With COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise, Dr. Travis Sims with Ally Medical Emergency Room is joining us to dig into the details of what the COVID-19 vaccine is and why it is so important to help fight this virus.
Why are people that are vaccinated still getting COVID-19?
A vaccine simply helps a person to build antibodies against the virus. A simple analogy is that, after the vaccine takes effect, your body now has a pre-trained army to attack the virus should you become exposed to it. It doesn’t mean that you can’t get infected. However, it does provide your body with the ability to fight immediately and more effectively before the virus has a chance to make you sick. This is why, even in breakthrough cases, the individuals have milder symptoms and largely are able to avoid hospitalization.”
Do I still need a vaccine if I have already had COVID-19 and recovered?
“Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 because:
- Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19.
- Vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19. Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.”
Why are we talking about booster shots?
“A couple of reasons:
One factor to consider in vaccine effectiveness is a concept known as ‘waning immunity.’ We still don’t know how long the COVID-19 vaccine immunity lasts and, as expected, early studies have shown waning levels of circulating COVID-19 antibodies over time. This is likely to be a factor in those elderly and more vulnerable individuals who were vaccinated early in the vaccine rollout program.
While we continue to see remarkable effectiveness in the vaccine’s ability to protect against severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, the available data makes it very clear that protection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination. Because of the new Delta variant, we are already starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. Based on the latest assessments, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could potentially diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout. For that reason, booster shots will likely be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its effectiveness.”
What would say to someone who is nervous about taking the vaccine?
“First of all, it is not lost on me why there is so much uncertainty surrounding this topic as people are getting pulled in a million directions with misinformation and half-truths. And unfortunately, the bad information is able to be blasted as loud as the actual expert opinion. I would strongly encourage anyone with hesitancy or opposition to discuss the topic with your personal physician, who is specially trained on how to dissect good evidence and data from the piles of bad data and reporting out there.”
“My evidence-based medicine professors in medical school would often emphasize that “garbage in equals garbage out”, indicating that anyone can perform bad research and draw a bad conclusion. Because of this, we need to know how to examine the evidence to figure out which conclusions are reliable.”
“I believe currently, the most powerful and hard evidence we have are the public health numbers regarding hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Of the hospitalized patients with COVID-19, approximately 95% of them are unvaccinated. This is a disease of the unvaccinated. Those numbers are in line with the original data from the vaccine trials and proof that they are protective, as well as reassurance that the science has been solid.”
“A recent CDC study shows that an unvaccinated individual is nearly 30 times more likely to be hospitalized. The study also found that unvaccinated people were 5x more likely to be infected with Covid than people who receive the shots.”
“Personally, I have seen a large number of very sick Covid patients ‘circling the drain’ who need hospitalization. However, I have yet to send a vaccinated individual to the hospital for severe Covid. At the end of the day, regardless of personal beliefs or hesitations, it’s the Humans against the virus. We need to get on the same page to effectively be able to beat this thing before more contagious and deadly variants emerge. Vaccines are certainly the best tool we have to take charge of this pandemic, and we need everyone to help ‘Team Human’ win.”
This segment is paid for by Ally Medical Emergency Room and is intended as an advertisement. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.