Vaccines for COVID-19
September 17, 2021
A vaccine is a drug.
One of the most sacred duties of a physician is deciding whether a patient should be taking a certain drug, whether the physician should be recommending or prescribing a certain drug for a certain patient.
If I am to advocate a drug for a certain patient, if I am to cause a certain patient to have a biologically active foreign substance to become present in that person’s body, I better know what I’m doing.
In medical school, the primary duty of those teaching in that school is to impart on students how to understand scientific information so that they make the right decisions when recommending or performing interventions on patients.
The scientific literature is littered with contradictory information, so the individual physician better damn well be able to look at that contradictory information and come up with the best recommendations for an individual patient.
Elsewhere, I have spoken of the only three considerations that come into play when deciding whether a drug should be prescribed or recommended:
Does the drug do what it’s supposed to do and is that something worthwhile or important?
Are there potential side effects or other potential downsides to the drug?
What are the financial considerations?
In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, they are free, so there are no financial downsides.
So what are the downsides of COVID-19 vaccination?
Most people have no side effects from vaccination. Possible side effects include local reactions such as pain, redness and swelling. Other reactions include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea.
Blood clots after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have lead to deaths in 3 people after just under 9 million vaccinations were administered. One in 3 million is pretty good odds, but if you are worried about that risk, you could get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines: there are no reports of blood clots with those vaccines.
Regarding effectiveness of the vaccines, the CDC recently released data showing that 99.5% of those dying of COVID-19 are unvaccinated. For a vaccinated person, the chances of being hospitalized with COVID-19 are 1 in 25,000 and the chances of dying of COVID-19 are 1 in 100,000.
Patients of mine have asked me, “If I can still get COVID-19 after vaccination, why should I get vaccinated?”
Imagine you are a soldier and you getting ready to go into combat. You are offered body armor that blocks 94% of bullets. Are you going to say, “That means 6% of bullets will still get me; why would I wear body armor when I could still get shot?”
Patients have also asked me, “I’ve heard that the COVID-19 vaccines stop working after a while. Why should I get a vaccine that’s going to stop working?”
First off, there is no indication that any COVID-19 vaccines stop working. There is evidence of a slight decline in vaccine effectiveness. In one study, effectiveness decreased from 94% to 88%.
Booster shots have been clearly shown to increase vaccine effectiveness, to prevent a waning of immunity.
And now I go back to the soldier analogy. Suppose you are a soldier who is getting ready to go into combat. The only body armor to which you have access is armor that was involved in an explosion and it is missing a piece so, instead of protecting you from 94% of bullets, it only protects you from 88% of bullets. Are you going to say, “This body armor is not 100%, so why would I wear it?”
When people come to me for medical advice, I have a sacred duty to give them the best advice I can possibly give.
I have read volumes of material on the COVID-19 vaccines. I have done my own analysis of thousands of medications over the 27 years since I graduated from medical school. I can say, without hesitation, that the safety of the COVID-19 vaccinations, after hundreds of millions of doses administered, is better established than almost all other drugs I have ever evaluated.
Furthermore, COVID-19 can be fatal, and COVID-19 vaccination is astoundingly effective at keeping people from dying.
So if you haven’t been vaccinated, call today and get your shot.