Many people are worried about getting vaccinated due to fears stoked by misinformation and lies. The following information and links are offered to access current science.
COVID-19 is a viral infection that was first seen globally in early 2020. It appears to have first cause illness starting in late 2019.
Nearly 105 million Americans (out of 328 million) have had the illness and well over a million Americans have died with COVID infection. (5/10/23)
In May 2023, over 250 people in the US are dying every day due to illness from COVID.
Letter to the CDC from Dr. Lee 8/15/22
The CDC is becoming less authoratative and less effective by becoming more political and not broadcasting SCIENCE. Dr. Rochelle Walensky should still be encouraging (not necessarily mandating) masks to protect our vulnerable from acquisition of COVID. (Still a very deadly disease.) The is what the science tells us. Not "full steam ahead" bare-faced and with school kids sitting on top of one another and not even completing isolation before returning to infect others. SHAME ON YOU!! Politics has no place at the CDC. Please don't dilute science facts with unproven opinions that are politically motivated.
Question: Why are variants more of a problem?
This virus is quick to mutate. During reproduction, some viruses make more precise copies of their genetic code. For example, DNA-based viruses skip the RNA translation step which is where many of the gene copies are mis-keyed. So Herpes viruses (and other DNA viruses) do not mutate as rapidly as RNA viruses like the Corona viurses, including SARS-CoV-2 which is the cause of COVID-19.
Mutations are not all good or bad. The characteristics that are found in a virus - including virulence, contagiousness and method of spread (aerosol versus direct contact) are coded by the genes. Sometimes the mutations or mistakes in copying will cause the virus to be more deadly. Or a virus may become more contagious, but lose virulence. It may develop to have a shorter incubation or to produce more copies. Or it may weaken in all aspects and die out. In that case a stronger version will become more dominant.
Contagiousness is associated with-
1) A shorter incubation from infection to begining to "shed" or spread new virus. The earlier version took about 6 days from infection to shedding, with Delta it is about 4 days.
2) Delta proliferates at a higher rate. "Concentrations of virus particles in the airways of individuals infected with delta were found to be about 1,200 times greater than in those infected with the original coronavirus strain."
How can the vaccine be safe when the development seemed so rushed?COVID vaccinations were seemingly developed rapidly. However, COVID-19 is a Corona Virus - a family of viruses that has been studied for more than a decade since the earlier Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks starting in 2002.
The most effective target on the virus was already known to be the Spike (S) protein.
The apparent rapid development of vaccines actually followed many years of research. Only minimal changes were required to re-direct the earlier developed vaccines toward this specific virus.
Although these vaccines were fast-tracked, they were tested in the same way as other vaccines. Because of the emergency of the pandemic, funding was quicker and manufacturing started while the testing was still underway. These shortcuts did not impact the usual 3 phases of testing. The vaccines were tested in more than 100,000 individuals before the FDA gave approval for widespread use.
The system worked-
A number of vaccines that were being tested were not authorized for use, including one being developed by Merck (at the cost of billions) that was shelved because it was not as effective. Another vaccine, by Astra Zeneca has not been authorized due safety questions that are being answered by additional studies.
The current four vaccines that are authorized in the US are continuing to be studied for any side effects.
Question: Why is there a need for a booster vaccination?
Immunity lessens over time to most vaccines. It is more problematic for people who's immune system is weak. That includes older people, people with diseases such as HIV, and people on medicines that suppress their immune response.
Assuming you have a knowledgeable doctor, you should check with your doctor to see if you are in one of the groups that should receive the currently recommended booster. If you are unsure about whether your medicines may be suppressing your immune system, a knowledgeable pharmacist may be able to help.
Boosters have been shown to increase the strength and durability of the immune response to many vaccines. For example, a Shingles vaccine may be needed because as you age, your immunity to chicken pox (caused by the same varicella virus) is reduced.
Question: What about the stories of people getting really sick or having heart problems caused by COVID vaccines?
Statistically serious side effects are very rare. More than 310 million (310,000,000) shots have been administered.
> A few people have an allergic reaction to the shot. (Around 2-5/million) You will be asked to sit a few minutes after getting the vaccination to watch for any reaction.
> Most people have soreness in their arm with some swelling or redness.
> Other common side-effects noted a day or so after the vaccination: Tiredness Headache Muscle pain Chills Fever NauseaIt is ok to use acetaminophen for pain or fever, but these are common reactions that signal your body is making the expected immune response.
> Very rarely deaths have been reported after vaccination (not attributed to the vaccine, but ocurring after vaccination) = 5,343 or .0017% - less than 2 in 10,000,000 (10 million).
The risk for myocarditis in individuals after SARS-CoV-2 infection was six to 34 times (varies by study) higher than in those who received the mRNA vaccine. Infection with COVID is a minimum of 600% more likely to cause the heart inflammation than a COVID vaccination.