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We are often asked why should we vaccinate against COVID 19 given we are young and healthy. Covid 19 has wreaked havoc in the medical system and in our economy. We have all suffered greatly due to this virus. People have told me that the numbers of deaths are not that high, and asked why should they vaccinate?
My answer is it is not about the individual person but about our community as a whole.
The purpose of vaccination is to prevent hospitalizations and death. Vaccinating also slows the spread of the virus through our community. While an individual person may recover without long term consequences from contracting COVID 19, apart from known risk factors which increase your chance of an adverse outcome; it appears somewhat random who becomes extremely unwell and who has a milder case. An individual cannot know if they will fare well or not. We have seen young healthy people succumb to this virus and others have long term consequences from contracting COVID19. It is a gamble not to vaccinate and the risk of getting COVID is far higher than the risk of an adverse event from a vaccine.
If large numbers of people contract the disease at the same time and require hospitalization, our already overwhelmed and very taxed medical system will implode. Recall what happened in Italy during the early days of the pandemic when many people became unwell at the same time. COVID 19 patients often spend 2-3 weeks in ICU tying up ICU beds. This means that other health issues cannot be treated and people die.
I am sure all of you know someone who has had their elective surgery delayed due to the pandemic. Hospitals will not perform elective procedures as we are not always sure if a complication could arise and need to know there is room in the ICU if necessary.
Lastly, there are people who cannot protect themselves from this virus. Immunocompromised people will not mount the same antibody response as a healthy individual and therefore do not get the same protection if vaccinated. Elderly people likewise do not get the same protection from the same vaccines. Children under 5 are also unvaccinated and not protected.
Please think about your neighbour when considering vaccinating. They may be someone who needs your help to stay protected.
Dr. Ramona PennerR
Within the next month, messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are likely to be some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States.
mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.
Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is those vaccinated gain this protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.
They cannot give someone COVID-19.
They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.
mRNA vaccines are being held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as all other types of vaccines in the United States. The only COVID-19 vaccines the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will make available for use in the United States (by approval or emergency use authorization) are those that meet these standards.
There are currently no licensed mRNA vaccines in the United States. However, researchers have been studying and working with them for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.
mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine.
Future mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to provide protection for multiple diseases, thus decreasing the number of shots needed for protection against common vaccine-preventable diseases.
Beyond vaccines, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.
1.Keeping patients as safe as possible is our first priority. This means that appointments will remain virtual/phone unless a physical exam is required. All Appointments are pre screened before an in person appointment is made, Please do not show up at the office without an appointment for the safety of staff and other patients.
2. If you are coming to the office, please wear a mask (homemade masks are fine), no gloves and alone if possible. Knock or wave to us and we will let you in when it is safe to do so. All live appointments are spaced to try and avoid patient contact with others.
3.Please use the hand sanitizer at the entrance on arrival, do not wear gloves and touch as few things as possible.
4. The staff is behind plexiglass as much as possible. Please maintain 6 feet of social distancing from the staff and other patients.
5. Rooms are cleaned after each patient and the office is cleaned in addition twice daily.
6.If you have COVID symptoms, please let us know and we will plan to see you at the end of the day for the safety of others or will direction you to a COVID testing site where you can be seen.
June 25, 2020
BC Centre for Disease Control release daily Surveillance Reports with up to date statistics on Covid-19 in British Columbia. Please see the table here for a detailed report from June 11th.
Visit http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data for more information.
HERE ARE STEPS WE CAN ALL TAKE TO PUSH BACK AGAINST COVID-19:
Let’s slow down the spread of this virus and get through this together.
If older than 5, GET VACCINATED!
1. TURN TO TELEMEDICINE
Family doctors can provide safe care that may not need an office visit. We are encouraging our patients to call by phone or see us virtually. That way, we can keep you and other patients safe and keep our staff healthy. If we have concerns, we’ll make sure you get the care you need.
2. EMBRACE YOUR HOME BASE
Family doctors want to do everything possible to support our patients—one key way we’ll do that is by telling those with mild symptoms to stay home. Most people will get better on their own.
3. REMAIN CLOSE...AT A DISTANCE
All of us need to avoid gatherings or large groups in order to slow down the spread of this virus. Social distancing can be difficult and unsettling—so let’s make use of phone, email or video calls to connect with friends and loved ones in virtual ways. There’s no need to panic but there is a need to be smart about our social interaction right now and follow the advice of public health.
4. DON’T FRET IF NO TEST
Not everyone needs a swab to test for COVID-19. You can do an online assessment tool to determine if you may have symptoms of COVID-19 online at covid19.thrive.health. You can call 8-1-1 to discuss your symptoms and plan for action with a nurse, and many family doctors can discuss with you by phone or virtually.
5. USE SOAP AND SLEEVES
Proper hand washing; using a tissue or your upper sleeve to sneeze; and keeping your hands away from your face are still the best lines of defence against infection.
6. STAY INFORMED
The province has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages from 7:30 am – 8:00 pm daily at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-4319.
Adapted from the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT BCCFP.BC.CA/COVID-