From the Desk of CEO Pam Tahan

February 5, 2021

Wellington Regional CEO Pam Tahan

It is Super Bowl week in South Florida and unlike the big game this weekend; the United States still finds itself in the middle of a battle with a competitor it can neither see nor feel. COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S. and, to date, nearly 30 million Americans have contracted the virus. Think about that for a moment—to put its impact into Super Bowl perspective, that is the equivalent of playing in front of a sold-out crowd at the Tampa Bay Bucs’ stadium ... for 56 straight seasons. That is longer than the Buccaneers have existed as an NFL franchise.

Just a few short months ago, the miracles of science offered the first signs of hope by rapidly producing two vaccines with incredibly high success rates. However, the first two vaccines have drawbacks: they are difficult to store and transport, and require two shots to receive the full level of protection. Enter Johnson & Johnson, which recently requested an Emergency Use Authorization for their vaccine, which has shown to be up to 72% effective in U.S. clinical trials. More importantly, it does not require special freezers and the full benefit of the vaccine is achieved after a single dose.

If J&J receives authorization by the FDA, it could change the battle against COVID-19, especially in the more rural parts of the state that might not have access to the storage equipment required for the other approved vaccines. For the public, there would be no need to travel to a larger city with specialized equipment, since the J&J vaccine can be stored safely and easily in pharmacies, doctors’ offices or urgent care centers. The J&J effectiveness rate is not as high as the other two vaccines; however, studies show that it is still very effective in protecting people. And protection is important—just ask Tom Brady, who I am sure would agree that effective protection by his offensive line is better than no protection at all. Enjoy the game!

Pam Tahan, CEO
Wellington Regional Medical Center