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The Case for the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Case for Vaccinating Us All

I believe that as many of us should get vaccinated as possible.   What is the basis for this belief? 

Let’s review what happens when a virus infects your body.  A virus enters your body and hijacks your own cells.  Your cells become virus producers.  Your cells are stimulated to make the virus and pour out virus.  Your cells make copies of the virus.   While making those copies, sometimes a mistake is made in the copy.  This is how the mutations [1] (click the link for a video about mutations) occur.  The mutations can be mild or more significant.  They can weaken the virus or make it more deadly.  Mutations occur in all viruses.  The flu is one of the viruses capable of making lots of mutations.  Only 50% of the U.S. population gets the flu vaccine.  For many vaccines, a rate of 85-95% is required to stop the spread of the disease.   This can occur through natural infection, but we would need to accept many more deaths and quality of life complications to get there.  For COVID-19, it is estimated that we need about 70% of the population immune to prevent spread.  This is called Herd Immunity [2] (click the link for more details).  Without Herd Immunity, spread of infection allows many more copies to be made and mutations to occur.   In the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (that causes COVID-19 – the disease), we do not have any immunity for this virus until we get the vaccine or the infection.  This is because the virus is so different from anything our body has ever seen.  As a result, it turns on many different immune processes that can result in significant damage in our body.  

What about the vaccine?  At this time, we have many more people who want the vaccine, than can be produced.  That will change.  We will reach a point where there is more vaccine than people who want it.  It is critically important that the vast majority of us get the vaccine.  Without it, or if a significant number do not get it, the process for this virus will continue.  It will continue to multiply, continue to mutate and the effectiveness of the vaccine will decline.  This appears to be an inevitable outcome, but we can slow it down, reduce the impact and reduce the terrible outcomes we have been seeing.  

Was the vaccine rushed?  Is it safe?   It is understandable to not have faith in a man made drug that is new.  I have the same reluctance.  I need knowledge and my training to critically and scientifically review a drug before I can recommend it.  What has made this vaccine different?  In one word – pandemic.  Many people came forward to volunteer and to be part of the studies, in a way that has never happened before.  This allowed the shortest time frame a vaccine has needed to reach statistical significance for evaluation.  Also, because the US Government funded many of the studies and guaranteed production, the companies had less risk and could start production while awaiting study outcome.  Usually they would wait to see if it worked, so that they would not have to throw away vaccine.  Then production ramps up.  In this case, the vaccine would be purchased even it if did not work.  Lastly, the review process was front loaded to make sure that the scientists did a careful review (but were asked to review as soon as the data came in).  Click here [3] for a video link about how the vaccine was developed.  You should also be aware that the monitoring program is one of the most extensive programs ever developed.  It is called V-Safe.  Please sign up for it as soon as you get your first dose.   As of January 25th, over 20 million doses have been given with another 20 million doses already at distribution sites.  The safety and effectiveness are better than ever anticipated.   

What will happen going forward?  The vaccine effectiveness will decline.  Someone will be harmed by the vaccine.  While that happens please weigh the alternatives.  The whole process of flattening the curve was intended to push off the disease until we had the vaccine and treatments.  At this point our choice is to get the treatments (vaccine) or the disease (even as we isolated our lives).  Although our heads will turn when there is a story of someone harmed by the vaccine, the virus will soon have taken over a half of million lives in the United States.   Most of this will have happened even as we have had antibody infusions with other promising treatments, adequate ICU beds and enough ventilators.  Weigh the vaccine with equal importance as the outcomes of the virus and its potential.   This is the most important vaccine in our history.   When your time comes and you can get the vaccine, we implore you to get it.

What about children and the vaccine?   There is no reason to believe that the vaccine will be less effective or less safe for children, but we need to complete the studies.  The timeline will be very different however.   It is taking 30 times longer to recruit the number of children as was for adults.  Unless this changes, it is going to be a significant amount of time to know those answers.  The longer it takes, the more the virus will have a pool of people (children) to get the infection, multiply, create mutations and make the vaccine less effective.   We can deal with these concerns, but if too many people refuse the vaccine, we only need to look around us to see the effects. 

Dr. Harry Miller

Four Seasons Pediatrics Testing 

Dr. Ashley will be covering our office for this weekend.   We will have extra staffing and availability for testing on Sunday Morning this weekend.   Please continue to use your web portal as the preferred way to make an appointment.  We have been extremely busy with testing on Mondays.  If you notice symptoms that start Friday or Saturday, we ask you to be tested on the weekend, and not wait until Monday.  This will help to reduce the toll from the extreme cold and high testing rates on our providers.  We also want to thank all of you that have offered the kind words for our staff who brave the weather to give you peace of mind and support keeping children in schools and daycare. 

It also helps to request testing through your web portal.  Just send a message with the information below.  Portal requests help us handle the volume of requests that come in when we open. If you request testing through your portal account, please copy and paste the information below and fill in each field.   

Phone calls for Saturdays and Sundays:  If you have a need to reach the doctor on call, PLEASE call between 7 am and no later than 9 am. For the safety of the doctor, any calls that come in after 9 am may not be returned until after the office closes.    

Appointment Request through your Portal Account

Please copy and paste the fields into your portal message and fill in information:

Symptoms and date started: 

Fever (100.4 or higher – if yes how high and how measured) (Y/N):  

Close contact (defined as within 6 feet of someone positive with COVID for 15″) (Y/N): 

Traveled within the last 14 days? (Y/N): 

Anyone in the home under Quarantine? (Y/N):

Anyone in the home being tested or waiting for results of a COVID test? (Y/N): 

Phone number of the person who will bring patient: 

Car Make and Color (that will come for appointment): 

School or Daycare that patient attends: 

Any change in Medications/Allergies/Medical History/Surgeries or Hospitalizations since last being here? (Y/N):