Mandates ‘Turbocharging’ Vaccination Rates: US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Vaccine Requirements, Boosters and Vaccinating Kids

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome “the Nation’s Doctor,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Co-chair of President Biden’s White House COVID Task Force. Dr. Murthy explains the FDA’s latest approval for mixing vaccine brands for booster shots. He also addresses White House plans to roll out COVID vaccine support for the nation’s 5-11-year-olds pending FDA approval, and how vaccine requirements are ‘turbocharging’ vaccination rates. Dr. Murthy examines the growing crisis of unmet mental health needs, addiction, and overdose in this country, exacerbated by the pandemic. He also discusses an initiative he’s creating to address burnout in the health care profession.


“Safety Comes First”: FDA Vaccine Advisory Panel’s Dr. Ofer Levy on Rigorous Process Around Vaccine Approval For Kids

This week we speak with Dr. Ofer Levy, Director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and member of the FDA COVID Vaccine Advisory Panel. He talks about the recent decision to reject boosters for all recipients 16 and older, saying they didn’t have enough data for younger populations to make that recommendation. He says the review process for emergency authorization for young children aged 5-to-11 will be thorough, rigorous and transparent to the public. His team is also currently working on developing a COVID vaccine, as well as other vaccines that could be deployed for cancer and even opioid use disorder and fentanyl overdose.


Why COVID Crushed Us: Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb Details America’s Botched Pandemic Response

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb whose new book outlines America’s epic failure in our response to the pandemic, leading to more than 700,000 deaths. “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic” examines the inherent flaws at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public agencies that left us vulnerable to the raging pandemic. Dr. Gottlieb says the CDC and other agencies should be re-tooled to conduct more agile global disease surveillance, and that emerging therapeutics like Merck’s new oral COVID drug will be a game changer for treatment moving forward.


US COVID Response Has Failed By Not Scaling Up Home Testing: Harvard’s Michael Mina on Rapid Tests as Best Chance to Contain Outbreaks

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Michael Mina, Epidemiologist and member of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard where they are taking a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling the ongoing pandemic. Dr. Mina has long been a proponent of making cheap, rapid, at-home COVID tests available to all Americans as a much more effective way to curtail the pandemic’s spread. He says these tests which have been deployed successfully in other countries, are almost 100 per cent effective in identifying potential infectious ‘super-spreaders’, and that government should classify them as a public health, not a medical, tool to allow for more swift production and deployment. He also discusses their efforts to build a global surveillance system for future disease outbreaks.


"Culture Wars Are Killing People": NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins on Politics and Harm to Pandemic Science

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, who also mapped the human genome. Dr. Collins laments the politicization of the pandemic, noting that ‘culture wars are killing people’. He urges patience on vaccine approval for families of younger children heading back to school, confident that scientific rigor will ensure vaccine safety. Dr. Collins, an avowed person of faith, urges faith-based resisters to trust the science that produced this life saving vaccine. He also discusses one of the largest protocols ever launched by the NIH to uncover the mysteries around long COVID syndrome, which is impacting an increasing number of COVID survivors.


Masks, Mental Health and Missed Appointments: AAP President Lee Beers on Pandemic’s Impact on Childhood Health

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Lee Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics on their science-based recommendation that all kids aged 2 and older should be masked in school and daycare in the face of the Delta Variant. They discuss their efforts to communicate the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines to patients and their families, and the AAP’s efforts to increase access to mental health services within the pediatric care setting.


Health Misinformation on the Internet: Google/YouTube’s Garth Graham on Their Efforts to Stem the Tide

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Garth Graham, Director, and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health Partnerships at Google/YouTube overseeing the creation of credible health content – in partnership with multiple health institutions. They discuss their efforts to disrupt and remove health misinformation from their platform which receives 2 billion visitors per month. They talk about the partnership with the Biden Administration, the CDC, Harvard and England’s National Health Service to remove false information from the platform and drive visitors to credible health information about COVID-19 and all other health topics of interest.


“A New Era of Vaccinology”: Dr. Paul Offit on mRNA Technology’s role in Vaccine Development

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with renowned vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A member of the FDA COVID Vaccine Advisory Panel and co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, Dr. Offit points to the growing body of data around the safety and efficacy of the mRNA-based COVID vaccines, that it’s safe for all populations, including children and pregnant women, and sees it as a game changer for the future of vaccinology. He warns that the lack of global vaccination will impact vaccine effectiveness against growing threat of variants.

MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2021

White House COVID Advisor Andy Slavitt on “Preventable”: his Book Chronicling America’s Failed Coronavirus Response

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Andy Slavitt, former Senior Advisor to the Biden White House COVID Response Team, discussing his new book: “Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response”. He outlines the ‘sins’ that led to the previous administration’s failed response to the pandemic, and talks about President Biden’s approach to correct course, by taking full responsibility for outcomes and being frank with the American people. He also discusses the significance of the Supreme Court’s latest decision upholding the Affordable Care Act.

TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci: A Conversation on Where We Are and What’s Coming Next

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the Biden Administration's COVID-19 Team. They discuss the decades of science behind the 'remarkable' vaccines, the decision by the US and G7 members to scale up global vaccine donations, and the virulent variants that pose a greater risk to the unvaccinated. He also predicts the dramatic discovery around COVID-19 will pave the way for a vaccine for HIV/AIDS within the decade.

MONDAY, MAY 17, 2021

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Talks Boosters, Masks and Health Equity

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Walensky defends the science behind lifting mask restrictions for vaccinated Americans, examines the ongoing research on vaccine efficacy against emerging COVID variants and possibility of a need for booster shots. She also outlines efforts underway by the CDC and the Biden Administration to leverage provisions in the American Recovery Act to address health inequity by strengthening the nation’s public health infrastructure

MONDAY, MAY 10, 2021

World Health Organization’s Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove Speaks About the Global Pandemic

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical Lead at the WHO. They discuss the world’s lack of readiness and supply chain infrastructure to confront the pandemic. She says the lessons learned from this collective ‘trauma’ is sparking new efforts to build more robust surveillance and response systems for emerging pathogens, the concerning new variant out of India, and the need to accelerate global vaccinations to stop the continued spread of the pandemic.

MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021

200 Million Vaccines and Counting: Emory’s Dr. Carlos Del Rio on Effort To Target Vaccine Resistance

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with leading infectious disease expert Dr. Carlos Del Rio, Executive Associate Dean at the Emory University School of Medicine, and lead researcher on HIV/AIDS and now, COVID-19. Dr. Del Rio applauds the Biden Administration’s achievement of 200 million vaccine doses delivered in the US, but warns vaccine resistance in this country, and lack of supply globally, must be addressed to bring the pandemic fully under control. He lauds the remarkable science around mRNA technology that will have far reaching implications for tackling many diseases.