The top goal of vaccination is to prevent hospitalization and deaths


By Robert Shorey

Robert Shorey

Vaccinations have a history of apprehension and the current vaccines are no exception. We can read social media and find discussions concerning getting the vaccine with many objections expressed.

However, no one can legitimately refute what devastation the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our shores in loss of lives, businesses and social interaction. These are the challenging times when mankind often shows its grit and talent. The development of several vaccines to prevent the virus and, at minimum, lessen its mortality is a wonderful expression of our ability to meet critical challenges. Perhaps understanding more about the current vaccines will lessen the apprehension. For the record, our staff has had their first Moderna vaccination and is scheduled for their second.

In the past, concerns have been expressed that many vaccines contain live virus, fetal tissues, attenuators, adjuvant or preservatives. None of these are present in the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The use of messenger RNA is not new technology and in fact it’s been studied for more than 10 years for other treatment uses besides vaccines. All the regulatory tests mandatory to assure safety and approval were done (nothing was skipped) but the pathway was prioritized to fast track approval. No actual virus is present so any symptoms experienced after the vaccine is a result of the body’s immune system getting to work to build your immunity to the coronavirus. Ultimately, after the second injection we have a 95 percent likelihood of preventing the virus from infecting our bodies and should we still get COVID-19 the disease will be mild with little likelihood for hospitalization. The ultimate goal of vaccination is to prevent hospitalizations and death.

Soon the J&J vaccine will be available with some advantages. The news has unfortunately minimized the importance of this vaccine because tests showed an efficacy of 66 percent. “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon did a disservice equating this to a “D” grade. This vaccine has been more diversely tested than the others in multiple countries. Most interestingly the tests include the new South African COVID-19 variant. It achieved an 85 percent effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations.

Remember, the top goal of vaccination is to prevent hospitalization and deaths. This vaccine only requires a single dose and much less stringent refrigeration requirements. This vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine are a form of viral vector vaccines and were originally developed in our vaccines now used to fight Ebola and Zika virus.

We don’t know the long-term effects of getting COVID-19. Studies are showing survivors having issues with inflammatory consequences possibly leading to chronic long-term problems. This is a good reason to get the vaccine. An ounce of prevention in this case may well be worth a pound of cure. No doubt the biggest risk of COVID-19 is the potential for costly hospitalizations and all of these vaccines have demonstrated strong efficacy in preventing hospitalization and much greater survival than placebo groups.


Robert Shorey is a dentist who has lived and practiced in Morgan Hill for the past four years. He and his wife, Melissa, enjoy the proximity of Morgan Hill to hiking areas like Mt. Madonna County Park.


 

Guest Column