For a special edition of Senior Living LIVE! we’ve partnered with Dr. Ryan Haumschild, Director of Pharmaceutical Services for Emory Healthcare, to explain everything you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines currently available and take your questions live. 

In preparation of this free webinar, Dr. Haumschild sat down with our Senior Living LIVE! host, Melissa Lee, to give a preview of the topics he will cover, including:

- The general science behind the vaccination process.

- The differences between the available vaccines.

- The effectiveness and side-effects for the different vaccines on the market. 

You can click the recording below to watch the preview now, but make sure to register for the full webinar to get all of the details and to ask Dr. Haumschild your questions live at



- Hello everyone and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. I hope you are having a fantastic day today. I have a very special guest that is joining me this afternoon, Dr. Ryan Haumschild, the Director of Pharmaceutical Services at Emory Healthcare. Doctor, how are you today?

- I'm doing great Melissa. Thanks so much for having me on I'm looking forward to our discussion.

- Oh, absolutely. And we are so fortunate that you were willing to take the time on January 27 to help educate our viewers in a webinar on the COVID-19 vaccines. In your webinar you will discuss the general science behind the vaccination process, the differences between the available vaccines. There are quite a few and more coming up on the horizon. Also projected effectiveness and side effects of each vaccine. So I know people are gonna have a lot of questions for you. Today let's get started first with your background.

- Yeah, absolutely. So Ryan Haumschild, I am Director of Pharmaceutical Services here at Emory Healthcare. My background is I got my doctorate of pharmacy and did two years of residency at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and then came here to Emory and really specialized in oversee medication procurement, our clinical practice and also a lot of the medications we use here, educating patients and providers on the benefits of them.

- Fantastic. Well, as I mentioned there were several different types of vaccine available also many that are coming up. I know Johnson is one many people are looking forward to, besides storage doctor, are there any differences between these vaccines?

- Yeah, it's a great question. As you mentioned Melissa, right now Moderna and Pfizer are the main vaccines that are being utilized across the country. And they're very similar, right? Pfizer though, has to be stored at negative 80 degrees Fahrenheit where Moderna could be stored at regular refrigeration after it's pulled out of the freezer. So there's a little bit of differences there but both of those work through the mRNA pathway of delivering kind of signaling that identifies the spike protein on the virus. But in the future, there's many different types of vaccines that have been coming out. Some of the most are gonna be actually encapsulating some of that mRNA or some of that material of the virus in a adeno virus. So it's kind of like a virus that doesn't really have any negative side effects but it will allow your body to process that live virus and give an immune response. And some of the benefits of that is you won't have to keep it refrigerated. And it'll be really good for underdeveloped countries where they don't have refrigeration. And also some are even looking at taking a step further of only having it be a one-shot vaccine as opposed to a two shot vaccine. Like we're seeing right now with Moderna and Pfizer. So a lot on the horizon, it's gonna be an exciting time and there's gonna be a lot of manufacturers in the space.

- Excellent answer. Now about that immune response, so right now with the two dose vaccines you're hearing a lot of stories from people who had very very mild symptoms after the first shot, maybe just their arm hurt, but that second shot tends to show more little, little more symptoms. They are minor that can be, take some Tylenol, get some sleep and you're okay. But what causes the difference in reaction?

- Myself I've been through both vaccinations. And so I can also attest to that. And I know for the first shot we're really given the primer, right? So it's getting the body exposed to the mRNA. It's allowing your immune system to recognize the spike protein and start to develop antibodies. But really once you give that second dose you're really causing that internal immune response where your body's now starting to attack the virus if it's there or starting to mount the immune response so it's ready to attack the virus if it ever comes up. And so that's why you start to see some of that reactivity. We call it as opposed to side effects, but it's naturally your body's kind of priming itself to be ready to ward off any of the virus if it comes and that your T killer cells are ready too for that immune reaction.

- Yeah, okay. That does make sense. You're very good at simplifying all of this. Our audience is going to be in for a treat. Now you may have been seeing or hearing via social media some of these vaccine theories or ideas that are floating around. Can you dispel some of the myths about these vaccines?

- Yeah, there's a lot out there. So let me top with some of the few that I feel like are some of the most important some people have said, you know, with project warp speed they just develop this vaccine too quickly and it can't be done right. Well, actually with warp speed they didn't skip any steps but they combined some steps. And so what they did is they started developing a vaccine even before the trial was done, really taking a risk saying if the data doesn't come out we developed a lot of vaccine that we're gonna have to throw away but if it comes out good, then we have that much more supply and we can be ready to go. So I think that's one key area. I don't want people to think that steps were skipped. They weren't but they combined them for efficiency. A couple others are it's mRNA it can change my DNA in the body. And I think that's another one that people get really kind of a little scared. And what I will say is mRNA is really just a signaling. It's not even part of the virus. And it actually becomes part of your your body kind of touches the mRNA gets the transmission of the message to recognize the spike protein and then instantly mRNA actually degrades. And it never even makes it into your Regulus of the DNA. And mRNA is really kind of an unstable vaccine. That's why we have it being frozen at negative 80 and in a regular freezing temperature for Moderna. So I think that's another thing to dispel. And I think the third is I can get the virus from the vaccine and that's actually not true at all. This is not a live vaccine they've only taken a portion of the virus within that messenger RNA to inject. So there's no way that you can actually get the vaccine. And then one of the last ones I wanna bring up is people will say, well, there's a really chance that really bad side effects can happen with the vaccine. Well, we know over time, long-term side effects aren't associated with vaccines except for maybe live vaccines like measles. Most of the side effects you get will occur right away. And when we look at anaphylaxis across the country we've given out probably about 11 million doses nationwide and we've only had very, very few maybe if per million people that have had an anaphylactic reaction and most of those people, all of them actually had anaphylaxis reactions in the past. So that to say we haven't had any significant vaccine related deaths but in that same time of last month we've had a hundred thousand people die due to COVID. So really something to keep in mind as you're trying to evaluate it.

- Now it is clear that there is a lot more demand than there is supply right now. We are all hoping that that changes very soon but who should think twice about getting vaccinated? Who maybe who are the types of people or what groups should really contact their doctor first?

- Yeah, I think always making a decision with your physician whether it's a specialist or primary care is always important. But I think for everybody right now it's important to get vaccinated as much as possible. Now there are some populations those that have had COVID within 90 days you can still get the vaccine. There's nothing against that. But what they're trying to do is actually to stratify the vaccine supply recommend that you maybe wait until 90 days post your symptoms from COVID. And part of that is there's data out there that shows that if you've had COVID within 90 days of your symptoms onset you're probably not gonna get reinfected. But I think it's important still to get the vaccine if it is available because it's not gonna hurt to get the vaccine and your immune system is not gonna treat it any differently. I think another thing the CDC recommended is that people have had other vaccines to wait two weeks before getting the COVID vaccine. I think that was an overly cautious statement mainly because they don't want people getting the symptoms or some of the reactivity confused between let's say the pneumococcal vaccine and the COVID vaccine, but something just to bring up. And then lastly, even if people do have suppressed immune systems it's great to make that shared decision-making but actually it's still really beneficial even more beneficial for those patient populations. They may not have as much of a shunted response. In other words, some of those reactivities we discussed 'cause they have maybe a reduced immune system but their body will still utilize the messenger RNA to be able to detect the spike protein. It can still create a lot of benefits for them. So those are kind of my biggest takeaways on who would be most appropriate for the vaccine as we start to get more and more vaccine across the country.

- Yeah, excellent information. And really just the tip of the iceberg. We are so grateful that you are allowing us and our viewers to tap into your knowledge not only today but for your webinar. Again, January 27th at 6:00 PM Eastern time. Doctor, we look forward to talking to you then. Thank you so much for your time today.

- Thank you, Melissa. I think it's gonna be a really exciting topic and I look to see a lot of your viewers there.

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