Some of the first Americans who have received Pfizer’s newly-unveiled coronavirus vaccine are also being outfitted with so-called BioButtons, which will be tracking their vital signs after getting the shot.
The goal of the data-tracking buttons, according to Denver’s KCNC-TV, is to keep a close eye on how patients are handling the vaccine. One of those patients is Dr. Matthew Salzberg, the medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UCHealth Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.
According to Salzberg, his body has handled the vaccine well. The doctor said he is also impressed with the technology which helps him track his body’s reaction to the vaccine.
“It’s pretty cool technology,” Salzberg said of the button, which is attached to his chest and connected to his part phone through Bluetooth. “You get a report from the company every couple of hours that tell you what your vitals have been doing over the past several hours.”
The button also communicates with Biointellisens, the company that produced it.
Biointellisens, which is located in the Denver suburb of Golden, Colorado, took to Twitter Friday to announce it had partnered with UCHealth for the project.
To monitor high-risk patient populations, we've partnered with @UCHealth to monitor healthcare workers who have received the COVID-19 @Pfizer vaccine for any side effects with our medical-grade Biobutton™ wearable technology. Thank you @CBSDenver for the coverage! #FightCOVID https://t.co/G5hYzICJst
— BioIntelliSense, Inc. (@biointellisense) December 18, 2020
Another physician at the UCHealth Hospital received both the vaccine and the data monitor. Dr. Richard Zane, who is chief innovation officer, as well as the chief of Emergency Services at the UCHealth Hospital, is currently having his vital signs tracked.
KCNC-TV reported the device measures one’s heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate.
100 people in all will receive the devices a day before a vaccine. The trackers will stay with patients for a week. The vaccines are administered through two injections in total, the outlet added.
“There are delayed reactions that we don’t know about,” Zane said.
“It’s a new vaccine, and it appears to be extremely safe based on the clinical trial data … we want to be careful especially in that elderly, fragile patient population. So what we’re looking for in that patient population is any inkling to deterioration,” he added.
Drs. Salzberg and Zane both praised the technology for its ability to alert patients of any potential complications from the vaccine.
“We’re going to be able to keep an eye on you and watch and make sure you’re OK with this,” Salzberg said. “There are people who are monitoring this remotely and so these apps can alert you and they can reach out to you as well.”
“So any inkling to fever occurs. Any inkling to respiratory rate increase, any inkling to pulse increase and what that means together with a combination of movement,” added Zane.
One goal of the data collection is to test the technology so it can later be used to track the vital signs of residents of nursing homes, once they have been vaccinated, Zane told KCNC.
“We envision that people in skilled nursing facilities will all be wearing a device like this all the time,” he said.
The report of the BioButton came one day after a nurse in Tennessee collapsed after receiving a Pfizer vaccine.
A nurse who got the COVID vaccine in Chattanooga, Tennessee today passed out while speaking to media about the vaccine shortly after receiving it. pic.twitter.com/Odv6fA1IVa
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) December 18, 2020
Tiffany Dover passed out at a press conference in Chattanooga. The event spooked many online, but Dover later told WTVC she felt pain from the shot and she often faints while in pain. The outlet reported she was up and walking within minutes of the collapse.
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