‘Vaccines alone are not enough to prevent infection and deaths. We must have the wisdom and discipline as a people to still follow the guidelines and behave properly.’
KNOWING the correct information could save your life. Now that the two vaccines against the SARS-CoV2 virus of COVID-19 and its variants are here, and a third to be available soon, all of us must know the facts and details about them. Otherwise, we will be wasting the vaccines, getting infected after receiving the shots, and spreading the disease anyway.
Currently, there are more than 96 million cases of COVID-19 and greater than 2 million deaths in 219 countries, killing 409,000 in the USA and over 10,000 in the Philippines.
The chance of dying from COVID-19 greatly outweighs the risk of dying from the side-effects or complications of the vaccine. It’s no brainer: the vaccine is a life saver. Talk to your physicians for any queries or if you have severe allergies. COVID-19 vaccines being sold online are fake and dangerous. Get yours from official sites.
Warning: If one becomes careless or reckless after getting the first or the second shot, and stops using facemask, social distancing, and crowd avoidance, the residual risk could still lead to infection and death. Only when herd immunity in the country and in the world is fully established will it be safe for the vaccinated 95.5 percent of people. The 4.5 percent (people who are skeptics, misinformed, Muslims, Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) who object to getting the vaccine, could be the only segment of the society who could be infected and keep the SARS-CoV2 virus around. They could cause future outbreaks of COVID-19 every now and then, even beyond the next five years.
An example of this is measles, which was no longer endemic in the United States since 1997 because of the high vaccination rate. Then came the outbreak in 2005 when a member of a religious group in the USA, who refused the vaccine, got infected while in Romania and came back to the USA and caused the outbreak. This has led to many pockets of measles infection, thereafter. Indeed, a single irresponsible person can cause an outbreak, which could lead to an epidemic, and result in a devastating pandemic.
Vaccines are for protection, much like the bullet-proof vests, which also do not offer 100 percent coverage. But as proven by Edward Jenner, who invented the first vaccine (for smallpox and cowpox) in 1796, and others that followed, and by Casimir Zeglen, who invented the bullet-proof vests in 1893, vaccines and bullet-proof vests, although not 100 percent guaranteed to prevent infection (injuries) and deaths, have saved billions of lives around the globe. When bullets are flying in the air (much like the SARS-CoV2 virus and its variants today), I would rather have a bullet-proof vest (and the vaccine during this pandemic), albeit neither is guaranteed 100 percent. It’s just plain common sense!
Talking of protection, the CDC states pregnant women, who are at a higher risk for COVID-19, may safely get the vaccine, without undue side-effects on the fetus. As a matter of fact, it has been shown that the vaccines have prevented premature births and miscarriages.
Still at risk
A frequent question I get: “After getting vaccinated, am I immediately immune from getting COVID-19?”
The answer is no!. Following the first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, it will take at least 21 days to get 52 percent (partial) immunity, so there remains 48 percent risk of getting infected, if one stops avoiding crowds, wearing facemask, social distancing, washing hands often, etc.
After the second shot (21 days after the first for the P-BNT and 28 days for Moderna vaccine), one does not get the full 95 percent immunity until after several weeks or months. It is obvious there is still a 5 percent risk after the second shot (a must to have to complete the vaccination).
We must not allow the vaccination to give us a false sense of complete security. About 5 percent of those vaccinated have been infected with COVID days/weeks after the vaccination. There are a lot we still do not know about the virus, its variants, and the duration of protection the vaccines confer.
The first person in the world to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) outside the clinical trials was a 90-year-old grandmother in the UK, Margaret Keenan, on December 8, 2020. Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in Queens, New York, (originally from Jamaica) was the first person in the USA to get the shot (also P-BNT) on December 14, 2020.
My wife, Farida, and I received ours (P-BNT) on January 13, 2020, as a part of the largest vaccination campaign in modern history, with 32.5 million doses of the vaccines administered in 45 countries (almost 41.5 million as of today), 10.8 million (now about 13 million) in the United States alone, with almost 800,000 given their second dose. There are 77 candidate vaccines on trial in 47 countries, 19 are in stage 3 clinical trials, and 8 have been authorized. The Philippines is starting its vaccination in February, with 65,000 doses of SinoVac from China, a part of a 25 million dose-deal. Other potential suppliers include Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Jannsen, Novavax, all from the USA.
Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Public Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian and anti-graft foundation in the United States. Visit our websites: philipSchua.com and FUN8888.com Email: email@example.com