March 8th was International Women’s Day, which recognizes the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women all over the world. It is also a call to action for gender parity.
Stanford School of Medicine has almost double the national average of female department chairs! Within the department, they have achieved close to full gender parity in faculty and leadership roles.
There is still much work to be done both at Stanford, and throughout the world. However, today and everyday we should celebrate all of the work that has been done to promote equality thus far!
There is some GREAT news out from the CDC this week. We can begin looking forward to some relaxation of the restrictions regarding gatherings.
These new guidelines are a big step toward returning to normal life after a year of hardship and isolation. After a rocky start, the nation’s mass vaccination campaign has administered more than 90 million doses, reaching 17.7% of the total U.S. population. Nearly 3 million shots are being given every day.
The CDC said on Monday that vaccinated individuals can gather in small groups indoors without masks. This means these individuals can eat and socialize together and share long overdue hugs. For many of us who have diligently kept our loved ones safe by not seeing them can finally visit… Read more
Prerana Sangani, MD, March 9, 2021
The first set of updated public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people was published by the Centers for Disease Control on March 8, 2021 and has been met with a sigh of relief by those vaccinated. While limited, the list of meaningful returns to ‘normalcy’ for those who are two weeks out from their last COVID-19 vaccine dose is a breath of fresh air.
To read more about the list of activities fully vaccinated people can now resume, see the CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People here.
In terms of the updated recommendations for quarantine for fully vaccinated people following a COVID-19 exposure:
- Exposure, No Symptoms, No Congregate Setting
Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms who do not live in a congregate setting do not need to quarantine or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, as their risk of infection is low… Read more
Jennifer Abrams, MD, March 8, 2021
On March 2, 2021 lawmakers and Governor Newsom unveiled what they hope to be the final statewide plan to reopen public schools by April 1st. The plan, detailed in Assembly Bill 86, essentially uses additional monies to incentivize schools to bring students back into the classroom in stages.
The plan calls for $6.6 billion in total. $2 billion would pay for safety upgrades like protective equipment, improved ventilation, and coronavirus testing. The remaining $4.6 billion would be used to fund “expanded learning opportunities,” like summer school and tutoring, as well as expanded mental health services… Read more
Sky Pittson, MD, March 10, 2021
In February 2021 the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine for COVID-19 was approved for use in the United States. The vaccine is different from the other COVID-19 vaccines in several key ways.
It’s one shot
In contrast to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that require patients to get two shots spaced out over several weeks, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be administered in a single dose. This makes it a much more attractive option for vaccinating large numbers of people more quickly… Read more
Jackie Phillips, MD, March 7, 2021
HOPE AND GRACE
If you have made it this far, time for a reward, something to lighten your day, and acknowledge the human spirit. Find some escape, or perhaps even inspiration, in this ever-growing collection of works and perspectives gathered from around the world. Please contact me directly if you have come across something that has lifted your heart today. Dr. Eric Weiss
Art Lovers Hilariously Recreate Works of Art Using Everyday Objects
As people continue finding creative ways to cope during quarantine, several social media pages have challenged art lovers to recreate famous masterpieces using everyday objects. Getty Museum social media manager Sarah Waldorf said, “We wanted to offer up a creative challenge to find refuge from the uncertain state of the world and to spark excitement to get creative—no extra materials required.”
Find more recreations here!
The Tenacity of Trees
During hard times, it’s easy to feel down. However, there is still so much beauty to find in the world if we take the time to look around and appreciate it! If these photos can teach us anything, it’s that when we persist, we can still find ways to grow and make a difference in spite of obstacles.
Find more inspirational photos here!
COVID-19 Vaccine Allow Boy to Hug his Grandma for the First Time in 15 Months
A 3-year-old boy who hadn’t seen his grandma for months ran into her arms in a heartwarming surprise reunion. The COVID-19 vaccine allows people over 65 to reunite with their families face-to-face. As more vaccines are distributed, we look forward to more and more of these happy reunions!
Watch their surprise reunion here
Again, CV🦠News is a labor of love. If you enjoy reading this, please share widely! Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Please subscribe here.
Yours, in health and resilience,
Eric and the TVD MD team…