Dr. Norem joins us every Monday morning at 7:05 to give us the latest on the coronavirus, COVID-19, and vaccines. 

The latest news in the world of coronavirus vaccines is the fact that Merck has announced that it will stop the development of a vaccine and instead focus on treatments for COVID-19.

Dr. Norem explains to us that this isn't unusual during vaccine development and that it was actually unexpected that the first two of the first companies to start development, Pfizer and Moderna, had such a successful project.

Virus mutations are still a big topic. As far as Dr. Norem has read, all current vaccines are still effective against any new strains. It's still too early to tell if these new strains are any more viral, or deadly, than the original coronavirus.

Vaccination rollout is still going slower than Dr. Norem, and most other health professionals would like. The office he works at currently has no doses, and are just waiting on their next shipment to distribute to the community.

The good news locally is that Region 1, Rockford's region, has been moved to Phase 4 of the coronavirus mitigation plan. This means that restaurants can now seat tables up to 10 people and more people are eligible for the vaccine. Those groups include:

  • Residents over 65
  • First Responders
  • Education Workers
  • Food and Agricultural Workers
  • Manufacturing
  • Corrections workers and inmates
  • US Postal Workers
  • Public Transit Workers
  • Grocery Store Workers
  • Shelters and Day Care Staff

If you fall into one of those groups, you should contact your employer, or use the state of Illinois' online COVID-19 resources to help you find a location to be vaccinated.


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