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News of Otsego County

Vaccine

STERNBERG: Vaccines, Part II: They Arrive
LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG

Vaccines, Part II: They Arrive

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

I wish I had the time, stamina, and column inches to write an article daily. That’s how fast the news is coming.

Since last week, Pfizer has begun distribution and vaccinations around the nation, the Moderna vaccine has been approved and it will start distribution by the time you read this, with inoculations going into arms probably by Thursday the 24th.

The 350 Tier One healthcare workers from Bassett Healthcare will have been inoculated, though they all had to travel to either Utica or Elmira to receive the network’s allotted doses, according to a Bassett spokesman. They will get the Pfizer vaccine.

According to the Governor, we can expect more doses in the weeks ahead.

All I want for Christmas is my two vaccines.

There have been some surprises with the roll out. It seems some five dose vials of the Pfizer vaccine actually contain six doses. On the other hand, the logistics have not gone quite as well as we were told to expect. I guess that’s not a surprise.

In the United States, the priority for the order of who gets the vaccine has been announced.

Tier One-A is front-line healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff.

Tier One-B is essential workers.

Tier One-C is high risk individuals which includes those over 60 or 65 depending on their state of residence and those with other risk factors.

After that I am not sure but it seems to be everyone else lumped together. It is not clear when and if minors will get the vaccinations, since they haven’t been tested in those under 16.

There has been some controversy over the 1-B group, not so much if essential workers should get it next, but who is an essential worker.

Overall, there are probably more than 20-30 million people in this category in the United States: police, fire, EMS, teachers, other healthcare workers who interact with the general public, grocery store workers, food processing plant workers, certain other government employees, and many others.

As someone with eight risk factors and counting, I am willing to wait my turn for most of these, but unfortunately there will be some who get moved up the list but probably don’t deserve it.

For example, an attorney friend of mine in New Jersey says they are classified as essential workers.

Shakespeare would definitely not agree. Neither do I. Some yes, but all of them? Corporate attorneys who haven’t been in a courtroom in decades and only represent clients who can pay them more than $500/hour?

There are other vaccines coming out soon. Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson, AstroZenica/Oxford, and Novavax are among those in stage three testing in the USA that may be able to get FDA approval.

China and Russia have both approved their own vaccines and are inoculating people at home and overseas.

The entire United Arab Emirates’ Tour de France winning cycling team has been inoculated with the Chinese Sinopharma vaccine.

Hopefully the vaccines from outside North America and Europe will also generate honest, reproducible data. We need every dose that can be produced that works. There are seven billion people in the world and frankly most of them would benefit by being vaccinated.

In the meantime, we can decrease deaths and slow down progression of the disease with the same simple methods that I have been advocating for nine months. (Yes, it’s that long.) Wear a mask, socially distance, don’t get lackadaisical just because you know some else well.

My god-daughter and her husband both contracted it from their 11-month-old. All are well. We just lost an Otsego citizen who caught COVID from a group home worker who contracted it at a Thanksgiving dinner.

Small group, known people. But someone died because of it. We are so close, people: Stay the course (and any other cliché you can think of).

Merry Christmas and I wish everyone a New Year that at least begins to approach sanity.

STERNBERG: Vaccines, Part I: Pfizer Into The Fray
LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG

Vaccines, Part I:

Pfizer Into The Fray

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

Many people have asked me to explain vaccines to them, and specifically the ones for COVID-19. They are most concerned with how they work, when they will be available, and if they will be safe.

Hopefully, this column will help.

The terms vaccine and vaccination derive from the Latin name Variola vaccinae, which means small pox of the cow. Vacca is Latin for cow.

The term vaccine was first devised by Sir Edward Jenner in 1778 based on the fact that he used an inoculation with cowpox to elicit a protective reaction to smallpox.

In 1881, Louis Pasteur proposed that the term vaccine be used to cover all new protective inoculations that were developed in order to honor Jenner.

There are multiple types of vaccines and at least one of each type has been tried or is being developed for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

The following are the different types of vaccines that are administered to a subject to induce a protective immune response along with examples of each.
►INACTIVATED: a dead copy of the infectant, e.g., polio

►ATTENUATED: A weakened version of the infectant, e.g., yellow fever, measles, mumps

►TOXOID: an inactivated form of the poison made by the infected cell, e.g. tetanus and diphtheria

►SUBUNIT: a portion of the protein of the infectant that cannot cause the disease by itself, e.g., hepatitis B and HPV (human papillomavirus, causes genital warts and cervical cancer).

►CONJUGATE: Weak version of the infectant, coupled with a strong antigen for something benign to increase the immune response to the weakened version, e.g., Hemophylus influenza.

►RECOMBINANT DNA, where a stand of genetic material for part of the infectant is inoculated into the host’s cells and teaches the cells to make an antigen for part of the infectant.

►RNA: This is the approach that right now is the most promising in treating SARS-CoV-2. A portion of messenger RNA is inoculated into the host cells and tells the host to make a portion of the infecting virus. This technique has not been used for human diseases clinically before.

Typically, it takes 15-20 years to bring a new vaccine to market, and less than 5 percent of candidates will succeed. The speed in which the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has come to be distributed really is warp speed.

The first regular immunizations begin a week ago Monday in Great Britain. This is less than a year from recognition that there was a new disease and 10 months from identifying the genetic code of the virus causing it.

Currently there is only one vaccine approved for use, the one made by Pfizer and BioNTech. This is awaiting approval along with that of Moderna in the United States. Pfizer’s was approved, distributed Sunday, and injection began Monday. Approval for Moderna may come later this week.

Both of these are of the RNA type.

There are several reasons that things have moved with lightning speed.

One, the unprecedented cooperation between pharmaceutical companies and academic and government research labs.

Two, the approval of governments to allow fast-tracking such that steps of the development are done in parallel. In my mind, there is no doubt the government’s Warp Speed initiative helped move the process along.

Three, scientists have been working for 10 years on what they call pandemic preparedness. In this case they had developed a template that would allow the development of vaccines for newly emerging diseases quickly. Essentially as one scientist called it, plug and play.

In my next column I will discuss plans for the roll out and how it has gone up to that point.

Normally, the time from submission of data to approval by a government agency takes two years. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines it is one week.
After approval, time to distribution takes more than a year while the pharmaceutical companies develop and implement manufacturing plans.

Amazing what we can do when everyone is desperately pulling in the same direction.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Discuss History Of Baseballs Negro League 06-25-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for  THURSDAY, JUNE 25

Negro League Heroes’ Discussed

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VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP – 1 p.m. Celebrate 100 years since the founding of the Negro Leagues with virtual program about their history in their heyday of the 1920s, 30s, & 40s. Learn about founder Rube Foster, and the great Black Baseball players Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and many more with the Baseball Hall of Fame. Visit baseballhall.org/events/virtual-field-trip-celebration-of-the-negro-leagues?date=0 for info.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, JULY 11
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, JULY 11

Concert From Across The Pond

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MUSIC – 6:30 p.m. An evening of music, poetry & prose from Across the Pond by artists of the Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra. Cost, $20/adult. Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Road, Cooperstown. 607-547-5098 or visit hydehall.org

WORKSHOP – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Learn the craft of glassblowing by making your own paperweight. Cost, $210/student. Bobby Sharp Glassworks, 736 St. Rt. 28, Oneonta. 607-432-2322 or visit www.bobbysharpglassworks.com/#!/classes

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, DEC. 7
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, DEC. 7

Protecting Your Four Legged Family

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We still have 6 families in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in need of a benefactor this holiday season. CLICK HERE to learn how you can help them.

RABIES CLINIC – 4-6 p.m. Free rabies vaccination for cats, dogs, ferrets. Previous certificate must be presented for 3-year booster. Dogs on leash; cats and ferrets in pillow case or carrier. Limit of 15 pets per person. Susquehanna Animal Shelter, 4841 NY 28, Cooperstown. Info, (607) 547-4230 or CLICK HERE to visit the susquehanna animal shelter website.

HOLIDAY MARKET – 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Open house, art display, and handmade gifts. Cherry Branch Gallery, 25 Main St., Cherry Valley. Info, cherrybranchgallery.com

WINE TASTING – 6 p.m. Sampling of fine wines paired with a plate of food to compliment. Stella Luna Ristorante. 58-60 Market St, Oneonta. Info, www.stellalunas.com

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WENDESDAY, NOV. 9
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, NOV. 9

Marketing Tourism

Discussed At Oneonta

14-19eventspageTOURISM ROUNDTABLE– 8:30-10 a.m. Professionals invited to open participatory tourism marketing roundtable with tourism leaders. Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta. Coffee and bagels served. Reservations required by Nov. 1. Info, Barbara Heegan baheegan@otsegocc.com, (607)432-4500 ext. 207.

SUNY THEATER – 8 p.m. Theater department production of “The Good Person of Szechwan.” Goodrich Theater, Fine Arts Bldg., 108 Ravine Pkwy., Oneonta. Info, oneonta.edu/academics/theatre/

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103