Here are 7 Reasons I’m Getting the COVID Vaccine:

I hope you have a safe and sacred Christmas. I am very thankful that the COVID vaccine is finally available. Please make sure you get vaccinated against COVID, too.

 

Here are 7 Reasons I’m Getting the COVID Vaccine:

1. I don’t want to risk my health.

One of the scariest aspects of COVID is its unpredictability. Although it causes only mild discomfort in most people, COVID can occasionally trigger a severe and potentially fatal reaction. This immune “storm” can create multiple clots in your lungs, heart, or kidneys, threatening your health.

Some people who survive their severe COVID infection still suffer from shortness of breath, and doctors don't know how to make them better. I don’t want to gamble that I will have just a mild case of COVID. I’d rather train my body to fight it off by getting vaccinated.

2. The science makes sense.

Having been a pharmacist for over 40 years, I remember the swine flu vaccine disaster and its cause: cutting corners and allowing a product to be used without sufficient testing. Thankfully, we’ve learned a lot since then.

Much of the science behind the new COVID vaccines have been in use for YEARS in our annual flu vaccine formulations. For example, manufacturing viral-like fragments without growing them in egg culture is faster and perfectly safe for those allergic to eggs or feathers. Our clinic has been using this flu vaccine, Flucelvax®, for the last 3 years with no problems.

The over-65 flu vaccine has had 2 different formulas for the last 3 years: a "high dose" and an "adjuvanted" version. Our clinic has used the adjuvanted flu vaccine formulation with no problems.

One of the reasons the COVID vaccine has taken less time to create is that many pieces had already been developed. With the FOCUS and FUNDING provided by Operation Warp Speed, these newer science and technology areas could be brought together to target the COVID virus.

3. To preserve healthcare access for everyone.

Our community lost one of its two hospitals in late January 2020 and struggled to weather the COVID pandemic. This week, the hospital has an entire FLOOR plus half of the intensive care beds battling COVID.  Although hospital staff has been faithful with wearing personal protective equipment, COVID has begun to spread among them. Having adequate space AND hospital staff available to take care of your illness or surgery is critical.

4. Adjuvants are proven immune boosters.

We have been adding adjuvants to vaccines to increase their effectiveness for years. The old shingles vaccine was a live attenuated virus and provided only 50% protection against shingles. The new shingles vaccine contains viral particles that cannot infect you, plus a compound called an adjuvant to boost its effect. This has given the more recent Shingrix® vaccine well over 90% effectiveness.

Influenza vaccines are notorious for providing only about 50-60% of protection for older adults. There are 2 formulations designed for older adults to trigger a better response to the vaccine: one with a higher concentration and the other with an adjuvant. The "high dose" formula has 4 times the amount found in the standard vaccine or the adjuvanted one. Using an adjuvant instead of manufacturing 4 times the concentration is much faster to create.

5. mRNA vaccines are safer than older live virus vaccines.

Vaccines used to be made by using live but weakened versions of the virus to trigger an immune response. Newer science which allows the use of fragments of a virus that cannot replicate itself is much safer. Unfortunately, your immune system doesn’t readily recognize viral fragments as a threat.

Adding an adjuvant to a virus fragment helps get the attention of your immune system, like someone waving at you and yelling, “Over here!” Once the adjuvant gets your immune system's attention, the viral mRNA attached to it provides a blueprint of what your body needs to create effective antibodies against the virus.

6. My experience will help others.

Several clinical trials for the COVID vaccines (my sister-in-law was enrolled in one of those trials) have been completed. Some people may still have concerns about trying something so new.

Fear not, as a whole bunch of doctors, nurses, nurse aides, and other health care workers like pharmacists, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians will be vaccinated against COVID ahead of you. As a bonus, we are plugged into the medical community, and if there are issues, we will report them. By the time you get your first dose, doctors will know even more about what to expect.

7. Feeling crummy for a few days is actually a GOOD thing.

With newer, more effective vaccines like shingles and COVID, your body gets “revved up” to fight off future infection. This is sometimes accompanied by 1-2 days of fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headache, and other symptoms. This is NOT the vaccine giving you the illness, just a temporary reaction associated with getting an excellent immune response from the vaccine.

Dr. Louise Achey, Doctor of Pharmacy, is a 40-year veteran of pharmacology and author of Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate: How Medicines Work and How YOU Can Take Them Safely. Check out her NEW website TheMedicationInsider.com for daily tips on how to take your medicine safely.®2020 Louise Achey

 

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