Which is the best vaccine against COVID?

Many people ask this question, and some uninformed individuals say they will delay vaccination until they can get their preferred one. Recently, the Mayor of Detroit refused to accept the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. He said he wanted Detroit to get “the best ones”–Moderna or Pfizer. (He has since changed his mind.)

Watch this superb video to learn why all the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the US are equally effective in protecting, you, your family and your community.

HOTWASH: a must-see interview

On February 21, CBS News Face the Nation featured an extended interview with Matthew Pottinger. Pottinger talked about the COVID-19 pandemic from his perspective as the Deputy National Security Advisor in the Trump Administration.

Of all the interviews I have watched, listened to and read during the past year about the pandemic, this is by far the most informative. Kudos to the host, Margaret Brennan, for a superb job drilling down on how the pandemic began, China’s role in turning a local outbreak into a global disaster, and what went wrong here in the US.

Matthew Pottinger spent seven years (1998-2005) in China as a journalist for Reuters and then the Wall Street Journal. From 2005-2010, he served as a Marine Corps intelligence officer with one combat tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. In 2017, he became the Asia Director on the National Security Council staff in the White House, and in September 2019 became the Deputy National Security Advisor. He resigned from this position on the evening of January 6, 2021 following the assault on the Capitol. 

Face the Nation, February 21, 2021 (my apologies for the 30-second commercial at the beginning)

Tracking SARS-CoV-2 Variants: Why It Is Important

We highly recommend this short, but important article by two immunologists from Johns Hopkins University on the importance of tracking the evolutionary changes to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. On a military battlefield, we call this “situational awareness”. In this war between the human race and COVID-19, situational awareness is equally important–actually, essential to our success in defeating this pandemic.

Read the article

A short story for the Biden Administration’s pandemic response leadership team

In February 2002 I was invited by one of my interns from Stanford University to a small dinner party of Stanford alum.  What I didn’t realize was that the National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice was also coming to dinner.  

There were many questions that night for Condi, but there was one question and answer I will never forget.

“What was your most emotional experience from 9/11?” 

“It actually happened several days after 9/11 at the National Cathedral.  As I walked into the cathedral for the memorial ceremony, I still remember the feelings in my heart: sadness for families who had lost loved ones, fear for what tomorrow might bring, and doubt about my ability to serve the President at this time of national crisis.  I don’t remember much about the ceremony that day, but I do remember the ending. We all stood and sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  As we sang, you could feel the entire mood change within the cathedral.  When I walked out, I left my sadness, fear, and doubt behind. I walked out with a mission…a mission to make America safe and secure.”

The Incredible Story About the mRNA Vaccines

Everyday, Americans are lining up to get the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. They will be a game changer in this good war against the COVID-19 pandemic. The story about mRNA vaccine development–that includes everything from Dolly Parton and mouse cells glowing green to leading-edge science and technology–reads like a sci-fi novel that also has an element from an old country western song about only taking 15 years to become an overnight success. Someday, Hollywood will make a movie about this story, but for now, this superb article by David Heath and Gus Garcia-Roberts is a must read.

I dedicate this post to my wife, Tonya, who spent last summer out in the Texas heat as a volunteer at a COVID test site, and then served as a volunteer in the Moderna Phase III trial.

The inside story of the fastest vaccine ever developed

The Heroes of the Pandemic Response

When we began this blog in April, 2020 our mission was to provide informative articles for the general public about the COVID-19 pandemic–information of use to you and your family without political or media spin. Additionally, our mission was to tell the stories of the frontline public health, medical and scientific heroes in this war–a war between the human race and the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

As we approach the end of 2020 we want to salute the hundreds of thousands of frontline healthcare providers who have continued serving America–often without adequate supplies of equipment, medicines, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Their courage, dedication and professionalism deserve the same level of recognition as does the many generations of our frontline military warriors.

Last spring, we created this meme in their honor:

We also salute the frontline healthcare professionals who have lost their lives in this war against the SARS-Cov-2 virus. According to an ongoing study by Kaiser Health News and the Guardian,, more than 3,000 frontline healthcare professionals have died in the line of duty. This number has now exceeded America’s losses on 9/11.

And finally, we want salute the scientists who received the DNA code for the SARS-Cov-2 virus on January 11 and just 56 days later were beginning the first human testing of a vaccine candidate. Within 9 months a vaccine, actually two, were authorized by the FDA for wide spread use–vaccines that provide 94%+ protection. This was the equivalent of America’s moonshot–but this was accomplished in nine months rather than nine years. These vaccines are safe and effective. They will change the course of history.

To better understand this extraordinary scientific achievement, listen to this audio clip from This American Life