RoundTable 11/20: Inside Knowledge on Vaccines and Treatments–Actions You Can Take in Your Organization

On November 20, Heart+Mind was honored to have best-selling author, biotech executive and scientist Safi Bahcall join us with three distinguished physicians from Intermountain Healthcare:

  • Dr. Todd Vento – Medical Director, Infectious Diseases 
  • Dr. Tamara Sheffield – Medical Director, Community Health and Prevention
  • Dr. Brandon Webb – Chair, COVID-19 Therapeutics Committee

The goal for our 1-hour session was to empower better COVID-related planning decisions aimed at maximizing safety and health while running our respective businesses/organizations. The session more than delivered on this objective as these distinguished experts cut through the noise about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Their insight, stories, and suggestions are well worth your paying attention and taking action within your respective ecosystems.

  • High Tech. The advancements in mRNA technology that are at the core of the top two vaccines nearing distribution is an incredible leap in human ingenuity, science, and the impact of focused investment and collaboration. For the first time in history, we will have vaccines that program our DNA how to fight the virus directly.
  • Efficacy. The efficacy rates for the first two vaccines are incredibly high at 90-95%. Don’t be surprised when these rates slow down. When you hear about it, don’t worry because it is to be expected. These rates are above normative standards, and they’ve been realized in record times.
  • Timing. Distribution of the vaccine will be tricky and complicated, but expect the plans to be sorted and begin to reach the masses by late Spring and into the Summer. Healthcare workers, frontline workers, and at-risk populations will be the priority starting as early as December and January.
  • Priority. The process of prioritization for vaccine distribution will likely get messy, but should be resolved by March/April. In the meantime, distribution challenges are being addressed now.

Leadership during this time of crisis calls for transparency and solutions. Business leaders need to take a stand to spread the basic facts and repeatedly drive home these messages to build confidence:

  • Masks work.
  • Vaccines work. And when they work they cause your body to respond that often brings a slight fever and aches. That is a good sign that it is working. Talk about this in terms of a natural and expected “response” to a vaccine, not a “reaction” to the vaccine.
  • Slowing the spread helps us get to herd immunity. At current rates we will have to vaccinate 90% of the population, something that is not realistic. If we can slow the rate of spread we could control the virus with as low as 30% vaccination coverage. Slowing spread matters. A lot. Vaccines do not represent a magic bullet – our behaviors matter as much or more.

Physicians have learned a lot in the last several months with regard to treatments, and it is lowering the fatality rate significantly. Early treatment is proving to be very, very important.

Finally, our experts shared the following resources to rely on and to get out of the chaos and misinformation of the media and social media channels:


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