Around one in four American citizens do not want to be vaccinated with an anti-COVID 19 shot! As a health care provider who spent 16 years in a Rehabilitation unit, I have seen the “good, bad and ugly” of disease. One of the most debilitating type of patient’s I treated were those recovering from Influenza’s infection. These individuals spent variable periods of time on ventilators but also received several weeks of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation). The machine is like the heart-lung machine used in open-heart surgery. It pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body allowing the heart and lungs to rest and recover from infection. In many ways, COVID 19 infection is worse and more toxic than influenza. Not only does it affect the lungs but also invades the brain and causes major changes which potentially can result in what is called “long haulers.” These individuals have persistent symptoms of severe fatigue, brain fog, as well as a general sense of lack of well-being long after their initial infection. The persistent and unknown future late effects of brain involvement is yet to be discovered but no doubt does exist.
This epidemic is different than anything modern medicine has dealt with previously. The new variants from England, Brazil, and South Africa are more contagious and more infectious. They can result in a more intense and serious infections. These patients seem to have a higher rate of hospitalization, ICU management and artificial ventilation. Vaccines are effective in preventing and reducing the toxicity of infection.
Vaccines have extremely rare reactions most of which are easily managed. The risk of COVID-19 infection is so much greater than any extremely rare vaccine side effects. Therefore, the risk benefit assessment should come down on the side of extreme benefits of vaccines compared to any remote risk of potential toxicity.
COVID-19 vaccination is your major way to build safe protection against the Virus:
COVID-19 can produce life threatening illness to your body by affecting not only your lungs but your brain! It is highly infectious, and you can spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
For a vaccine to be approved by the FDA for distribution, it must undergo extensive clinical trials. Similar very large populations of patients volunteer for the treatment. The population is randomized to active drug or placebo. Both are given a similar appearing injection subcutaneously. No one knows who has gotten the true drug and who has gotten placebo—NOT THE PATIENT, THE PHYSICIAN CARING FOR THE PATIENT NOR THE PHYSICIAN EVALUATING THE PATIENT! Data is meticulously recorded and collected for side effects, any safety issues, and the effect of the injection on potential infection. A statistical analysis occurs that compares patient results and effects of the active vaccination against the placebo. The results are tabulated and summated and presented as the effectiveness versus potential side effects of the vaccine compared to placebo. The potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the potential risks of the vaccine. The analysis was reported for the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. The efficacy was proven, the safety profile was excellent. The FDA approved the above vaccines under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The monitoring of patients receiving vaccine continues.
After getting COVID-19 infection, the body produces antibodies which fight any future infections and may offer some natural protection, termed immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will potentially trigger your body to create an antibody response that can fight the COVID 19 virus without becoming sick with infection.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
NO! None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
No! You will not test positive for COVID 19.
If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, because your protection from your body’s response to the infection does not persist beyond a certain period of time.
Thus, factually, the risk benefit assessment for obtaining the vaccine comes down on the side of BENEFIT! GET THE VACCINE!
I recognize that at this time in the history of this country, the credibility of medicine and science are being challenged by “fake news.” Unfortunately, modern medicine lacks credibility in certain populations. Modern medicine in many ways has contributed to this problem. In terms of excitement of discovery and the need for funding, results are often released prematurely and portrayed by the press as a “New Cure.” The bureaucracy and inequity in our health care delivery systems contributes to the problem. We have overpromised cure and in the public’s eye we have lost credibility.
In my career over four decades, I have been privileged to witness an incredible success of basic scientific discovery, life changing developments in technology, and the unravelling of the genome and its relationship to our immune system. I am optimistic that this ongoing scientific development will continue at a very accelerated pace.
If you are reluctant to be vaccinated, you must ask yourself is all this scientific discovery and technological advancement for naught! Are we promoting lies? Are we turning you off with our enthusiasm and excitement concerning discovery? Are you perceiving us as arrogant and all knowing? Are you denying the present and future? Self-reflect on really what is going on in your psyche! This dilemma appears to be a control battle over what you perceive and believe and what science is promoting! Look around, self-reflect, and take responsibility for your fellow man: Get vaccinated!
Written by: Jay Rosenberg, MD
Keywords: Covid-19, vaccination, ECMO, FDA