Skip to Main Content

COVID-19 Vaccine: Ready for Prime Time

COVID-19 Vaccine: Ready for Prime Time

Dr. Jon Klein, vice dean for research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, who participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial, talks about the development of COVID-19 vaccines and the challenges in distributing them.
Season 16 Episode 12 Length 26:56 Premiere: 01/10/21

Educating the Public to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy

Here are key takeaways from an episode of Kentucky Health examining the COVID-19 vaccine trials and the planned distribution of vaccines in Kentucky. Host Dr. Wayne Tuckson welcomed Dr. Jon Klein, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine and vice dean for research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and the director of the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. This program is followed by information taped in early January 2021 outlining Gov. Andy Beshear’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

Participating in a COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Dr. Klein is a nephrologist, specializing in kidney disease, but he also has a PhD in microbiology and immunology. He began offering his expertise to help educate the public about the novel SARS-COV-2 coronavirus during spring the spring of 2020.

“I kind of chose to get involved,” he says. “One of the things that I’ve always thought was worthwhile and that I’ve enjoyed is explaining science and medicine to people in terms that they can understand and that they can digest easily. And so early on, I volunteered to start talking to people about (COVID-19) itself, and then as the vaccine development advanced, I began to explain vaccines to people.”

When the opportunity arose, Klein decided to enroll along with his wife in a COVID-19 vaccine trial run by a pediatric and adult research group in Bardstown. The Kleins participated in the Pfizer vaccine trial with the confidence that the vaccine would be approved based on their understanding of early studies done about its efficacy and safety. He did so to help ease concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines among the general public.

“I thought it was really important for scientists and physicians to take part in those trials,” he says. “I thought I could speak with a little more credibility about the side effects if I went down there and I enrolled, and if I was in the vaccine group and had the side effects I could talk to people really as a peer about what they can expect.”

While most vaccine development projects take over 10 years to proceed from launch to approval and distribution, Klein says that developers of the first COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were able to complete the timeframe within 10 months. He explains that this happened because much of the upfront research for COVID-19 vaccines has been ongoing since the early 2000s when the viral diseases SARS1 (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) were identified. Vaccines for COVID-19 work in similar ways to the SARS and MERS vaccines, Klein says.

Furthermore, as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed plan, vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer went ahead and developed their drugs before trials were completed at risk of future losses – and some companies were even guaranteed against losses. “That’s why there will be enough to vaccinate somewhere between 23 and 25 million people just in the first round,” he says.

Understanding How the Vaccine Works

Klein explains that the Pfizer vaccine he took contains parts of RNA (a molecule within cells that instructs the body to make proteins) encased in a lipid bubble. Once a person takes the vaccine, his or her cells will produce parts of the RNA that make up the spike proteins that everyone is familiar with from illustrations of the SARS-COV-2 virus.

“In some ways, the RNA from the virus is used in our own cells to make viral proteins – but just pieces of virus,” he says. “You’re not going to make the virus itself, and that’s really important for people to understand. There’s no way you will produce a whole virus.”

The Moderna virus works using a similar process, Klein says. Other vaccines in development, such as the one from AstraZeneca, modify a weakened adenovirus similar to the one that produces the common cold by adding genetic material for the SARS-COV-2 virus that produces the spike protein.

The overall goal for all of these vaccines is the same: to introduce genetic material from this new coronavirus into cells to generate an immune system response. That way, the body will be able to recognize and attack the actual virus if it appears in the future. In fact, Klein says that some of the COVID-19 vaccines being tested and approved are expected to provide a more robust immune response than getting the actual virus itself, which contradicts some government officials’ support of gaining herd immunity to COVID-19 through mass infections.

Mounting an Effective Outreach Campaign

As the other vaccines become available to the public, most public health officials expect a sizable number of people to resist receiving them – a phenomenon that Klein has studied called “vaccine hesitancy.” Klein acknowledges that people need to be informed about the latest findings on COVID-19 vaccines. He notes that while the clinical trials on the Pfizer vaccine found that they prevented recipients from becoming severely ill, the research is still inconclusive as to whether a person stops becoming infectious after getting the vaccine.

“It’s an important question,” he says. “Could I have the vaccine and then protective antibodies, but still be able to have a low level of infection and pass it on to my parents? That’s an important thing to have to ask – or to my grandparents? Or to my wife who is a diabetic?”

In addition to this, certain demographic groups may have a higher vaccine hesitancy based on their past experiences with the U.S. government and medical community. Minority groups, for instance, have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed by those in charge of vaccine distribution. Klein cites a poll he recently read where only 14 percent of Black males said they would be eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during its opening round. This unwillingness to participate is understandable, Klein concedes, in light of the United States’ history of unethical and immoral medical treatment of Black people, as exemplified by the Tuskegee experiment in the 20th century whereby Black men were infected with syphilis for a research study.

“Let’s face it – the pandemic isn’t shaping who we are so much as it is revealing who we are,” he says. “And what it’s revealing are health disparities that have existed for decades if not centuries in this country, and we’ve just got to face up to that, we’ve got to deal with it, that people who have not have had equal access to health care and nutrition, they have a right to be skeptical about what’s going to happen.”

To help overcome COVID-19 vaccine resistance, whether because of valid concerns or misinformation, Klein says that a comprehensive education and outreach plan needs to be put into action over the coming months.

“Because it’s that fear of the unknown that I think drives a lot of the hesitancy,” Klein says. “And then I think we also need people to step up and be examples to take the vaccine early – public leaders, ministers, nurses, people from across all communities that you encounter regularly.”

Sponsored by:

Kentucky Edition host Renee Shaw in a green dress with the logo superimposed over the image along with a CHECK SCHEDULE button.Kentucky Edition host Renee Shaw in a green dress with the set behind her and the logo superimposed over the image along with a CHECK SCHEDULE button.

TV Schedules

Jump to Recent Airdates

Upcoming

Non-Operative Treatment of Back Pain

Lindsay Graves, D.O., a spine specialist at the Comprehensive Spine Center at UofL Health, talks about working with patients to solve their back pain with the least invasive methods.

  • Friday August 19, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 19, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 21, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 20, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 21, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 21, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

The Red Cross: Feeding, Caring and Sheltering Us Following Natural and Man-Made Disasters

Stephen Cunanan, CEO for the American Red Cross Kentucky Region, talks about the many ways in which the Red Cross responds after disasters and other misfortunes, including the recent tornadoes in western Kentucky.

  • Sunday August 21, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 21, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 22, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday August 22, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday August 26, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 26, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 27, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Blood Transfusions: Blood Management and Blood Health

Carolyn D. Burns, MD, president of the Society for the Advancement of Patient Blood Management, shares the latest information about when and how blood transfusions should be given.

  • Sunday August 28, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 28, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 29, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday August 29, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday September 2, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 2, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 3, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Ankle Replacement: It's Not Just for Hips, Knees and Shoulders

Todd Hockenbury, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at UofL Health, talks about diagnosing and treating unremitting ankle pain and when surgery or ankle replacement is warranted.

  • Sunday September 4, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 4, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 5, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday September 5, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday September 9, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 9, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 10, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Migraines and Headaches: They Are Serious and Can Be Incapacitating

Mandy Whitt, MD, a headache medicine specialist at the Norton Neuroscience Institute, discusses how she diagnoses and treats headaches.

  • Sunday September 11, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 11, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 12, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday September 12, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday September 16, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 16, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 17, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Medications: A Modern Miracle, But Are They Safe and Available

Premiered On: 10/03/2021

Dr. Tuckson speaks with Angela Sandlin, PharmD, pharmacy director at Baptist Health LaGrange, about medication safety, availability and effectiveness.

  • Sunday September 18, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 18, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
Jump to Upcoming Airdates

Recent

Non-Operative Treatment of Back Pain - S17 E21

  • Sunday August 14, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 14, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY

Chronic Disease Management of the Elderly - S17 E20

  • Sunday August 14, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 14, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 14, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 13, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 12, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 12, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 8, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday August 8, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET

Urinary Tract Reconstruction and Incontinence - S17 E19

  • Sunday August 7, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 7, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 6, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 5, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 5, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 1, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday August 1, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET

Battling Food Insecurity in Kentucky - S17 E18

  • Sunday July 31, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 31, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 30, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 29, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 29, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 25, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday July 25, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET

Obesity, Diabetes, Lung Diseases and Other Healthcare Problems in Kentucky - S17 E17

  • Sunday July 24, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 24, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 23, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 22, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 22, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 18, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday July 18, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 17, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 17, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 17, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday July 17, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
Top

Season 16 Episodes

Emergency Departments in Rural Kentucky

S16 E27 Length 27:19 Premiere Date 05/02/21

Public Health: Where Do We Go From Here?

S16 E26 Length 27:50 Premiere Date 04/25/21

Telemedicine: Better Than Dr. Google

S16 E25 Length 27:13 Premiere Date 04/17/21

Hospice and Palliative Care: The Bridge Over Troubled Waters

S16 E23 Length 26:56 Premiere Date 04/11/21

The Impact of Racism on Health Outcomes

S16 E22 Length 27:43 Premiere Date 04/04/21

A Tribute to Health Care Providers

S16 E21 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 03/28/21

Sepsis: The Serious Side of Infections

S16 E20 Length 28:04 Premiere Date 03/21/21

The Future of Long-Term Care in Kentucky

S16 E19 Length 27:14 Premiere Date 03/14/21

Addiction and Recovery in the Time of COVID-19

S16 E18 Length 27:43 Premiere Date 02/21/21

Infections of the Brain and Nervous System

S16 E17 Length 27:00 Premiere Date 02/14/21

Rural Healthcare: Who Pays and Who Benefits

S16 E16 Length 27:39 Premiere Date 02/07/21

Pancreatic Cancer: Uncommon But Deadly

S16 E15 Length 26:53 Premiere Date 01/31/21

Crohn's Disease: When Surgery is Required

S16 E14 Length 26:23 Premiere Date 01/24/21

Visualizing a Smoke-Free Kentucky

S16 E13 Length 27:33 Premiere Date 01/17/21

COVID-19 Vaccine: Ready for Prime Time

S16 E12 Length 26:56 Premiere Date 01/10/21

Contact Tracing: Knowing Keeps Us All Safe

S16 E11 Length 27:37 Premiere Date 01/03/21

Reducing the Burden of Diabetes in Kentucky

S16 E10 Length 27:02 Premiere Date 12/20/20

The Impact of Race-Based Trauma

S16 E9 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 12/13/20

Planning a Healthy and Nutritional Diet

S16 E8 Length 27:02 Premiere Date 11/22/20

The Immune System: Not Just Fighting Infections

S16 E7 Length 26:52 Premiere Date 11/15/20

New Approaches to Shoulder Replacement

S16 E6 Length 27:02 Premiere Date 11/08/20

Oral Healthcare: Our Teeth Should Last a Lifetime

S16 E5 Length 27:00 Premiere Date 11/01/20

Gun Violence: It is a Public Health Issue

S16 E4 Length 26:52 Premiere Date 10/25/20

Strengthening the Immune System Through Diet

S16 E3 Length 26:51 Premiere Date 10/18/20

Interventional Cardiology

S16 E2 Length 26:40 Premiere Date 10/11/20

The Importance of Preventive Cardiology

S16 E1 Length 26:18 Premiere Date 10/04/20

Explore KET