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COVID-19 - Why Vaccine?

By Dr. George Voigtlander

There have been two great things that have saved lives more than any glamorous medical “breakthrough”.  The first is sanitation, clean water, control of sewage borne contagion, and control of infections spread by the dead.  Clean water is well understood, modern plumbing has conquered the first two threats and modern mortuary science the third.  The second great development is vaccination.

When I was a child the childhood vaccines were only DPT given by reusable and often dull needles (smallpox had disappeared in the US).  Polio and MMR were not available.  Polio vaccine came out when I was in upper grade school.  MMR and others came later.  Polio was a scourge, paralyzing and putting children in “iron lungs” (negative pressure ventilators). During the polio epidemic I could not go to the local high school to swim nor could I play in the creek that ran through our back yard.  The polio vaccine saved my future summers. 

The three and soon to be more Covid-19 vaccines have given a glimpse of the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. 

The Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford vaccines function in different ways to protect the recipient from contracting the virus, however, they are similar in one way, none of them contain a live virus. So, whether the vaccine targets RNA (Pfizer, Moderna) or helps human cells produce a spike protein (Oxford) the end result is immunity against the COVID-19 virus. All three vaccines are more than 90% effective in the phase 3 clinical trials.

The side effects have been what is seen whenever you rev up the immune system, fever, muscle aches, some malaise for a couple of days.  The three vaccines have been tested in over 90,000 people and no serious side effects have emerged.

During the second world war Japanese snipers targeted corpsmen and medics, since removing one medical person meant more enemy soldiers will die from lack of life saving care.  The reverse of this is why healthcare workers are given priority in receiving the vaccine.  Protecting one nurse may save many others.  The limiting factor in hospitalizations is not beds, ventilators or other inanimate objects, it is nurses!

During the pandemic we have seen nurses, doctors, cleaning personnel, dietary workers become sick and some die.  Although many recover from Covid-19, some do not, those who do not are often sick for months.  Recall Kris Meyer’s (former DON at PCMH) account of her prolonged recovery.  Many victims of COVID-19 have subtle (brain fog) and sometimes catastrophic neurologic sequelae, others suffer permanent heart damage.  Many young fit people have fatally succumbed to this virus.  Children may develop the post infectious inflammatory syndrome.  Covid-19 is not a benign disease.

The phase three trials have been carefully studied and continue to be studied by scientists at the CDC, NIH and FDA who are not politicians but dedicated professionals who are committed to saving lives, not political careers.  One of the organizations that is reviewing the data is Dr Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.  Although tactful, the good doctor does not bend the truth for political gain.  An additional assurance is that the drug manufacturers do not want to deal with hordes of lawyers with class action suits if the vaccine is unsafe.

Step up for your community, family and yourself and take a jab for the team!