Dr. Manoj Jain answers questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dr. Manoj Jain with the Memphis/Shelby County Covid-19 Joint Task Force answered some questions about the COVID-19 vaccine during an online news conference on Thursday.

Just as COVID-19 vaccination efforts were beginning to ramp up in Shelby County, this week’s winter blast put them on ice as sites shutdown. The area is losing about a week of vaccination time because of the inclement weather.

“I think there may be a dip down because we haven’t been doing the vaccinations, but soon enough we should be able to catch up in getting all of the vaccines in arms and use the supply,” said Jain.

As for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, there are still questions as to what happens if it takes longer than three or four weeks to receive that second shot in the arm.       

“Also, what we do know is the CDC made recommendations that the minimum time frame we should be talking about. We could extend it to six weeks and that’s perfectly okay,” Jain said.

He says one shot of the vaccine can be very effective.

“I believe from some of the evidence we’ve seen that the one shot will protect folks from serious illness,” Jain said.

Still, there’s still concern about the new UK and Brazilian variants being here.

“Those are the two strains we’ve seen here. The health department has been doing aggressive contact tracing of those individuals as well as the contacts from them,” Jain said.

As the battle against COVID continues, Jain says the winter blast has resulted in a brief silver lining.

“I think that the snow and the ice has caused us to be more socially distanced,” Jain said. “Less people are obviously going to work, and less people are engaging in gatherings.”

Jain says the snow and ice could likely help us reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County.

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