As you all know, the first vaccines are being given to higher risk people and health care workers. But we look forward to when we will have access to the vaccine. We do not yet know the place or the timing and we will communicate this when we do.
Some questions have arisen that we wanted to answer at this stage, as follows:
Enough steps and safeguards – YES – it was so fast because it was TOP priority for everyone in the field and billions of dollars from governments and companies around the world were spent on getting it developed. The scientific world cooperated in ways they had not before. The bureaucratic process was super-fast because of the importance of getting this through.
New technology – mRNA has been used for cancer treatments for upwards of 30 years, but this is the first vaccine using the technology. There are two vaccines made this way (Pfizer and Moderna) and another one (Oxford Astra Zenenca) that is coming later is made with an older technology (like the effective Ebola vaccine).
Effective – Look at this curve for the Pfizer vaccine. The people with the vaccine are in the flat curve at the bottom – very few people got COVID within 12 days of getting the first dose of the vaccine. This is similar to the Moderna vaccine. The other one (Oxford Astra Zeneca) is slightly less effective.
Allergies – If you have a severe allergy to Polyethylene Glycol you should avoid the Pfizer vaccine. Otherwise, the reactions to the vaccine are minimal. There were some people with Bell’s palsy in the Pfizer study but it was equal to what is usually see in the population.
Pregnancy and children less than 16 years old– none of the vaccines have included these populations, so they cannot say for sure that it is safe. The various national societies for obstetricians have stated that pregnant women should have the opportunity to get these vaccines as there is no theoretical reason for them to be dangerous.
HMC has remained accessible to you, by phone, or in person as it was deemed necessary. We thank you for your understanding as we help you in your health in these different ways.
Thank you all for what you have done to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and your communities safe. Thank you to those front-line workers who have faced fears and yet continued to provide the services that we have needed to function.
We look forward to when the vaccine allows us to return to a life that is more connected. In the meantime –
Wear a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. Be calm, be safe, be kind.