Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer to the studio.
During the third hour, Leahy and Brewer speculated the calculated release of the COVID vaccine agreeing that frontline workers and the elderly should be at the top of the list. They later discussed what level of prioritization would be under the 75-year-old threshold and the safety and distribution of the vaccine.
(Executive Vice President of CVS Tom Moriarty clip plays)
The first phase starts today and this again is result of almost daily planning with the CDC and Operation Warp Speed over the last eight months to go into the long-term care facilities across the country. The residents of long-term care make up some one percent of the U.S. population, but they represent almost 40 percent of all COVID deaths. So meeting the needs and vaccinating the resident needs facilities is clearly a top priority.
Leahy: That’s Tom Moriarty who is the executive vice president of CVS talking about the vaccine being distributed. It’s out there and people have been taking it by the way. I saw Alexander Ocasio-Cortez got the vaccine.
Brewer: Oh well! And Marco Rubio got it as well.
Leahy: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is like 30 years old, right? She’s not exactly in the risk population. She was asked why are you at the head of the line? And her response was well, it’s a national security issue. I’m vital to the operation of the government. She said it with a straight face.
Brewer: Wow. Vital. Which government? (Laughter)
Leahy: Now that is a very good line. So the vaccine is coming out. But now the vice president’s got it. The Vice President Pence has taken it. Joe Biden publicly took the vaccine.
Brewer: Mike, now would that be President-elect Joe Biden.
Leahy: No it would not.
Brewer: We’re not there yet? (Laughs)
Leahy: We’re not. We’ve discussed this.
Brewer: Alright. Alright.
Leahy: Now when we come back you will be here on Tuesday, January the 5. And it will still not be president-elect and it still might not be.
Brewer: Mitch McConnell says he’s President-elect.
Leahy: Where in the Constitution does it say that Mitch McConnell is the ultimate arbiter of that plan?
Brewer: I’m just saying Mr. McConnell is saying that he’s president-elect Biden.
Leahy: We have a process and on January 6 and we’ll see what the Congress says.
Leahy: But on January 5 will be talking about the runoff election in Georgia.
Brewer: Oh, yeah.
Leahy: When you come back.
Brewer: That’s a big one.
Leahy: The issue there is really in doubt. But back to the vaccine. So A lot of people are getting it. Now I am in the danger group. I’m 65, you know. I guess 65 maybe probably 70.
Brewer: I think they said 75 and up should be vaccinated.
Leahy: They said 75?
Brewer: I think the CDC’s sort of priorities were 75 and up.
Leahy: Well, I can understand that. Yeah, I can understand that. I guess.
Brewer: You’re still a spring chicken Michael at 65.
Leahy: I’m still a spring chicken at 65. I feel like a spring chicken, sort of.
Brewer: Are you about to end up on the dinner table?
Leahy: (Chuckles) You know everybody in their minds still think they are like 18. I do my occasional workouts. I do a couple of workouts a week. Let me just tell you something. In the midst of those workouts, I am not 18. Nooo. Not even close. So talking about the vaccine I would just say as soon as its available I’m taking it.
Brewer: I’m the same way. The second I can get it and my family can get it we will take it.
Leahy: And some people have said well, it’s not a 100 percent proven and they’ve done clinical tests. And it looks like the clinical tests are pretty high, you know level of efficacy. Which is 95 percent just like any vaccines going to be in that category. And these are you know, the companies spent a lot of time doing it. So frankly Clint, I mean if I could get the vaccine today I would do it.
Brewer: If there were somebody sitting in here and said, Mr. Brewer, would you like it? I’d roll up my sleeve right now.
Leahy: And then I’d be right behind you. The question is, when are you going to be able to take it? When am I going to be able to take it? Will I be able to take it before you because I’m at such an advanced age?
Brewer: Yeah, I think it’s you know, I think there’s a level of prioritization that can happen. But beyond that, you know at some point they’re going to have to rely on the private sector and the need or want the market forces of healthcare to take over like anything else. I mean, I you know, I think from a government standpoint in this state or any other state, you can you know do a cram down and get it into you know managed care facilities and nursing homes.
Leahy: They’re doing that now. I think it’s going to first responders first.. Then medical professionals.
Brewer: It’s going to frontline medical personnel first.
Leahy: Which makes sense. That’s very logical. But the question is and now and this clip was from the head of the CVS Pharmacy, right? So that’s one distribution channel.
Leahy: And there are others. Basically anywhere where you get pharmaceuticals or you can you know, any medical office apparently will have those.
Brewer: Now one of those one vaccines you can distribute that way. There’s another one that you may not be able to.
Leahy: Like the Pfizer that’s got to be like 95 degrees below zero.
Brewer: Yeah, and I don’t see commercial pharmacies, maybe I’m wrong, but I just I’m not aware of commercial pharmacies having that capacity.
Leahy: When I got my flu shot, I only do it because my wife says get your flu shot. Get your flu shot. And until I get my flu shot I’m going to hear that. So yeah, I got a flu shot about a month ago at CVS. And they said well, you know, we are preparing to deliver the Pfizer vaccine.
Brewer: That’s great.
Leahy: That’s what they said. The guy said that to me then I didn’t understand.
Brewer: So they’ll have the storage equipment.
Leahy: And apparently that’s one of the issues that they’re working on.
Brewer: Maybe these pharmacies have that and I just I don’t know. This seems like a specialized piece of equipment.
Leahy: But the most important thing for me at the moment is this when can I get it? And so I have no idea when it will be available to me. Do you have any idea when it will be available to you?
Brewer: I don’t think so. I mean, I think that’s the big question right now is that states are getting allotments. I assume based on the population to some extent. And you know, it’s going to be frontline medical personnel already. I have relatives who are frontline medical personnel who have already gotten it.
Leahy: They’ve gotten it! Well good for them.
Brewer: And nurses.
Leahy: And that’s where it should go first. There is no question about that in my mind.
Brewer: Yeah. So I mean there’s that and I think nursing homes. I have friends who have family in managed care facilities and nursing homes who were scheduling shots back, you know to three weeks ago. So presumably that’s already happening. But you know, you get beyond that, and then maybe you know firemen, policemen, and first responders that have to deal with the public to who are out. Paramedics who are making physical contact with people. I think you know, I think that’s a good thing.
Leahy: If you have physical contact with somebody who possibly has a medical issue you’re obviously going to consider that person might have COVID so you’re exposing yourself.
Brewer: So I mean then you got to think of what groups of people. Are we going to continue to group people? Are we going to simply say then dispersement to the private sector and medical channels that normal drugs flow to people through? I don’t know.
Leahy: So it’s December 22. What’s the over-under as to the most likely time that you will be able to get the vaccine?
Brewer: I’m sure it’s going to be early spring.
Leahy: Yeah, I’m afraid that’s the case. March maybe. I am open to figuring out how to move more towards the front of the line. Because it’s sort of like if you look at it and if you have taken the vaccine and you feel comfortable with that level of safety, which I do, you still can’t quite do a lot of the things that you’d like to do. Like travel for instance.
Brewer: Well, I mean you can travel.
Leahy: But there’s more risk. I’m not interested in risk at this point in time.
Brewer: Right. Well, I think the economy will come back when the vaccine is promulgated broadly in the American population and you see the case count starting to taper off.
Leahy: So the case counts, that keep going up. All the reports are hospitalizations are you know nearer their peak. And deaths are near their peak. It’s what we’re hearing. And everybody is wearing a mask.
Brewer: Well not everybody is wearing a mask. I’ve been out in public and seen people not wearing masks.
Leahy: The non-maskers?
Brewer: I feel like it’s a game going into the Mt. Juliet Walmart to pick something up and I’m dodging people who don’t have masks.
Leahy: You know, it’s interesting. Apparently the governor believes that private-public gatherings of more than 10 are a higher probability of spreading the virus than going to Walmart. Because apparently, Walmart doesn’t apply to that. (Laughs) No comment.
Brewer: I can get away from it at Walmart. Let’s put it that way.
Listen to the third hour here:
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