Dr Nirav Shah answers questions about the vaccine
The Sun Journal recently asked readers to share why they didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. Their responses ranged from concerns about the long-term safety of vaccines and lack of trust in government and drug companies, to disinformation fueled by Facebook and perpetuated by supporters of the far-right conspiracy group QAnon that vaccines have been created by blood. drink the Hollywood elite as a biological weapon of military mind control.
Deep fears have been exposed. One woman wrote that her severe hypochondria sent her spiraling at the mere thought of getting the jab. “I am petrified that I am putting certain medicines or foods in my body that I have never eaten before. I never even got a flu shot, ”said Jennifer Dunning. “I want to get the shot, but I know I’m going to panic completely and have a severe panic attack and raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels.”
Other responses that flooded the Sun Journal’s Facebook page echoed a number of statements commonly made in the anti-vaccine movement.
“Because it’s MY BODY AND IT’S MY CHOICE!” “
“None of your business!”
“I have my own immunity !!!”
“I refuse to be a guinea pig.
“Because I’m not a government lab rat. “
A number of readers have revealed that they have had negative experiences with healthcare professionals or vaccinations in the past that have made them suspicious of the COVID vaccine. Most said the speed with which vaccines appeared to be developed was a wake-up call to them.
“I will not get the vaccine because studies would have to be done for years to determine if they are safe or not,” said Rachel Carll, writing that she knew three people who had died from the vaccine.
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that vaccine deaths are extremely rare. It has not linked any deaths to Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations.
“A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal relationship with COVID-19 vaccines,” the CDC said. However, he states that “recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine … and … a rare and serious adverse event – blood clots with low platelet count – which has caused deaths.”
“I just don’t trust it,” said Isabelle Spofford. “It’s a whole new move. We are living in a science experiment and everyone, vaccinated or not, plays a role. “
It is true that the history of medicine and the role of government and pharmaceutical companies in this country is long, complicated and has at times been seriously damaging, especially to vulnerable communities. And while many people see getting vaccinated as an act that is good for themselves as well as for their community and society, others don’t see it that way.
For these and other reasons, much of the population of Maine and across the country is still reluctant to take the blow. Even so, the three vaccines approved for use in the United States – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – have been shown in all but the rarest cases to be safe and effective in stopping COVID-19 or significantly reducing its symptoms, and are the world’s best approach to ending the pandemic, health officials say.
Spofford is right that in the battle to end the pandemic everyone plays a role.
Maine is the third most vaccinated state in the country with nearly 69% of all Mainers fully vaccinated, according to a vaccine tracker created by data and media company Bloomberg. Yet the virus continues to spread at a record rate in Maine, in large part due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant among the “pockets” of unvaccinated people.
Last month, Maine recorded the highest number of new cases, hospitalizations and people in intensive care in a single day since the pandemic began in March 2020, breaking records set mainly during the winter wave when the vaccines were not yet widely available.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 738 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Friday. Maine has recorded nearly 100,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and more than 1,000 deaths.
“This is a preventable crisis,” Governor Janet Mills said at a press conference last week.
“Really, there is no harm” in getting the vaccine, she said. “Only a benefit – a benefit for you, for your family, for all of our children and for people you may never have met.”
The Sun Journal asked readers to say why they haven’t been vaccinated yet in order to get a feel for the big questions – and answer them. And to do that, we turned to someone who has become a household name in Maine homes and a trusted voice throughout the pandemic: Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah. Here is what he said:
How do I know if the vaccine (s) are safe or if I will have a serious reaction?
Shah: The US CDC has a full list of vaccine ingredients on its website. One of the great advantages of the three COVID-19 vaccines is that clinical trials and real-world experience indicate that the risk of serious side effects is remarkably low, even for people who have experienced side effects with d ‘other vaccines. Maine hospitals treat more than 200 people with COVID-19; they did not admit anyone for the side effects of COVID-19. If you have any questions, please speak to your health care provider.
Why should i get vaccinated if i have already had COVID?
Shah: On whether people who have had COVID-19 should get vaccinated, I refer you to a recent comment by Dr Dorry Segev, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins. Dr Segev writes (in The Hill):
“Every component of the immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus improves after vaccination, including antibodies and T cells. In people who have been previously infected with COVID-19, vaccination can cause significant antibodies. cross-variant neutralizers. And clinical protection improves after vaccination in people who have already been infected: In a recent study, people who have already received COVID-19 who received even a single dose of the vaccine had half as much risk of a breakthrough infection than unvaccinated people who have already received COVID-19. So vaccination helps even people who have already contracted COVID-19 (and anyone with whom they interact).
“Not everyone who has a case of COVID-19 will have natural immunity. In a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study of people who have already been infected with COVID-19, 36% n ‘did not form any antibodies against the virus. This contrasts sharply with the formation of antibodies in 100% of people (not immunocompromised) who receive even one dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), such as Large vaccine trials report this impressively, so from a practical standpoint, if a business or school is trying to determine if someone is safe, it can be quite confident that someone shows him vaccine proof is safe, but it would be next to impossible to determine if someone with prior COVID-19 is safe. Beyond the logistical issues of proving that a person had previously had COVID-19, how can -she prove that she is part of the 64% who have na immunity turelle?
All the evidence we have today shows that “trying your luck with COVID” poses a much greater risk than getting the vaccine. An analogy that comes to mind is skydiving. On very rare occasions a parachute will fail, but that does not mean that I would “try my luck” by jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Vaccines aren’t perfect, but they’re extremely effective at preventing death and serious damage from COVID-19, making them a much better risk-reduction choice than taking a chance with the virus.
Why should I trust a vaccine that hasn’t been tested for five, ten years? How do I know I won’t have side effects in the long term?
Shah: All three COVID-19 vaccines have undergone rigorous clinical trials and review for approval or clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration. Data and research come from the private sector, government, academia and global experts. Due to the emergency posed by COVID-19, scientists and regulators have cut red tape, but they have not cut corners. The mRNA vaccine technology that Pfizer and Moderna use for their vaccines has been around for decades, so it is simply not accurate to characterize them as “experimental.”
Globally, more than 3 billion people have been vaccinated against COVID-19. While we see more data suggesting that some patients experience long-term negative health effects after contracting COVID-19, we see no data to suggest negative effects from receiving vaccines.
Why is my choice not to get vaccinated important to you?
Shah: First, I want you to get vaccinated because it’s the best tool you have to protect yourself from the ravages of COVID-19. The predominance of the delta variant in Maine puts you at an increased risk of severe symptoms or death. We are seeing more and more otherwise healthy young people end up in intensive care and on a ventilator. Simply put, vaccines are the best tools you have as an individual against the potentially devastating effects of COVID-19.
Second, our personal choices have public consequences. The first three words of the Declaration of Independence – “We the people” – recognize that our democratic republic is a shared enterprise. As individuals in a society, we exercise our freedoms within established safeguards to ensure the functioning of society. Our choices affect others.
Currently, hospitals in Maine are treating a high number of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. While our dedicated healthcare professionals treat these patients, others in need of cancer treatment, heart care, joint replacements, rehabilitation therapy and similar procedures wait longer. Personal decisions not to get immunized impact health systems in ways that harm others. I don’t believe that’s what the founders of this nation envisioned when they wrote about personal freedoms. Your choice to get vaccinated is an act of service to your community.
The Sun Journal will ask Dr Shah more questions about vaccine reluctance and COVID-19 in the future.