Dec 4, 2020
Mike DeWine December 4 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a December 4, 2020 news briefing on coronavirus. Read the full transcript of his news conference here.
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Governor DeWine: (00:00)
… were a week and our fourth highest ever. Our seven day average of reported cases is now 8,165. So this is above our last seven day average by about 2000. Hospital admissions reporting 392, our seven day average is 388, so it’s about the same. Today’s the third highest day for deaths reported at 129. Again, we will point out that these are not deaths that have occurred today, but ones that have occurred in the recent days and that we find out about them in the last 24 hours. Our seven day average for deaths reported is 77. We’ll now go to Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, our chief medical officer at the health department. Bruce, thank you for joining us. He’s going to explain new guidelines for quarantining after exposure to someone with COVID-19. Dr. Vanderhoff.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:06)
Thank you governor. Quarantining after we’ve been exposed to COVID-19 is very important. It’s very important for helping to control the spread of this virus which, as we know, is raging through our communities. But quarantine only works when we actually stick with it, knowing this and knowing how hard it is to quarantine for 14 days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been carefully evaluating emerging data. That, and our growing confidence in testing has allowed them to offer two new options for quarantining that will be reasonable for many Ohioans. A 10 day option that does not require testing provided there are no symptoms, and a seven day option with a negative test. Again, provided there are no symptoms.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (01:58)
We ask people to quarantine, that is to stay in their homes, after they’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 to help prevent further spread of the disease, because as we know, it can be carried and transmitted by people even if they never show symptoms. Now, I want to be clear, staying at home for 14 days after contact is still the safest way to limit possible spread of COVID-19, and we continue to recommend this for people who might be in settings which COVID-19 is at risk of spreading extensively, but for others with no symptoms, the 10 day or seven-day period may be appropriate based on circumstances or guidance from their local health department.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (02:51)
This may, for example, be a reasonable option for many in a classroom setting where distancing and masking are being consistently applied. But in every case, whether a quarantine for 10 days or 14 or 7, maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet, wearing a mask when around others, are vitally important. Keep an eye out for any symptoms for the full 14 day period regardless of which option you are participating in, and if you become sick or test positive for COVID-19, well then you need to stay home and self isolate. And that means staying at home and in a separate room from others.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (03:37)
Now, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to comply with quarantine guidance whenever we’ve had a potential COVID-19 exposure. That’s why these enhanced quarantine guidelines are so important. They strengthen our quarantine guidance at a critical time in this pandemic by reducing the burden of quarantine to improve compliance. I want to reiterate, we understand that quarantine can be difficult. It can be difficult financially, socially, and for mental health reasons, but there is no question that it can help us reduce the transmission of this disease. When you quarantine, you are protecting your community and fighting alongside all [inaudible 00:04:30] to reduce the threat of COVID-19 to our lives and to our livelihoods.
Governor DeWine: (04:37)
Dr. Vanderhoff, thank you very much. So, in summary, this is guidance from CDC. This is now guidance from the state health department which goes out to the local health departments. Summarize again the ultimate objective in making this change. What does CDC hope to accomplish? What does the state health department hope to accomplish?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (05:07)
Thank you governor. Both the CDC and the state health department have recognized how burdensome that 14-day quarantine period is for so many, and now we have much more scientific evidence that we can rely upon that says, well, for many people in the state, 10 days without a test or seven days with a test is going to do a very good job, and because it’s easier to comply with, it’s going to be a better outcome. More people are going to be able to stick with it, therefore we’re now offering that, alongside the CDC, as an option for most Ohioans.
Governor DeWine: (05:53)
So one hope would be more people likely to comply. More people likely to do this?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (06:00)
That’s right. The harder the hill is to climb, the fewer people are going to do it.
Governor DeWine: (06:06)
Dr. Vanderhoff: (06:07)
We’re trying to lower that hill.
Governor DeWine: (06:09)
All right. Very good. Let’s turn to vaccines. We’ve been working with the federal government on this. I had a conversation a couple of hours ago with the vice-president about this and we continue to learn more and this continues to be fine tuned, and this will be a work in progress. This is not something that we’re going to set it and it’s just going to go, it’s going to be continued to be fine tuned, but let me repeat what the main objectives are. I think these are the same objectives we have as the federal government has, and I think it’s a kind of universal objectives. Want us to save lives, to cover the most vulnerable people as quickly as we can. People who are in a situation where they’re more likely to get it, and if they do get it, are more likely not to have good outcomes.
Governor DeWine: (07:15)
The second is to slow the spread of the virus, and third objective, one more certainly, is to make sure that our healthcare workers, those people who are on the frontline risking their lives and those people who we rely on, not just for help with COVID patients but with others, that they are able to do their jobs and that we can do everything that we can to keep them safe. So as we look at the objectives, we’ll be starting, we hope, the middle of this month in Phase 1a. The priorities that we have set are consistent with the priorities that have been given by the CDC, and I want to go through these in just a general description. There may certainly be different groups that have been left out, but I’m trying to give you all an understanding of how this is going to work. As we begin phase one of the vaccine distribution, we hope that is around December 15th, the following are the priorities, and these are priorities not in order. They’re all the priorities that we will be working to get the vaccine out to just as quickly as we can. Healthcare workers and personnel who are involved in the care of COVID-19 patients. Read it again, healthcare workers and personnel who are involved in the care of COVID-19 patients. EMS responders is the second group. Then we come to a series that I’m going to read to you of different groups, but they really all come under this definition, and that is that we will prioritize vulnerable individuals who live together in close proximity, and those who care for them. Vulnerable individuals who live together in close proximity and those who care for them.
Governor DeWine: (09:44)
These are the ones who we have found to be the most vulnerable. This would include residents and staff at nursing homes, residents and staff at assisted living facilities, patients and staff at state psychiatric hospitals, people with intellectual disabilities and those with mental illness who live in group homes or centers, and staff at those locations. Residents and staff at our two homes for Ohio veterans. So these would be examples of individuals who will be in group 1a. Now, we are still waiting for confirmation about what will be sent out in the month of December. So we can give you what we believe these numbers are, and I will tell you what has been confirmed and what has not been confirmed, but the [inaudible 00:10:59] has made clear that we will not know for sure what these numbers are until we are notified in that week. A few days before we get them, we will get a number, and we will know that those are in fact coming.
Governor DeWine: (11:17)
It is our understanding, again, this is subject to change, subject to shipment, and we’re just trying to provide the people of Ohio the best information we can at this point, it is subject to change. Pfizer, if this is all approved, we would anticipate around December 15th there will be a shipment that comes out. On that shipment 9,750 will go to our hospitals. This will be the vaccine that’s pre- positioned. In that shipment you will have 88,725 that will go to Walgreens and CVS to go to [inaudible 00:12:14] care settings. Basically, in that first phase, the nursing homes.
Governor DeWine: (12:20)
On December 22nd, we have confirmation of 201,000 from Moderna. That will go to hospitals. 98 hospitals have been signed up. 108 health departments. Hospitals will obviously work at vaccinating those who are dealing with COVID patients. The health departments will distribute this to people like EMS. They will vaccinate people who are EMS, home health care workers, for example, and those [inaudible 00:13:08] would be more examples. But those will go to, as I said, the hospitals and health departments.
Governor DeWine: (13:18)
On that same day we have a tentative number, a tentative number for Pfizer that we’re seeking some confirmation on, but that number is 123,000. [crosstalk 00:13:33] That number is 123,000 on December 22nd. We’ll continue to go then through Walgreens and CVS, and those will go directly… They will be vaccinating people in nursing homes and staff. Going to next date, a few days later, there will be another 148, we believe, coming from Pfizer, 148,000.
Governor DeWine: (14:01)
… we believe coming from Pfizer, 148,089 from Moderna. So, that’s what the month looks like. Again, the second and third shipment from Pfizer has not been confirmed. We’ve got those amounts tentative, but they have not been at least at this moment confirmed. Let me now go to Dr. Joe Gastaldo, asking him to join us and really talk about vaccines, why they’re important to our work to eradicate the virus. He’s Ohio Health’s medical director for infectious diseases, and medical director of quality and safety for Riverside Methodist Hospital. Doctor, thank you very much for being with us.
Joe Gastaldo: (14:48)
Thank you, Governor DeWine.
Governor DeWine: (14:49)
Joe Gastaldo: (14:50)
As you know in Ohio, we remain in a world war against a ruthless enemy, the Coronavirus causing COVID-19. Thus far, we have a few weapons. We know that mitigation strategies like wearing a mask and limiting your exposure to people outside of your household help prevent infection. In the hospital, we have two useful medications to use in patients who have COVID-19, Remdesivir and steroids. Soon as you previously stated, we are likely to have another major weapon against defeating this virus, vaccines.
Joe Gastaldo: (15:25)
Having an effective vaccine and vaccination program will be the first major step in getting us back to a pre-COVID way of life. Preliminary data from both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine suggests that the vaccines are about 95% effective. What does that mean? It means that receiving a vaccine will prevent people from getting ill. It means receiving a vaccine will keep people out of the hospital, and it means receiving a vaccine will save lives. I’d like to make a few comments about the information we know about the two vaccine candidates from Pfizer and Moderna.
Joe Gastaldo: (16:08)
Collectively, both trials prioritize safety in the highest scientific testing methods. Together, both studies have enrolled about 75,000 people from diverse populations. On December 10th, Pfizer will have their data reviewed at the FDA by a group of independent, non-government employed scientists, physicians, vaccinologists and other top experts in their field. The data is going to be reviewed with a fine tooth comb, no stone will be left unturned. Next, after a hopeful FDA approval, it then goes to another group of independent experts and scientists at the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices for review and vaccine recommendations.
Joe Gastaldo: (17:04)
Both review meetings at the FDA and CDC are open to the public. In addition, at the CDC meeting, major medical societies will have representation at the table for review and discussion of the data. After a transparent FDA approval in CDC recommendation, a vaccine will become available for Americans to receive. As a person of science, as an infectious disease physician and a formal pharmacist, I have the utmost confidence in the outlined review process. When a COVID vaccine is FDA approved and CDC recommended, I will be rolling up my sleeves sometime hopefully in the near future. I recommend this vaccine to my parents, to my family, my friends, and to most importantly, my patients.
Governor DeWine: (17:59)
Doctor, thank you very much for giving us a description of how this process works. I know some people have said, “Gee, this process was quick, this happened faster. Should that worry us?” Is there anything about that that should worry us, and why is it fast? Why has it been able to be faster?
Joe Gastaldo: (18:24)
That’s a great question, Governor DeWine. So back in the spring, the federal government introduced Operation Warp Speed as coming up with a more efficient way to get a vaccine out there, knowing that we are in a pandemic. What I can tell you is, the way the studies are done for approval of these vaccines is the exact same way that we have done it with previous vaccines. We’re doing it in a more efficient way that does not compromise any of the safety.
Joe Gastaldo: (18:56)
In addition to that, the review processes that I outlined through independent groups within the FDA and the CDC are completely the same way we have done it for years, by two independent groups of experts in their fields. Both of these open reviews at the FDA and CDC are open to the public. For me, it’s going to be must-see television, I will be listening to those. I’m going to be looking at all of the details of this study.
Governor DeWine: (19:28)
Okay, thank you very much. We appreciate it doctor, thanks for coming on and helping us understand. And I’m sure that the news is going to be filled with this over the next week or so, and people are going to have the opportunity to just turn their TV on and watch some of this. And you said actually these are public meetings, is that right?
Joe Gastaldo: (19:50)
That’s correct, Governor DeWine. Both the FDA and CDC’s meetings for review are open to the public. And again, I will be watching them. I think it’s very important for people to understand the science and the safety of the vaccines. Yes, vaccines will help save lives, but we have to have a vaccination program, people have to choose to be vaccinated. I will say this. I’m almost giddy about having vaccines, because I’ve been talking about COVID now for almost a year, and I want to talk about other things and infectious diseases. And having a vaccine be accepted is the first big step we have to get us to herd immunity and a pre-COVID way of life.
Governor DeWine: (20:33)
Thank you doctor. As you look at this, and based on what you have read, what you have heard, side effects from this? If I take this, someone takes it, what kind of side effects would they expect?
Joe Gastaldo: (20:53)
Thank you Governor DeWine, that’s a good question. So keep in mind, all the information we have is preliminary data and it’s going to be reviewed like I said with a fine tooth comb at the FDA and CDC. What’s being reported so far is people may have a sore arm, they may have a headache. What’s important for people to realize is that when you get a vaccine, we want your immune system to become stimulated so you develop immunity to the vaccine. So it’s not going to be common for people to feel off kilter for 24 hours. They may have a headache, they may have fatigue. That’s not a toxicity, that’s your body’s way of responding to your injection and developing immunity and protection to this virus.
Governor DeWine: (21:39)
Doctor, thank you. Dr. Gastaldo, thank you for doing this. I’m sure you’re going to keep us informed. If you see anything, we’ll have you back, anything you want to tell us.
Joe Gastaldo: (21:51)
Thank you, governor DeWine.
Governor DeWine: (21:52)
Thank you doctor, I appreciate it very, very much. We’re ready to go to questions.
Speaker 1: (21:58)
Governor, first question today is from John London at WLWT in Cincinnati.
Governor DeWine: (22:04)
John London: (22:04)
Governor, there are those who say you’ve shown remarkable restraint this fall, and there are others who believe you’ve not acted forcefully enough. The spring lockdown flattened the curve, this fall surge is getting worse. And clearly, there’s a percentage of Ohioans ignoring requests to wear masks and not gather. Would you clearly lay out to the state right now what you are willing and not willing to do as we move through December and the winter months?
Governor DeWine: (22:36)
Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is, we have more people in retail settings. We know, because we’re counting them. We know we have more people who are wearing masks, and it’s throughout the state of Ohio. In the last survey that we did, I haven’t got it from yesterday but we were at about 91%. That is a marked improvement. We also think that we’re seeing… We saw over Thanksgiving a slowdown. Not huge, but a slowdown from the previous Thanksgiving as far as people movements, and that comes from data that anybody can look up on the internet.
Governor DeWine: (23:20)
We saw the same thing in regard to the Friday after Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving did occur. And it could be that the cases that we’re seeing today, we may be starting to see those cases. It’s probably going to see it more in the next few days as we go out. We’re only now eight days away, seven days away from that Friday. So we could be seeing that continue, that spike up even further. If you look at the cases today, certainly not good. What we would hope is we would see a plateau, we’re not really seeing a plateau yet, and then we really need it to go down.
Governor DeWine: (24:06)
Look, we were having discussions. I was on the phone with infectious disease doctors, as I told you all the other night. We’re consulting other experts, we are consulting… I’m talking to the speaker and Senate president right after this press conference, I’m talking to other members of the legislature. So we are in a very, very tenuous, dangerous situation. And what I think everyone should be able to agree on is that we cannot let our hospitals get to the point where healthcare is dramatically threatened. So we are not going in the right direction. We think some of the things that we’ve done, the curfew, that additional mask wearing, the inspection of retail. We think these things have helped, but clearly John, they have not helped enough and we are going to have to do more. And we’re in discussions now, trying to get the best advice, the best experts. But we’re going to have to do more, we don’t have any choice.
Speaker 1: (25:20)
The next question is from John Reed at [inaudible 00:25:23] news service.
John Reed: (25:24)
Good afternoon, governor.
Governor DeWine: (25:25)
John Reed: (25:27)
Is there any priority for people who might be a caregiver for a loved one who’s vulnerable in getting the vaccine? Maybe someone taking care of an older parent, something like that?
Governor DeWine: (25:39)
Yeah, I’m going to go to Dr. Vanderhoff. I don’t know whether you’re still on there or not, do you want to take that?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (25:48)
So thank you. It’s a very good question, and it really points to some of the subsequent phases of the tiering of this vaccine distribution. Of this first tier, it’s really targeted to the people who every day are facing the highest exposure and the highest risk to the virus. And just as we did with this phase, we’re going to be actively working with the ACIP, the National Academy of Sciences and other authorities to determine how best to map out the subsequent phases.
Governor DeWine: (26:24)
So look, these are not easy decisions, but I think there is really emerged a consensus. I’ve talked to other governors, we’ve seen what the CDC has done. Well, they’ve been consistent really in different phases of looking at this as far as a one group. And that is, people who are out front, dealing with people with COVID. At the same time, people who are in congregate care settings, where what we have seen is just devastation in our nursing homes, and in many of our assisted living. So if we can get those large groups vaccinated? In two months when they… They’ve got to have the second shot. If we can get them off the table so to speak, as far as this risk? We all should breathe somewhat a sigh of relief, because we’re taking care of the people who are taking care of us, and at the same time, we’re taking care of people who are at the most risk and where we’re seeing the most deaths. And we’re seeing it go through a nursing home or assisted living, where we’re losing sometimes thousands of people.
Governor DeWine: (27:40)
Our goal is to get this out just as quickly as we can, and as quickly as the federal government gets this to us and these two drug companies, and we hope more, get it to us. And so that we can then move on to the next group. So we’re in a big hurry about it. Some of this-
Governor DeWine: (28:03)
So we’re in a big hurry about it. Some of this we can control, obviously getting the vaccine and how we get it, how fast we get it, we could not. And what we’ll do is try to keep everyone informed about what we know when we know it, about when this vaccine is coming in.
Speaker 2: (28:17)
Next question is from Ben Schwartz at WCPO in Cincinnati.
Governor DeWine: (28:21)
Ben Schwartz: (28:23)
Hi, Governor. Are you planning at any points on receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on camera, similar to what you did earlier this year with the flu shot? Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (28:35)
Yeah, I see some of our ex presidents have said they’ll go on national TV and take it. I think that is great. I think that is high profile. I think that I will take it absolutely as soon as I can take it, as soon as take it is when they get to my turn, when they get into my group. So I’m anxious to take it and I know Fran’s anxious to take it as well.
Speaker 2: (28:59)
This question is from Geoff Redick at WSYX in Columbus.
Governor DeWine: (29:07)
Geoff Redick: (29:08)
Afternoon, Governor. On the coronavirus website for Ohio prominently featured has been the more than a mask campaign in the coronavirus strike force, which found earlier this year that the share of Black Ohioans who are getting cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID far outpaces their actual share of the population. Will there be any, and I’m sorry, there’s a Pew Research study out today that shows less than half of Black Americans are apparently willing to take the COVID vaccine. So will there be any specific messaging to that portion of Ohio’s population about receiving the vaccine? Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (29:52)
Yes, there will be. There will be. The polling that we have seen would indicate though that half of all Ohioans have significant skepticism about it, but I think that that for most people will go away as we move, as they see people who are getting, particularly frontline healthcare workers, who are getting the vaccination. As they see others getting, as they learn more about it, information is power and I think people are going to have a lot of information coming at them in the next several weeks. Simply because of what the CDC is going through and the process, it will be the most famous, most open, most spotlighted review, I suppose, by the CDC maybe forever. I don’t know. And I think information is important, transparency is important, and I think the more people learn, they’re more likely to take it.
Speaker 2: (31:02)
Next question is from Jo Ingles at Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Jo Ingles: (31:08)
Hello, Governor. I have a question about our jails. Some of the worst outbreaks we’ve seen are in the prisons and the jails. Where do they fall into this distribution schedule? Will they get the vaccines immediately along with nursing homes and other congregate settings, or will they have to wait?
Governor DeWine: (31:31)
Yeah, actually we were discussing that a few hours ago. Our frontline workers in, I raised the issue to our team, I said the frontline workers in our prisons are really risking their lives every single day. And so we need to be able to take care of them. So I can’t answer specifically that at this moment, but we started that discussion today. So I don’t know, Dr. Brandonhof, if you have anything to add to that or not, but we were discussing that today and it’s very important.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (32:14)
Yeah. The simple fact of the matter is that we’ve got a new vaccine that we’re all very excited about and that vaccine is understandably available in limited initial supply. So what is happening not only in Ohio, but as the governor referenced in our neighboring states and across the nation, guided by national authorities and scientific experts, is an attempt to prioritize among many groups in our society all of whom are worthy of receiving this vaccine on the basis of graded risk. And we know for example, that the congregate living that includes our nursing home population is where we’re seeing among the highest mortality. So there’s a very good reason that that was prioritized at the top of the list. There are many, many other individuals who we want to get this vaccine to as quickly as possible, and we will get it to them as quickly as possible. But for now, Category 1A is really being defined in the way that the governor described.
Governor DeWine: (33:32)
Let me just kind of interrupt here. I got a note from Ann ODonald who tells me that maybe I was not clear about the first shipment whether that includes the first and second dose. Had a conversation with the vice-president several hours ago, not about that, but that came up. And my understanding is what is happening is, the vice-president told me, they’re identifying and holding the second dose. So we’re not going to be in a position where we put at first dose out and then you can’t come up with a second dose. But when that first batch of 98,000 comes out, we hope in the middle of December, we are not holding half of it back. We are going out and we are going to get 98,000 people, we hope, shots in the arms and move forward with the understanding that we will have to come back obviously for them to get that second shot. And that’s the way this will work throughout.
Governor DeWine: (34:39)
So to kind of summarize, if this comes out on December 15th, by mid January, we’re into the second shots. And so we’re then at that point, starting to have people who really we believe will have the immunity and we’ll be moving.
Speaker 2: (35:04)
Next question is from Jackie Borchardt of the Cincinnati Inquirer.
Governor DeWine: (35:08)
Jackie Borchardt: (35:09)
Hi, Governor. So you just mentioned any 98,000 people, there are far more than that and just in this first 1A priority subgroup that you’ve mentioned. How are you going to prioritize within that group and how will it actually work? How will people prove they’re a healthcare worker, for example? Will they really need a doctor’s note? How’s that going to work?
Governor DeWine: (35:35)
Well if you look at the first group, some are going through hospitals and some are going through health departments and they’re going to focus, hospitals for example, on healthcare workers. You’re going to have the health departments that are going to focus on EMS. They might focus on healthcare workers that are out, so at the same time that will be occurring. This will be going to CVS and to Walgreen, and they will be going directly into nursing homes. So everybody obviously can’t get it the first day, 98,000 is not. You’re absolutely correct. These are large numbers and we’re going to have to go through this. So part of it is we will give some guidance, for example, to CVS. And some consideration is going to be given when you look at where the spread is the greatest and where the risk is the highest, as far as nursing homes.
Governor DeWine: (36:51)
But even with that said, we’re going to try to get a geographical spread. It’s not all going to go in one part of the state, but there will be some that will be first and some that’ll be second and some on down the line. Some of that will be in regard to efficiency. For example, it looks like in our conversations with CVS and our conversations with Walgreen, it makes sense if we want to get this out as quickly as we can to be going into a nursing home and trying to get all the residents and all the staff at the same time.
Governor DeWine: (37:35)
So people will be asked to come in, and staff if they’re not on that shift or not that particular day, we’re going to try to get as much out as quickly as we can. So you have two variables, one is trying to where the most impact you can have to save lives. But at the same time, you also have to keep this moving out because what you don’t want to be in a situation where we’re sitting on any of this and we’re not getting it out it in an expeditious fashion.
Speaker 2: (38:07)
Next question is from [inaudible 00:38:08] at the Associated Press.
Speaker 3: (38:12)
Hi, Governor. I have two questions. I just wanted to clarify something about the Pfizer doses. Would they be effective if you gave one and then waited and gave the second dose later? Wouldn’t it be more effective to give all 48, 000, the two required doses, at once?
Governor DeWine: (38:34)
Well, you would be waiting. There is a wait period.
Speaker 3: (38:38)
Governor DeWine: (38:38)
For one of the vaccines, there’s a three week wait period. For the other vaccine, it’s my understanding is a four week. So if you held them back, you’d just be sitting there with them and that would be the worst thing that we could do it seems to me. We have an obligation to get them out as quickly as we can. We also have an obligation to be able to come back with a second vaccine, but there is a time. And that’s why I say that we hope by mid January, we’re now at that point into second shots with some people, and we’re starting to move people from vulnerable to not being vulnerable. And that’s when things will start … It’s going to take a while. I mean, you see the process and it depends on how much we get when we get it, but that’ll be a happy day too.
Speaker 3: (39:23)
And the second question I have is regarding something you mentioned earlier about trust in this vaccine, which already more than half of Americans say they have questions about it. But beyond that, the whole political atmosphere around this vaccine coming out has also caused a lot of people to have doubts, whether, like you said, the quickness of it and whether it would be coming out before the November election or not. So how do you as Governor of Ohio assure residents about this vaccine?
Governor DeWine: (39:50)
Well, yeah, look, I think the good news from that point of view is this is a major accomplishment of the Trump administration. This is something that we’ve worked very closely with them on and they are saying, get shots as quickly as you can. President-Elect Biden is saying the same thing. So I don’t see a controversy out here. It looks like to me, everybody’s for this. I’m sure there’ll be some people who are against vaccines, but this should not be a political issue. I mean, never shouldn’t be political issue, but in this case, I think, both parties, both the president and the president-elect are for those.
Speaker 2: (40:38)
The next question is from Randy Ludlow at the Columbus Dispatch.
Randy Ludlow: (40:59)
Sorry, Governor. How are you doing this afternoon?
Governor DeWine: (41:02)
Randy Ludlow: (41:04)
Governor, obviously you’ve identified hundreds, thousands of doses, priority groups for vaccination, but what about the general public at large? Middle age Ohioans with no health problems, when can the general public expect to have doses available for them and their families?
Governor DeWine: (41:28)
Randy, I don’t think anybody knows that. I think it depends on how fast these drug companies get it to us. I think it depends on whether obviously these two get approved, they have to get approved. We have other ones that we hope are coming online. It depends on how fast they come online. How many come online? What I can do as governor is simply say, we’re going to get this out just as quickly as we get it. I read the same speculation or watch the same TV that you do and see what people on TV-
Governor DeWine: (42:03)
… you do and see what people on TV who are experts are telling us about when they think that this gets to the general population. But my focus right now is on first group, we got to get them vaccinated. We got to get them a second vaccination. That will save a lot of lives, we know that. It will slow this virus down. And the other thing that we’ll do once this kicks in, now it’s going to be a few months, but this is going to slow the number of people going into the hospitals at some point. When we get enough people that… Particularly our congregate care settings, the most vulnerable and the most likely to end up in the ICU.
Governor DeWine: (42:46)
But when it gets to the average 40 year old Ohioan, who’s in good health, I don’t think anybody can say. But the goal here is to get to them and get to them as fast as we can. I don’t know whether, Dr. Vanderhoff, you want to comment on this. But I’m not sure exactly what percentage herd immunity, community immunity is? But that’s what we’re striving for.
Governor DeWine: (43:16)
We want to get every Ohioan who wants to take this, we want to get them vaccinated. But it’s going to be sequential and it’s going to obviously take months until we get to that point. I don’t know Dr. Vanderhoff, you have anything to add to that?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (43:34)
Yes, Governor. I think one thing that we have to remind ourselves is what incredibly good news this is. We have in front of us a vaccine, actually two vaccines, closely related vaccines that clearly have a strong effectiveness. There are going to be very impactful and they appear to be very safe. One of the vaccine experts in the country, Dr. Paul Offit, noted that with vaccines you almost always see within the six to eight weeks after that vaccine has been received any of the serious adverse effects that might happen. And essentially with these vaccines, we’ve seen none.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (44:22)
So these are very effective, they are very safe vaccines, and we have them coming to us very, very soon. So the race has started and it started in a pretty robust way. And I think in many circumstances before people really thought it could. So we’re in a really good position and now it’s a matter of how fast things will flow.
Governor DeWine: (44:52)
Dr. Vanderhoff, Do we know how many people for example, have, have been vaccinated in these trials?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (45:03)
So the numbers are actually pretty substantial. I don’t have the exact ones at my fingertips. But I’ll tell you this, the numbers that have gone through these trials have exceeded the numbers for many other vaccines that have been recently released. A great example would be the HPV vaccine that many younger people receive now, that went through years and years of testing and safety determination. And yet the total number of people in those trials was less than the total number in the trials for these vaccines. So it’s a very substantial number.
Governor DeWine: (45:46)
Speaker 4: (45:47)
Governor, next question is from email@example.com.
Julie Washington: (45:52)
Hello Governor, can you hear me?
Governor DeWine: (45:54)
I can indeed.
Julie Washington: (45:55)
Oh, excellent. When decisions are being made about who should receive the vaccines first, will fast food workers and grocery store employees receive priority consideration since they are frontline workers? And if you don’t mind, I have a follow-up question. If you could please repeat the number regarding the shipment, the December 22 shipment and Moderna, I think that got a little garbled? If you could repeat the number, the December 22nd Moderna shipment. Thank you.
Governor DeWine: (46:24)
Moderna, by this schedule, starts on around December 22nd. The first number is 201,900. The next one is a few days later, it’s unclear exactly what date, and it’s 89,000. Eight, nine, zero, zero, zero. Those are for Moderna.
Governor DeWine: (46:49)
As far as your other question. Look, our goals are going to be the same. We have not gotten beyond looking at 1A. We looked at it, but we’ve had no final decisions. We’re, again, going to obviously look for guidance from the CDC. We’re going to look for guidance from infectious disease doctors and other experts here in the State of Ohio.
Governor DeWine: (47:16)
But the goal will be to save the most lives. The goal will be to take those people who are the most vulnerable for whatever reason, and to protect them. Now, it’s not perfect. There will be some inequities I suppose, and someone will say, “Well, look this group really, in this particular case, it might be more vulnerable.” We’re we’re going to try to do the best that we can to be fair.
Governor DeWine: (47:41)
And we’re going to seek guidance. This is not something I’m sitting up here and making these decisions. We’re trying to get a collective guidance from experts with the criteria of how do we slow the virus, how do we save lives? These are two things that are very important. The third thing is, how do we keep our healthcare workers out there and protect them so that they can protect us?
Speaker 4: (48:05)
Next question is from Amy Steigerwald at WTOL in Toledo.
Amy Steigerwald: (48:10)
Hi Governor, I hope you’re doing well. My question is, you have this first group of people who are getting this, the first round of shots. Will they get their second set of shots before you move on to another group of people for their dose?
Governor DeWine: (48:26)
Well, after three weeks it starts happening simultaneously. After three weeks, you’re vaccinating new people at the same time you’re giving the second shot. So you’re trying to do it sequentially so they’ll be occurring at the same time. I don’t know if that answers the question or not?
Speaker 4: (48:49)
Next question is from Jim Otte at WHIO in Dayton.
Governor DeWine: (48:53)
Jim Otte: (48:54)
Governor, thank you. Wanted to see if you have details yet on how people are going to be prioritized within those medical facilities? A hospital, for example, would you be starting with those folks who work at the ICU? And then who makes that decision? Would that be ODH? Or those medical facilities, the hospitals, themselves internally to say, “You’re in group one,” or 1A, “You’re in group 2,” and on down the line, who makes that decision?
Governor DeWine: (49:24)
The guidance comes from the State Department of Health with input from hospitals, and we’ve got a lot of input from hospitals. They’re the ones who are looking at this. They’re the ones who know who is most at risk. So the broad guidance comes from that consensus.
Governor DeWine: (49:41)
The individual, “Who gets the shots, when? 9:00 AM today, tomorrow?” That’s going to occur in that individual hospital. They’re going to have to make that decision. If you look at the first batch you’ll see that close to 10,000 is going to hospitals. Now that’s not a lot, but it’s going to 10 hospitals around the state. When you get into the second week, you’re going into other hospitals and those decisions, again, are made on, “Who is the most vulnerable?” And it’s not just a doctor, not just a nurse, it’s people who have contact with patients who are positive for COVID. Doctor, you want to answer that?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (50:28)
Yes, Governor. I think you’re absolutely right. And one of the things that became very clear to us as we were partnering with our hospitals around the state in thinking through this very question, is that when we’re working with the hospitals, we’re working with very well-informed organizations. And they have the benefit of having people like Dr. Gastaldo in their organizations who can work closely to understand how to best identify the most at risk healthcare providers in their institutions. And our hospitals serve communities that look very different and are structured in ways that are very different.
Dr. Vanderhoff: (51:07)
So, our aim was not to over-engineer how they would approach this. But to ask them, following these broader guidelines, to then prioritize within their workforce. Knowing that we would not on day one, have enough to line everyone up in every hospital ready to receive a shot. Knowing that there would have to be internal prioritization. And they have all reported back to us that they have completed that work and they have done it with an eye towards equity and really trying to identify the people who are working at the front lines regularly taking care of patients with COVID-19.
Speaker 4: (51:51)
Governor, next question is the last question for today and it belongs to Dan Pearlman from WCMH in Columbus.
Dan Pearlman: (52:04)
[inaudible 00:52:04] How many Ohioans need to be vaccinated in order for us to get back to normal or the new normal, as it may be? When do you expect that to happen and what will you do to ensure we actually get to that point sooner rather than later?
Governor DeWine: (52:19)
Well, I’m going to let Bruce answer that. But, I don’t think anybody knows the exact point. This is going to be a gradation, this is going to be a continuum that’s going to be occurring. So obviously it’s not going to occur in January or February or March. It’s going to be gradual as it moves forward. At some point, some magical point, we don’t know that date, we will achieve the herd immunity. And at that point life will get back to mostly normal. But we don’t want to make the mistake of pulling back, stopping wearing masks or anything else in the first few months. That would just be a horrible, horrible mistake. Dr. Vanderhoff?
Dr. Vanderhoff: (53:02)
Yes, Governor. You answered it very well. The reality is that it’s our surveillance tools that will begin to tell us that we’re getting to herd immunity. No one has ever been through a pandemic on this order ever before. We have ideas about the numbers that would bring about herd immunity, but we really don’t know. Watching our surveillance numbers though will at some point tell us, “You know what, we’ve slowed this virus down.” And then at another point, “You know what? We put this virus to bed.”
Governor DeWine: (53:36)
I want to thank you all, very much. And I look, it’s a happy day to be talking about vaccines. It’s a happy day to be worrying about who’s going to get the first one and who’s going to get in the first group. These are decisions that have to be, but it’s good news and I think we should remember that there is a lot of hope out there now it’s coming. We just got to stay tough for the next few months and continue to do what we need to do. Knock this thing back as hard as we can knowing the next few months will be tough. But, there is hope out there and we’re starting down that pathway now. So we’ll see all next week. Thank you, very much.