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Cause for cautious optimism?


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24 minutes ago, Jim9310 said:
1/20/21
 
Nearly 1.4 million Connecticut residents qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine during Phase 1B, however at this point we only expect to receive about 45,000 doses per week from the feds. That is why we need to prioritize it for those who are most at risk.
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My comment---
 
If 1.4 million CT residents will need 2 doses, that's 2.8. million doses.
If CT receives only 45,000 doses per week, Phase 1B will take 62 weeks.
 
Other vaccines are badly needed (e.g. Astra Zeneca & J&J). and/or Pfeizer & Moderna production should greatly be increased.

 

Pfizer and Moderna have identified a main limiting factor in production of the mRNA vaccines at this point is a reagent that they compete with testing companies to procure.  They've been begging for the Defense Production Act to be enacted to help bolster the materials used in their vaccine production, because many of them are new and formerly boutique materials that simply were not produced in large scale prior to Covid, and whose manufacturers didn't have the resources to expand quickly on their own.  How that call has gone to this point, as well know, is history.  It sounds like plans are not being drafted to assist those companies in material production now, and not just worrying about the contracts on the final products as the government did to this point.

 

Vince

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1 hour ago, BWIVince said:

 

Pfizer and Moderna have identified a main limiting factor in production of the mRNA vaccines at this point is a reagent that they compete with testing companies to procure.  They've been begging for the Defense Production Act to be enacted to help bolster the materials used in their vaccine production, because many of them are new and formerly boutique materials that simply were not produced in large scale prior to Covid, and whose manufacturers didn't have the resources to expand quickly on their own.  How that call has gone to this point, as well know, is history.  It sounds like plans are not being drafted to assist those companies in material production now, and not just worrying about the contracts on the final products as the government did to this point.

 

Vince

I read about this also.  If I am reading this correctly, there is a shortage of RNA isolation kits made by (and made ONLY by) a company named Qiagen.  It is a very commonly used reagent in any laboratory that needs to isolate RNA.  I believe the primary problem is that the whole world is dependent on just one company to produce this, not just for coronavirus vaccine production, coronavirus testing, and all other applications that require this step.  It's not that much of an esoteric product.  It's just that Qiagen has an exclusive right (I think) to sell it.

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14 minutes ago, Psoque said:

I read about this also.  If I am reading this correctly, there is a shortage of RNA isolation kits made by (and made ONLY by) a company named Qiagen.  It is a very commonly used reagent in any laboratory that needs to isolate RNA.  I believe the primary problem is that the whole world is dependent on just one company to produce this, not just for coronavirus vaccine production, coronavirus testing, and all other applications that require this step.  It's not that much of an esoteric product.  It's just that Qiagen has an exclusive right (I think) to sell it.

 

That was my takeaway as well...  I THINK that was the most constrained component, though I've heard there are other "materials" involved in the mRNA vaccines that are also running short -- I don't think I heard specifics on those though.  I didn't hear if Qiagen has an exclusive patent on it, but did hear that the exponential explosion in demand isn't something they are equipped to keep up with without assistance (without specifics of whether Qiagen was the only "they").

 

Vince

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13 hours ago, skybluewaters said:

 

Actually, 100 million people vaccinated in the next 100 days is far from "aggressive." 

This past week in the United States, we averaged 806,000 vaccinations daily, and virtually all experts agree that so far our rate of vaccination is a dismal failure. 

So increasing from 800K daily to 1M daily is just a modest increase and hardly takes us out of the "dismal failure" category, in my opinion. 

I don't understand why this hasn't been recognized more broadly... perhaps because 100M is a large, flashy number and distracts from the reality.

Just wanted to add to my earlier post that hitting 800,000 for a week doesn't tell the entire story.  We started with a major supply as the vendors had a lot ready to ship to us anticipating our acceptance and we then had it stored.  So we had this big stockpile.  According to the former administration the other day there was nothing they had held back so everything we had was deployed.  So the challenge is getting a large pipeline of this and keeping it going and that is not there right now.  So until it is there and we get say the third vendor Roy mentioned (J&J) we are going to be challenged so for the next 100 days 1 million vaccinations a day is a big deal and from there we will have to improve.

 

Keith

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12 hours ago, TRIPACIAN said:

Saga cruise lines just announced that all passengers will have to be vaccinated in order to sail!

https://www.cruisehive.com/cruise-line-requires-all-guests-to-be-vaccinated/46159

 

I think many sensible folk will see SAGA's decision as a positive development. Certainly my immediate reaction was that this approach could make a difference to my cruising decisions. After all, why would I want to cruise on a ship where I have no idea how many people are not vaccinated if I can choose a line that mandates it? Obviously it is easier - at this moment - for a line that is for 50+ year olds to take such a decision. The interesting bit will be how they handle the crew. Unless they are all vaccinated too then the stance is pointless. But how will they acquire vaccine supplies in 2021?  

Adrian

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I don’t know if crew vaccinations are as complex as they sound, considering how slow the buildup will be on bringing back crew and how much later in the year the US-based lines will be restarting service.  My company’s corporate vaccination service in my region is one of the organizations already vaccinating people currently prioritized, and some companies like airlines are already beginning their employee vaccination services in the next month or so based on local clearance.  As more of these vaccines come online (especially from other countries), I could see cruise lines contracting local vaccination centers in countries where they have larger concentrations of crew, possibly paired with onboard vaccination programs to get the crews onboard immunized in time for a startup.  That doesn’t cover everyone that historically has worked onboard, but I could see that being the foundation for getting enough crew to start until the vaccine is locally available to more random crew members in other countries less represented onboard.

 

Vince

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1 hour ago, Noggins said:

I think many sensible folk will see SAGA's decision as a positive development. Certainly my immediate reaction was that this approach could make a difference to my cruising decisions. After all, why would I want to cruise on a ship where I have no idea how many people are not vaccinated if I can choose a line that mandates it? Obviously it is easier - at this moment - for a line that is for 50+ year olds to take such a decision. The interesting bit will be how they handle the crew. Unless they are all vaccinated too then the stance is pointless. But how will they acquire vaccine supplies in 2021?  

Adrian

Although not sure that I count as being ''sensible'' I share Adrian's thoughts entirely. Interestingly, Saga's passengers are, I believe, almost entirely from the UK and all cruises start and finish at either Southampton or Dover. Our  programme aims to vaccinate all of our over 50s with at least one dose by around April, so this may certainly be viable. I also await, with baited breath, the results of the studies as to whether and to what extent vaccines also prevent transmission to others. Not sure as to itineraries, as Saga uses European ports extensively and the EU is sadly way behind in their vaccinations. 

Adrian, from what I have heard about Saga's possible demographic, if we sailed, our good ladies may need their birth certificates to prove their eligibility to travel !!

Colin

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1 hour ago, BWIVince said:

I don’t know if crew vaccinations are as complex as they sound, considering how slow the buildup will be on bringing back crew and how much later in the year the US-based lines will be restarting service.  My company’s corporate vaccination service in my region is one of the organizations already vaccinating people currently prioritized, and some companies like airlines are already beginning their employee vaccination services in the next month or so based on local clearance.  As more of these vaccines come online (especially from other countries), I could see cruise lines contracting local vaccination centers in countries where they have larger concentrations of crew, possibly paired with onboard vaccination programs to get the crews onboard immunized in time for a startup.  That doesn’t cover everyone that historically has worked onboard, but I could see that being the foundation for getting enough crew to start until the vaccine is locally available to more random crew members in other countries less represented onboard.

 

Vince

Under the current situation of vaccines scarcity from Pfizer/Biontec and even from Moderna, it is not likely that crew will get those vaccines very soon. But they are still the other vaccines for everyone crew and guests coming up to the markets. For example the Chinese vaccine, which some say it has a 50% efficiency. 🧐

Edited by travelberlin
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Where I was coming from on crew vaccines (sorry, I should have been clearer) was availability of vaccine. Surely in 2021 it won't be possible to buy supplies. And young crew are hardly likely to be in any countries early priority groups - surely?

Even if commercial sources do pop up I would be concerned that it meant somebody with greater priority was going without. We'd need unlimited worldwide supplies and completed worldwide programmes first.

Or is Capitalism going to run roughshod.....

Crikey - this is getting a bit philosophical (for which I thank spell check!)...

Adrian

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I am sure going to give you my thoughts.  My thoughts only and no inside information.

 

I continue to be optimistic that we will get back to sailing but precisely what month is anyone's guess.  In my mind possibly July but more like August.  We'll see.

 

If it was my cruise line I would require everyone on board to have had vaccinations.  In terms of the crew they use companies on land for various things so I would suspect they can get companies to help with the vaccinations of crew in their home countries and then you go with the flow.  You might have to adjust who is on board based on their vaccinations.

 

In the USA we are going to get a bit more dark.  This is because people traveled over holidays and got very complacent and leaders were out to lunch.  The various models including DCD says another 100,000 deaths by mid-February. We have over 4,000 people dying each day.  Making this even tougher is the mutation of the virus making it easier to spread.  So people are going to have to get with the program or choose to get COVID-19.

 

We learned this morning that there was not a deployment plan in the USA for the new administration to work with for vaccine distribution.  So they are going to have to build one quickly and also get more vaccine and get more people and companies involved to put it in people's arms.  Some executive orders coming today.

 

Then you have all of the other countries with some doing a better job with others controlling spread and also in terms of vaccinations.

 

In some places in the USA we are sitting in states with vaccine not used because companies aren't going fast enough.  In other places we have lack of vaccine and I was reading today that some people's appointments are getting cancelled due to lack of vaccine.  Bottom line it varies not only by state but within the USA by county as well.

 

It is unfortunate that we never had a COVID-19 czar.  Basically one person in charge who can make decisions for a range of departments and move the bureaucracy (it's like turning a carrier quickly) and we didn't have one plan from soup to nuts.  I can tell you from my own experience in private companies if you have a major program involving dozens of departments you need one person running it.  Otherwise each department blames the other one and there is no comprehensive schedule as to who needs to get done what, by when and what qualities are required.  And you need someone to burn through the red tape.  Same applies in Government.

 

I do have hope but we are starting from a bad position which gets worse by the day as the virus is out of control and we need more vaccine sooner rather than later and we need to get it in people's arms.

 

And all of this and what happens around the world complicates getting cruising going and by when and where.

 

It's going to take time.

 

Keith

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16 hours ago, BWIVince said:

 

That was my takeaway as well...  I THINK that was the most constrained component, though I've heard there are other "materials" involved in the mRNA vaccines that are also running short -- I don't think I heard specifics on those though.  I didn't hear if Qiagen has an exclusive patent on it, but did hear that the exponential explosion in demand isn't something they are equipped to keep up with without assistance (without specifics of whether Qiagen was the only "they").

 

Vince

A huge number of people who need to isolate RNA for some reason or another have been using the Qiagen RNA isolation kit for decades.  Even I used it a few years ago when I was working in a lab.  I believe it is a product exclusive to Qiagen, and it is clear to me to they are the only company that makes this product. Based on my knowledge of what this product consists of, I can’t imagine how Qiagen has a monopoly other than through some sort of legal protection.  Qiagen, though it is not a small company, is not a huge company either, and I can’t imagine if they would really benefit from expanding their RNA isolation kit division, possibility temporarily.  I am not sure how long the patent or any other legal protection runs on this product,  but in my mind, one possible solution is for Qiagen to license multiple other companies to make the same product.

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1 hour ago, travelberlin said:

Under the current situation of vaccines scarcity from Pfizer/Biontec and even from Moderna, it is not likely that crew will get those vaccines very soon. But they are still the other vaccines for everyone crew and guests coming up to the markets. For example the Chinese vaccine, which some say it has a 50% efficiency. 🧐

 

43 minutes ago, Noggins said:

Where I was coming from on crew vaccines (sorry, I should have been clearer) was availability of vaccine. Surely in 2021 it won't be possible to buy supplies. And young crew are hardly likely to be in any countries early priority groups - surely?

Even if commercial sources do pop up I would be concerned that it meant somebody with greater priority was going without. We'd need unlimited worldwide supplies and completed worldwide programmes first.

Or is Capitalism going to run roughshod.....

Crikey - this is getting a bit philosophical (for which I thank spell check!)...

Adrian


Just to be clear I wasn’t asserting the crew members were going to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and I didn’t say it was going to happen tomorrow...  The global deployments are more likely to be more conventional vaccines, and just a reminder that the timeframe I’m referring to is fall-ish, which is coming into focus now as a sort of baseline average restart that the travel industry is focusing on for capacity to start growing again.  (Obviously cruise lines have restarted and will continue to restart in certain places before then, but before then the number of crew and staff the cruise industry employs will be manageably small and easier to vaccinate.)

 

As to priority, the travel industry is already making lots of plans for corporate vaccinations over the next few months.  My industry is looking at summer since we can’t feasibly restart until at least fall, but the airline industry is already in full swing.  American Airlines is using its hub clinics for their vendor Premise to administer the shots, and earlier this month O’Hare was still scheduled to start sometime in February.

 

Vince

 

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I am not sure if this link has been posted anywhere and if so, I apologize for posting it again.  This site is pretty good showing where the vaccine is being administered state by state, case and death totals and what countries have contracted for vaccines and yet more.  Just FYI.

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/

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Here in Australia we have been told to expect no international travel until 2022, i.e. our borders are going to remain closed until that time. Reading above about expectations of travel mid year is making me feel envious, if it actually happens. Whilst our daily case numbers are extremely low to non existent (Sydney has had 4 days in a row now with no community transmissions) we are not due to start vaccinating until the end of February. The vaccine we've invested the most in and will be predominantly using is the Astrazeneca which I believe is only 70% effective (unless that figure has recently changed) which is disappointing. However, we're extremely lucky that life here is pretty much "normal" with restaurants, cafes, bars and even theatres and cinemas all open albeit with social distancing and mask wearing mandatory in theatres/cinemas. In fact mask wearing was only mandated for all indoor public areas (apart from eateries) recently, when we had a small outbreak which they wanted to quickly clamp down, which they have, but the mask mandate is still in place along with a rule that prohibits one from not having more than 5 visitors to your home. Hardly onerous conditions to live under but the no travel until 2022 did make me a tad claustrophobic 🙂 

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1 hour ago, ClefsDor said:

Here in Australia we have been told to expect no international travel until 2022, i.e. our borders are going to remain closed until that time. Reading above about expectations of travel mid year is making me feel envious, if it actually happens. Whilst our daily case numbers are extremely low to non existent (Sydney has had 4 days in a row now with no community transmissions) we are not due to start vaccinating until the end of February. The vaccine we've invested the most in and will be predominantly using is the Astrazeneca which I believe is only 70% effective (unless that figure has recently changed) which is disappointing. However, we're extremely lucky that life here is pretty much "normal" with restaurants, cafes, bars and even theatres and cinemas all open albeit with social distancing and mask wearing mandatory in theatres/cinemas. In fact mask wearing was only mandated for all indoor public areas (apart from eateries) recently, when we had a small outbreak which they wanted to quickly clamp down, which they have, but the mask mandate is still in place along with a rule that prohibits one from not having more than 5 visitors to your home. Hardly onerous conditions to live under but the no travel until 2022 did make me a tad claustrophobic 🙂 

 

Don't be envious, Shirin!  I know others would disagree and that's perfectly understandable, but I personally would gladly trade freedom of international travel for the next year to be in the position of managing the pandemic that Australia is.  Living in a world of double-digit positivity rates, friends either passing from their battles with Covid or recovering with long-term or permanent side effects, and the exhausting amount of misinformation that people use to justify their own bad behavior in this country -- among MANY other challenges -- is physically and emotionally exhausting.

 

When local restrictions aren't in place due to outbreaks, you still have lots of wonderful domestic options for getaways, don't you?  I know that's not the same as globetrotting, but at least it would get you out of the neighborhood?  Prior to Covid, I was considering a trip to a couple of Australian resorts for 2022 (which is probably now off to the table because of Covid-related financial issues besides regulations), but watching their Instagram feeds has me pretty jealous of the travel options Australians have even without international travel -- with a much higher degree of relative safety than we have here.  🙂  I know the grass is always greener though, as we say...

 

Vince

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31 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

When local restrictions aren't in place due to outbreaks, you still have lots of wonderful domestic options for getaways, don't you? 


That’s the key - some of our States are over zealous (IMHO) in closing their borders when a hot spot occurs. New South Wales (which includes Sydney) is limited in regard to travel interstate at the moment with many States banning us from entering - but having said that we have a great State with plenty of spots to visit so that doesn’t really matter

 

Yes I’m with you - the freedom we have is fantastic and the relatively safety health wise (still only around 900 deaths in total in Australia over the course of the pandemic) - just this week I went to a musical, Rent, at the Opera House and a couple of restaurant dinners - even recreating a Crystal evening with a visit to Churrascaria and then a couple of numbers from Rent, unfortunately not performed by the Crystal Ensemble. Sadly there were no cruise ships at the Overseas Passenger terminal (none since March 2020)

 

Sorry some are upside down - I can’t work out how to change that on CC

 

B1AFF2BB-B734-46BB-A76A-80A8F3A44093.thumb.jpeg.bb44d71973fe47925dff85b4c4503a7e.jpeg


E32CB1C3-84C6-4FC8-A432-3A9CCC8443F7.thumb.jpeg.bd02b99b4d1a2a786a124e9cb9a99e6f.jpeg

 

D81834CF-3B97-4077-9808-E8CA750E4341.thumb.jpeg.688386582ed86d972cfb3d98b22ccd0d.jpeg

 

B8F16200-6F92-4000-B740-6CC49A933BDB.thumb.jpeg.59bdf2e907f13231fe5c6cb476ef7411.jpeg

 

FBB6B420-54C7-4D30-A853-9945B6C5CF8A.thumb.jpeg.1fad345a60cc32a16d7d50cf8e083cff.jpeg

Edited by Stickman1990
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There is a down under joke in there somewhere, Terry, but those are great pics!  😀  It's dinnertime here on the east coast of the US, so the Churrascaria pic especially set the perfect mood.

 

Vince

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Vince, you're right and I'm not complaining in the least. I know how lucky we have it here! Terry, your pictures look great and I love the combo of Churrascaria and Rent.

 

Now one issue with our international borders being closed for so long is the impact it will have on the Crystal itineraries that include Australia late this year and early next year.

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1 hour ago, ClefsDor said:

Now one issue with our international borders being closed for so long is the impact it will have on the Crystal itineraries that include Australia late this year and early next year.

 

Definitely - unfortunately they are/were part of my Plan B for cruising! - so now it's time for Plan C I guess

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Terry, Great photos and I do envy your access to Sydney even without Covid! 

 

And there you are, where the upside down version is exactly right from my perspective here in Minnesota USA.

 

If Australia is shut down until 2022 that doesn't bode well for my Symphony Dec 21, 2021 voyage from Auckland to Melbourne. It might be that Crystal will let us move that booking to the next one in Sydney for New Years in 2023.

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