Welcome to Episode 10 of “COVID: What comes next,” an exclusive weekly Providence Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK podcast featuring Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health and an internationally respected expert on pandemic response and preparedness.

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Published Dec 29, 2020, 3:15 PM

Today, Dr. Jha discusses the many problems surrounding the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. “It’s going way too slowly and the cost here is lives,” he says, and then gets into detail. Looking to the future, Dr. Jha says “we have to have a very serious conversation our country about how we structure public health.” 

Dr. Jha also explains herd immunity – what it means, how it is achieved, and when we should know when we are there. 

And, Dr. Jha breaks down the situation at many nursing homes across America, which have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with residents and staff members infected and dying in large numbers. 

Also today, Dr. Jha answers three of the audience questions sent to the podcast: 

-- Is it true that people who sleep less than six hours a night get less benefit from a vaccine? (He says he has not seen evidence of that, and then he elaborates.) 

-- What should people do if they will not be in their home state when the vaccines are rolled out there? People who are vacationing, for example, or have a winter residence in another state. (This remains to be determined.) 

-- Why are older people not higher on some priority lists, which are set by the states? (“They should be,” Dr. Jha says before discussing the issue in greater depth.) 

If you have a COVID-related question, please send to with “Question for Dr. Jha” in the subject field. Dr. Jha will get to as many questions as he can, but regrettably, given the volume, he cannot get to all. And please note Dr. Jha’s advice: Questions regarding one’s personal situation should be put to your healthcare provider. 

This weekly podcast is hosted by G. Wayne Miller, health reporter for The Providence Journal. It can be downloaded at

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COVID: What comes next - With Dr. Ashish Jha

Long before COVID, Dr. Ashish Jha was an internationally respected expert on pandemic response and p 
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