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January 13, 2021
Virtual VLC



*This meeting of the VLC=Vaccine Lunch Club** will be rescheduled for later in the year. Dr. Hanekom has just been tapped to head up the South Africa's research into the new, highly transmissable SARS-CoV-2 variant.

**The VLC is was scheduled to begin at 12:20pm, in order to accomodate the 7-hour time zone difference between Atlanta and our South Africa-based presenter



February 3, 2021
Virtual VDC

Focus: History, Policy, Reactions, Logistics
Attendance: 1,385

Its Finally Here:
Now What Do We Do?

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Rollout Challenges
and Their Historical Context


Saad B. Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD

Yale Institute for Global Health

Associate Dean (Global Health Research)
Yale School of Medicine

Walter A. Orenstein, MD

Associate Director
Emory Vaccine Center

Emory Vaccine Policy and Development

Director (retired), United States Immunization Program
Asst. Surgeon General (retired)
US Public Health Service

Lynn Paxton, MD, MPH

District Health Director
Fulton County Board of Health

Captain (ret), US Public Health Service
CDC Center for Global Health

Clubhouse Location:
A Zoom screen near you
Agenda: (all times Eastern time zone)
5:20pm — Grab a beer or a glass of wine from the fridge and get online

5:30pm — Meeting called to order in the usual way (ear muffs optional)

5:40pm — This is the part where some really excellent science is presented

6:30pm — Q & A

7:00pm — Adjourn, already dreaming of next month's program

Dear Vacciners,
We are interrupting our planned February VDC program (Malaria) to bring you this Timely Topic …

It was 4 months between the first identified case of COVID-19 in the US (01/20/20) and the date that the first 100,000 people had died from it (05/23/20).

This month we recorded our nation's 400,000th death … only 36 DAYS after crossing the 300,000 lives lost threshold.

Operation Warp Speed to the rescue?... Well … maybe.

Please join us on February 3rd when we talk about the challenges that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine rollout is facing and its historical context.


Immunization expert and vaccine historian Dr. Walter Orenstein will set the stage by talking about the historical rollout of another vaccine – Polio -- that was desperately longed for by a frantic public, required a massive logistical effort to accomplish, and suffered through its share of controversies large and small.

and then…

State of Georgia C19 vaccine rollout lead Dr. Lynn Paxton will describe the process, obstacles, and progress to date of Georgia's current SARS-CoV-2 vaccine rollout and her thoughts on our best way forward in the context of the Biden Administration's C19 plan (CliffsNotes version of the Biden plan: "Vaccines don't save people, vaccinations do").

and then…

Internationally known vaccine hesitancy issues expert Dr. Saad Omer will address the roles that organized (anti-vax) and individual (vaccine hesitancy) concerns are playing in the public's response to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine rollout.

This is going to be a legendary evening.

Be there or be sidelined by history…

Hope to see you at the Club on Feb 3rd,



March 3, 2021


No Meeting



April 7, 2021
Virtual VDC

Focus: Public Health Practice
Attendance: 389

Premonitions and Premunition:
Envisioning Malaria Eradication in the Modern Era


Tuan M. Tran, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases
Indiana University School of Medicine

Clubhouse Location:
A Zoom screen near you
Agenda: (All times are ET)
5:20pm - Hall opens
5:30pm - Cowbell rings, meeting brought to order
6:30pm - Q&A
6:45pm - Adjourn

Dear Vacciners, Here's some April Fools Day humor to get you started!

    Liz makes my heart pound!
    And makes me sweaty and weak in the knees!
    I think its love!!

    Or malaria.

We had a malaria party …
but it turned out not to be very much fun.

Q: What book has Amos Quito has vowed never to write?
A: "How to Prevent Malaria"

Kimbi Hagen:
Q: What do you get when your band bombs at a mosquito rager?
A: Malaria.

Catching a theme here?
But here's the prob… as much as humans can find humor in just about anything, malaria is One Bad Bug.

As UNICEF says:
"Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children under five years of age, with 90 per cent of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 300-600 million people suffer from malaria each year. More than 40 percent of the world's population lives in malaria-risk areas."

So, if scientists were able to come up with a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in less than a year (give or take multiple decades of earlier coronavirus research …) why haven't we made similar Warp Speed progress on a biomedical prevention for malaria? What's up with that?

And how well do the other malaria prevention/abatement measures work? (I mean, it must be more complicated than simply distributing bed nets if more than half a billion people still suffer from malaria every year, right?).

Come to the April meeting of the Vaccine Dinner Club and find out!

Register now!

Hope to see you at the Club on April 7th,
- Kimbi Hagen, EdD
VDC Director/Goddess

P.S. Want to read some jokes submitted by VDC members? Check this page out.



Monday, May 10, 2021

Focus: Public Health Policy, Ethics, and Challenges
Attendance: 1,129

12th Annual Meeting of the "Mahy Seminar".
The Mahy Seminar is an annual lecture featuring the globe's top virologists. It honors the outstanding career of Dr. Brain Mahy and acknowledges his unparallelled role in expanding the field of virology at the CDC and beyond.

Five Lessons Learned:
The Science and Tribulations of Adenovirus-vector Vaccines for COVID

1. There Is No Magic Bullet

The advantages and disadvantages of mRNA vaccines (e.g. Pfizer; Moderna) compared to adenovirus-vector vaccines (e.g. Johnson & Johnson; AstraZenica)

Paul A. Offit, MD

Director, Vaccine Education Center, CHOP
Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology,
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

2. The System Worked Exactly As It Should

How the CDC rapidly red flagged and acted on a
potentially lethal, 1 in a million side effect

3. ACIP Says Yes But...

Processes and outcomes of the Friday, April 23, 2021 Emergency Meeting of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP).

Sara E. Oliver, MD, MSPH

Medical Officer, CDC
CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
Lead, ACIP COVID-19 Vaccine Work Group

4. Blood Clots Will Continue To Be A Rare Risk

What we currently know abut coagulation causes, risk-screening, and treatment for thrombosis events associated with J&J and AstraZenica vaccines

Nigel Key, MD

Vice Chief for Research, Division of Hematology, UNC Chapel Hill
Director, UNC Blood Research Center
Expert, Arterial and Venous Thromboembolic Disorders

5. There Is No "One Right Path" Forward

The ethical issues facing governments and organizations tasked with making risk / benefit decisions about using adenovirus-vector vaccines.

Arthur L. Caplan, PhD

Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics, Department of Population Health
NYU Grossman School of Medicine


Pre-submitted and real-time questions for the panelists

Carlos del Rio MD

Executive Associate Dean,
Emory School of Medicine & Grady Health System
Ex Officio Member, Committee on Human Rights,
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Medicine

Clubhouse Location:
A Zoom screen near you
Agenda: (All times are ET)
5:25pm - Hall opens
5:30pm - Cowbell rings, meeting brought to order
7:00pm - Q&A
7:30pm - Adjourn

Dear Vacciners,
Lesson learned … Never say never.

I know that I've said -- a couple of times at least -- that we were done, Done, DONE with COVID-related VDC meetings for the year but incredibly interesting, super timely opportunities to take advantage of world famous scientists' deep knowledge (and even deeper desire to earn their very own Vaccine Dinner Club speaker's mug) just keep popping up.

And it happened again this month.

Specifically, on April 13, 2021 the CDC and the FDA recommended pausing the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after multiple cases of potentially lethal blood clots were identified through the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. (Go VAERS!)

So naturally VDC central sprang into action.

One hundred seventy nine emails later (true story, I've been keeping count) we have identified the perspectives we want to address and assembled an absolutely world class line up of presenters. As you can see from the agenda, these include Paul Offit (eternal winner of the Best Vaccine Explainer Ever award), Sara Oliver (presenter and participant in last Friday's emergency ACIP meeting that voted to restart the J&J rollout), Nigel Key (international expert in the ultra-rare type of blood clots that adenovirus-vector vaccines seem to be causing), and Art Caplan (intrepid explorer of the bioethical minefield we call the vaccine rollout).

Put them all together and what do you have? A spectacular finish to the 2020-2021 season of the Virtual Vaccine Dinner Club, that's what!

So register now and spread the word.

Be there or risk being left in the dark*
-Kimbi Hagen
VDC Director/Goddess

*This is a reference to our lame science joke of the month, found at the very bottom of the VDC registration confirmation page. (See below for a reminder).

Q: How many research scientists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Six...
One to write the grant proposal,
One to do the mathematical modelling,
One to write the research paper,
One to choreograph and post the 'Light Science' Tik Tok video,
and one to hire a post-doc who will change the lightbulb.



June - August, 2021

Summer Vacation
The VDC Membership

Focus: Decoding the Politics of Masking
Attendance: 4,326
Clubhouse du jour: Sea to Shining Sea (no international travel yet!)

Vacciners and their families will spend their second summer in a row wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing as we watch in horror at the explosive emergence of the Delta variant.




September 1, 2021
Virtual VDC





October 6, 2021
Virtual VDC





November 3, 2021
Virtual VDC





December 1, 2021
Virtual VDC