Since the mid 20th Century, vaccines have been leveraged to minimize the risks of infectious diseases and to protect the vulnerable members of the population who cannot be vaccinated. Throughout history, vaccine development has been an extensive and complex process, which could take many years or even decades.
As global coronavirus cases surge, policymakers, health experts, scientific researchers, academicians, and pharmaceutical companies have been rapidly searching for a solution to tackle this global pandemic. Accordingly, the World Health Organization asserts that “the availability of a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 is well-recognized as an additional tool to contribute to the control of the pandemic.” With this accelerated vaccine development, many people have grave concerns. Is it safe? Wasn't it developed too fast? What are the side-effects? What are the risks?
On this episode of ExpertsConnect, Doctor of Medicine, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Dr. Alicia Johnson-Samuels attempts to quell the fears of the general public by first explaining how vaccines work and later describes in detail the workings of the Covid-19 vaccine and its side-effects. Finally, Alicia answers a number of questions received from our ExpertsConnect audience related to the safety of the vaccine, among others.
What's the role of vaccines in keeping us healthy? | Alicia explains the general principles of how vaccines work to help to decrease morbidity and mortality [1:48]. She also provides examples of how vaccines have helped us throughout history [4:48].
How can people gain immunity to the COVID-19 disease? [6:30] | Alicia explains four theories on how we can gain immunity to Covid-19. They include: sterilizing immunity, functional immunity, waning immunity, and lost immunity [7:36].
What vaccines are available to the general public? [11:15] | Alicia talks in detail about the Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines. However, she mentions that there are about 50 different vaccines at various stages, vying for approvals [11:51].
How do Covid-19 vaccines work? | Building on the general principles of how vaccines work, Alicia details how the Covid-19 vaccines work and further comments on their safety [12:38].
What are the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine? [15:43] | Alicia emphasized that there are side-effects to all forms of medication. She also discussed the mild and adverse side effects of the Covid-19 vaccines.
General Questions from the public [21:42] | Alicia answered a number of questions garnered from social media and our ExpertsConnect audience.
Notable QUOTES from Alicia Johnson-Samuels (Doctor of Medicine)
“[…] I would definitely advise for you to continue wearing your mask after getting vaccinated and constantly taking precautions, […], social distancing, washing your hands, and just being conscious during this time to try and decrease this spread of the virus.” [23:08]
“[…] Persons hear RNA, which is very close to DNA, and they get concerned, but […] the COVID-19 RNA that is introduced, the body recognizes it as foreign and gets rid of it. So it's inoculated with vaccination, your body recognizes it as foreign incites the immune response and gets rid of it. So there's no DNA altering properties of the vaccines that have been approved thus far.’’ [27:35]
“[…] there are no microchips in the vaccine.” [29:12]
“So I would say that the most troubling of the side effects would still be the allergic reaction and anaphylaxis. And what the manufacturers have said is that vaccinations should be given by or at institutions where persons can treat anaphylaxis and allergic reactions appropriately.” [30:20]
“[…] So, before making a decision, get the facts and make the decision that is right for you. You have to look at your personal situation. What is your race? Who are you living with? Who are you trying to protect? Are you trying to protect yourself or are you trying to protect your children? Are you trying to protect your parents, your elderly parents actually. Because we do have to remember that disproportionate persons who are immunocompromised, whether it be from diabetes or pregnancy or from the HIV virus, what patients have cancer, hypertensive, you know, those patients are disproportionately at higher risk for a more severe course.” [34:31]
If you have been empowered by the information shared on this podcast, then please clap using the clap emoticon below. Please feel free to ask any questions or to share any comments using the comment emoticon below.