• Kat J. McAlpine

    Editor, The Brink Twitter Profile

    Kat J McAlpine

    Kat J. McAlpine is editor of The Brink, Boston University’s news site for scientific breakthroughs and pioneering research. Kat has been telling science stories for over a decade, and prior to joining BU’s editorial staff, publicized research at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and the University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering. Profile

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There are 11 comments on COVID Vaccines Arrive at BU: Everything You Need to Know

  1. As a professor over-65 who is teaching remotely, I feel strongly that BU should not follow the strict CDC guidelines of protecting seniors first. Most of my junior colleges — many with small children — are braving Covid to teach in person this year and putting themselves at risk for becoming infected. It is hard to understand why they should not receive the vaccine before those who have the luxury of sheltering in place. The folks who work in the cafeteria, clean our buildings and provide security services are undoubtedly even more at risk.

    Therefore, I urge BU to distribute the vaccination on the basis of exposure rather than age. Let’s vaccinate people most likely to transmit the disease and do our bit to reduce levels of infection in our community.

      1. But BU is indeed deviating. This answer from the “interview” is clearly not in line with the state guidelines:

        What if a member of the BU community has a personal health condition that they believe should warrant them being moved up in line?

        Zaia: Currently, we are determining the prioritization of vaccine distribution based on the job role or function that a person has as a student, faculty, or staff member within BU. We encourage anyone with a health condition that puts them at higher risk to speak with their primary care provider.

      2. There may be many seniors who share Cathie Jo Martin’s views about the need to vaccinate in-person instructors before over-65 personnel who are sheltering in isolation.

        Every senior who volunteers to forgo their spot in line hastens the vaccination of persons who are in low health-risk categories, but high workplace transmission-risk categories.

        Does BU not have the ability to push a survey to all its faculty, staff and students, asking them to indicate their preference for vaccine priority? Such a survey would not violate the state’s prioritization guidelines.

        I’m in a high health-risk category, but I’d forgo my shot so that someone who is on campus in person every day can be vaccinated. I’m not on the front lines — our teachers, food service professionals, and physical plant staff are.

    1. Thank you, Cathy! The custodial and other facilities employees, the housing and residential life employees, the dining and other food providing employees, and all the employees managing the COVID housing for students on campus are the ones who have been working non stop for us since this all started last Spring! We owe these employees more than a meekly gracious BU Today post and posters outside Warren’s thanking them for their efforts! At least push back on the state that is attempting to more fully open on February first (https://www.boston.com/news/coronavirus/2021/01/26/boston-move-forward-coronavirus-reopening-plan-february-1) and tell them they have not fully considered the multiple categories of BU workers who have been in person and thus higher risk than many other non-healthcare and emergency workers in the state.

      When someone in power hands you a plan that is not fully figured out you are allowed to say the plan needs more work before you will implement it.

  2. Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, so I gladly stand corrected.

    Dr. Platt, you state that “[…] what does it mean for me, personally, to have a 95 percent reduced risk of getting COVID-19?”. I believe, respectfully, that this claim is wrong.

    The reported 95 percent from Pfizer’s Phase III study is the Relative Risk Reduction (RRR); it does NOT mean “if I take the vaccine I have a 95 reduced risk of getting COVID-19 relative to not getting the vaccine.”

    The claim you make would be based on the Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR), which I would calculate as (162/18,325) – (8/18,198) = 0.0084; where 162 and 8 are the number of persons in the control and treated group that got COVID-19, respectively; and where 18,325 and 18,198 are the number of persons in the control and treated group, respectively. So taking the vaccine would reduce my risk of contracting COVID-19 by 0.84%.

    The RRR is that number divided by 162/18.325, which comes to precisely 0.95.

    I take all numbers from the published study: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2034577

    See also for example Dr. Peter Doshi’s contribution in the BMJ: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/11/26/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-lets-be-cautious-and-first-see-the-full-data/

    1. Wow, does this mean that the vaccine is not all that impressive? If it does work so well like they say then why are they worried if I get it? You should be good

  3. It would be helpful to report data on vaccinating college aged students. Neither vaccine was studied in that age group. There is a lot of misinformation swirling out there. Advice from scientific bodies (CDC, pediatric societies, NIH, etc) would be appreciated so students and parents can make informed decisions.

  4. It would be extremely helpful if the university would comment here on reports that MA, unlike 20 other states, is *not* prioritizing higher education employees. This seems like information that should be publicly disseminated to students and faculty that are thinking about their plans this years, especially considering the very high positive infection numbers we are presently seeing in MA and the fact that, even over this break, more than 10 people per day on average have tested positive at BU. Here is the source I am referring to: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/01/13/first-faculty-and-staff-outside-health-care-fields-become-eligible-covid-vaccines

    1. To emphasize this comment, one of the many roles that keep the university open and the LfA going is the faculty. It is quite surprising that this role is not considered in the announcements that came out today. As mentioned by an earlier comment in this section, the +65 faculty members are already remote and have the opportunity to get their vaccine anywhere in the state, but not considering teaching staff as a covid-facing role doesn’t reflect the reality and puts the LfA operation and the in-person faculty members at risk throughout the spring semester.

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