Medical Minute: An update on COVID vaccine

Germany’s current restrictions seem to have stabilized case counts across our region. Kaiserslautern is stable in the range of 115-134 cases per 100 thousand. While elevated, the rate is no longer climbing. On Ramstein, the number of active cases is on a downward trend over the past week (and month). Thank you all for keeping up your prevention measures; this is the key to keeping us all healthy.

This week’s Defense Health Agency Cause of the Week is #HousingAndShelter. We take so much for granted, especially that most of us have shelter and a roof over our heads. Having shelter from the elements directly contributes to individual and population health. One way you can support in this regard is to donate to trusted, vetted charities through the Combined Federal Campaign at GiveCFC.org.

As you may be aware, several companies announced the development of effective COVID vaccines. On Dec. 8, United Kingdom citizens started receiving one company’s vaccine. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to consider the first vaccine on Dec. 10 and a second company’s vaccine on Dec. 17 for an Emergency Use Authorization. An EUA allows use of “unapproved medical products” to treat biological threats when there are no other “adequate, approved, and available alternatives.”

For more on EUAs:

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization


Planning for COVID vaccine availability is occurring at all levels in the Military Health System, but we have no information at this time on when it might be available locally. The 86th Medical Group has run exercises to plan for the ability to administer the vaccine when it becomes available, and we expect the vaccine will be voluntary until achieving full FDA approval. I will discuss more specifics in the weeks to come. Stay healthy!