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Weekly Program
Rotaract Picnic this Saturday!
Meeting Notes for March 11, 2021
By:  Hermann Welm
(There were 34 participants signed on for the meeting.)
President Chris “Top Gun” Gallagher opened the meeting and reminded us that this year’s Rotary International President is Holger Knaack from the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, and our theme is “Rotary Opens Opportunities.”  
Our Greeter, PP Gary Sloan, recited the Pledge of Allegiance and gave us his thoughts of the day:  “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”  (Winston Churchill)  And, by the very prolific Unknown, “Dream your dreams with your eyes closed, but live your dreams with your eyes open.”  Gary noted that he is the former CEO of San Ramon Regional Medical Center as well as Chris Gallagher’s only friend!
Visiting RotariansJoan Grimes, President of the Alamo Rotary Club and Dana Wellington, also from Alamo.
Guests:  Chellie Kammermeyer, a friend of Vera Packard (who wudda thought she had any friends!), Barbara Jewell and  Edna Bingham.
Top Gun’s “News You Did Not Hear:”
Vera Packard introduced Dr. Margaret A. Liu, a world-renowned expert in the fields of vaccines, immunotherapy, gene therapy, and global health. She obtained an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and completed her clinical and research training at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and MIT.  She has received numerous awards internationally and two honorary doctorates including an MD honoris causa, given by the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, where she had been previously invited to lecture by the Nobel committee. She is known as “The Mother of DNA Vaccines” and is the scientific lead for the WHO drafting group writing guidelines for mRNA vaccines.
Dr. Liu is CEO of PAX Therapeutics, which is developing gene-based therapy of tendon and ligament repair. She was the Senior Advisor in Vaccinology at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Executive Vice-Chair of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), an independent international organization established by the UN with signatory countries, in Seoul, Korea, and a member of the NIAID Advisory Council.
Dr. Lui started by saying that COVID deaths in the United States have reached a level where they exceed the cumulative death toll for Americans in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, well over 500,000. 
There is, however, some good news to share.  (1) The vaccines in use to date work far better than anyone predicted.  (2) There are now three vaccines authorized for use in the U.S.  (3) More vaccines are being developed.  (4) Masking has been shown to work; double masking would be even better.
The bad news is that people are relaxing too soon and that mutant strains are developing which may be more contagious and at least one of which seems to be more deadly.  Current vaccines may not be as effective against mutants so the development of boosters is important.
As of March, 2021, the World Health Organization has summarized the vaccine development efforts as follows:

And exactly why do we need more vaccines?  There are 7.8 Billion people in the world; many will need/want the vaccinations.  And different vaccines will induce different immunities which can work better against mutant strains.  Also important is that more stable, easier to handle vaccines are needed in poorer countries and rural areas where the infrastructure can’t support their shipment and storage at sub-zero temperatures.

A summary of some of the vaccines now in use, world-wide, shows that while the efficacy of each varies dramatically, all of them essentially eliminate hospitalization and death!

Dr. Lui then showed a slide which explains why COVID is a more problematic virus than influenza.  Simply put, it impacts more receptors in the human body.

The question as to whether an individual who has already had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated was answered with a “Yes!”  It is not known how long the natural antibodies that person now has in their system will last or if those antibodies will be effective against mutant strains.  So the safe alternative is to get vaccinated.

Lastly, a case study in South Africa shows what will happen when natural immunity, immunity because of prior infection and vaccines combine to make the population less vulnerable.

A question was asked of Dr. Lui about the wisdom of pregnant women getting vaccinated.  Her response was that they should since the outcome for babies if COVID is contracted is likely significantly worse!  Another question was what to do if one of the two doses administered was accidently too small.  Her recommendation was to get a third shot in spite of the fact that a “short” dose may not be a big problem.
Raffle:  Julie McKinney once again organized this.  The pot of over $300 was NOT won by Steve Wilcox so it will scale up by $10 next week.  Only 9 marbles are left in the bag!
Next Week’s Program:   Another ZOOM meeting. Our Greeter will be Marv Remmich.
Greeter Checklist
When you are called to be a Greeter for a Zoom meeting, take a sec to review the checklist Priya put together. Thank you, Priya!
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