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Q: How does a vaccine work?
A: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine works like common older vaccines, which expose your body to a dead piece of the virus that the body will develop antibodies towards. Pfizer and Moderna use an amazing new technology that may have a lot of potential in the future in treating many diseases and possibly cancers. These vaccines use mRNA to give the body instructions on how to make antibodies to COVID. All the vaccines produce IgG antibodies just like most other well-known vaccines. These are antibodies that live inside your body, and when something bad gets in, they are activated to kill the virus. You can still get ill from COVID and infect others, but you will get less sick as the antibodies keep the virus from becoming full blown. You will produce significantly less virus numbers, which produce a muted viral illness that is less infectious. This is why you are 10 times less likely to end up in the hospital and 11 times less likely to die. (People ask why not make the vaccines so they keep you from getting the virus at all. We have vaccines like those but typically avoid them because they produce only IgA antibodies that sit on mucous membranes. If those vaccines fail, then you have nothing in the body to protect you anymore, and you will get a full-blown viral response.)
Q: If I get the vaccine, can I still get COVID? Can I still spread the virus to others? If so, what is the point to getting the vaccine?
A: Vaccines work by increasing the body’s immune response to that specific virus. No vaccine is 100% effective. Just like influenza, you can still get infected with the COVID virus. In this case, the vaccine will help you fight off the virus more efficiently. The goal of the vaccine is to prevent serious complications and death due to COVID infection.
Q: What is in the vaccine? What are the redacted ingredients on the FDA website? How do you perform true informed consent on a vaccine when you don't even know all of the ingredients?
A: A complete list of the ingredients in the COVID vaccine can be found on each of the company’s websites. The CDC also has a summary of the ingredients for each vaccine. There are no redacted ingredients in either location. In a summary report from the FDA, which gave final approval to the vaccine, one ingredient was redacted. That ingredient was sterile water, which isn’t an ingredient as packaged but is added for dilution just prior to injection. This redaction has since been removed. The only active ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is mRNA. That tells our bodies how to make a viral protein that triggers an immune response and forms the antibodies that prevent and fight infection. mRNA never reaches the nucleus of the cell (where DNA is stored), so any thought that the vaccine alters DNA is simply not true. The rest of the ingredients are inactive and vary slightly between manufacturers. Pfizer contains a lipid to help facilitate transport of mRNA into the cell, a salt to help balance the body’s acidity and a sugar to help maintain structure during freezing. Moderna has all of these elements along with an acid stabilizer. Johnson & Johnson doesn’t use the mRNA technology. It’s ingredients include a modified and harmless version of Adenovirus 26, acid, salt, sugar and ethanol.
Q: Whose facts? Where did HCMC providers get their information about the vaccine?
A: The American Board of Family Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine and the APP require by our certifications that we not spread misinformation about COVID, COVID treatments or COVID vaccines. Our boards of certification recognize the FDA, CDC, manufacturers’ educational materials and multiple studies as reported in peer-reviewed medical journals, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and BMJ, as well as research by leading institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University. The CDC, state health departments and our boards all agree that:
- COVID vaccinations reduce COVID-related deaths.
- Failure to get vaccinated increases the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID.
- There is no substitute for vaccination against COVID.
Q: Do you have any information about how the efficacy of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines decreases over time?
A: Just like natural immunity from actually having had COVID, the body makes antibodies to the specific virus/mRNA in the vaccine. The farther out you are from contact with that virus, the weaker your immunity can be. We do not know how long the immunity will last with the vaccine, but we know that it will wane over time. This is also true of the natural immunity provided by infection, which is why vaccination is recommended even if you’ve had COVID in the past.
Q: Why are we going crazy, politicizing and promoting a vaccine for a disease that has a 1.3% infection rate per year? We should not be vaccinating for a disease that is so low.
A: So far, approximately 13% of all Americans have had the virus, totalling 44 million cases and 701,000 deaths. Any chance to decrease the rate of serious complications or death due to a preventable cause should be considered. Worldwide, COVID-19 is the fourth largest cause of death since the beginning of 2020. The U.S. ranks #1 in the total number of deaths for any country in the world. The COVID vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of death and hospitalization by 76.7%. Current studies state that 98 to 99% of all deaths related to COVID infections since May of 2021 were in the unvaccinated.
Q: Why are nanoparticles in the mRNA vaccine fully programmable?
A: The “nanoparticles” in the vaccine refer to the small fat globules that help the mRNA vaccine get picked up by the cells of the body. These particles are not mechanical in any way and are not “programmable.”
Q: Since COVID doesn’t affect children as severely as adults, do we really need to get our kids vaccinated when it becomes available? Should we be more hesitant about giving this new type of vaccine to children since their bodies are still developing? Could it have different side effects for them than it had on adults?
A: While fewer children have been infected (or at least symptomatic) with COVID-19, they can still get a symptomatic case, which could become serious. Even if mildly symptomatic, children can still be infected and spread the virus. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic, and children being vaccinated is an important part of that. All of the COVID-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. have been proven safe and effective. There is no evidence to indicate that would be any different for our pediatric population.
Q: Can women who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant safely take the vaccine? Does the vaccine impact fertility?
A: Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend all pregnant and lactating individuals get one of the COVID-19 vaccines. There is no reason to think the vaccine impacts fertility.
Q: Should younger kids get the vaccine, even if they aren’t of age approved?
A: Children ages 12 to 18 are able to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine clinical trials are now including children. More children will likely become eligible to receive vaccines once we have more data from these ongoing clinical trials.
Q: I’ve heard the vaccine is more likely to cause an adverse reaction if you’ve recently recovered from the virus. Is this true? I’ve heard that you should wait 90 days after recovery. Is there a recommended waiting period?
A: There is no data to support a high risk of adverse reaction if a person has recently recovered from COVID-19 illness. The recommendation is to wait until you have recovered from the virus and have met all criteria for discontinuation of isolation precautions. In addition, a person exposed to COVID-19 should avoid vaccination until the quarantine period has been completed. Individuals who have received monoclonal antibody treatment or convalescent plasma for COVID-19 illness should wait 90 days before vaccination.
Q: My family had the virus last year. Why is getting the vaccine better or different than the natural immunity already gained from the actual virus?
A: Natural immunity is not better and typically lasts less than 90 days. The COVID-19 vaccines create more effective and longer-lasting immunity than natural immunity from infection. mRNA vaccines have been proven effective for more than six months.
Q: If there is a family history of blood clots, is the vaccine safe?
A: A rare complication called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in six women under the age of 50. This is a blood clot seen also in the setting of low platelets. Risk of clot is much higher due to COVID-19 illness.
Q: Why is natural immunity from COVID-19 not being considered when more and more research is coming out that individuals with a prior confirmed case of COVID-19 are forming antibodies that are proving to be just as effective as the vaccine? Why did the World Health Organization say in its scientific brief dated May 10, 2021, "Natural infection may provide similar protection against symptomatic disease as vaccination," yet the CDC won't acknowledge the same? Isn't it time to look at the scientific data showing that natural immunity from prior COVID-19 infection is not only as protective but may actually be more protective than a vaccine and that prior infection may also increase the risk for serious adverse vaccine reactions? If we keep following those with prior infection, isn't it possible we will likely see that antibodies endure long-term against COVID as they do for SARS and MERS, which are very similar? How will we know this now since the CDC is no longer recording breakthrough COVID cases but only recording breakthrough cases in patients who are hospitalized or die? Why don’t they record all cases of COVID in the vaccinated and unvaccinated so we can get a better picture with how effective the vaccine truly is?
A: Natural immunity will only last so long. Breakthrough infections occur both in people who have been vaccinated and in people who have had the infection previously. It is true that the total amount of antibodies produced in the process of natural immunity appears to be higher, but these antibodies also wane over time and are not long-lasting, according to current studies. We do not know how long the immunity lasts because the virus has not been around that long. We only discovered how much vaccine to give for MMR and varicella after years of research, checking antibody levels and different doses of the vaccine. With vaccination, you are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized and 11 times less likely to die from COVID. The U.S. spent $3.2 billion on unvaccinated COVID patients in the hospital in June and July. Using the above numbers this means $320 million was spent on vaccinated patients. So vaccination saves $2.9 billion vs. an unvaccinated status.
Q: Do you have any information about "shedding”?
A: Vaccine shedding is a term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when the vaccine contains a live virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus.
Q: What are the side effects of the vaccine? Is it too early to know what the long-term impact will be?
A: Common side effects of the vaccine include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. Fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea can also occur but should last a few days at the most. Many people have mild side effects, and some have none. You absolutely cannot contract COVID from the vaccine.
Q: What are the chances that side effects from the vaccine will occur five to 10 years from now?
A: Serious side effects that could cause long-term health problems are extremely unlikely following any vaccination. Historically, side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose.
Q: Why trust the vaccines when they keep adding more boosters, more side effects and more people keep getting COVID, spreading it and dying regardless of the vaccines?
A: Vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of death and hospitalization by 76.7%. Current studies state that 98 to 99% of all deaths related to COVID infections since May of 2021 are in the unvaccinated. With vaccination, you are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized and 11 times less likely to die from COVID. We do not know how long the immunity lasts because the virus has not been around that long.
Q: Why are vaccinated people being hospitalized? It seems they are more of a burden on the healthcare system than the people relying on their own natural immunity. A case study on the CDC website states that 74% of positive cases were vaccinated.
A: The data from this study is derived from a single outbreak in Barnstable, MA. The study has multiple limitations, which can be found near the bottom of the document. More importantly, the results from this report have not been replicated nationally as greater than 90% of patients currently hospitalized with COVID across the country are unvaccinated. This is not to say that a vaccinated individual absolutely will not need to be hospitalized as breakthrough cases can and will happen (especially in the high-risk population), but that risk is substantially decreased with help from the vaccine.
Q: Is there big pharma money at stake if we use human ivermectin, which is proven safe and effective to fight COVID-19?
A: Ivermectin is a medication that is made by multiple different pharmaceutical companies, including Merck in the United states. Ivermectin is indicated for parasite infections (worms, lice, etc). Two studies showed significant effects, but these were removed from publication after it was found that they falsified data and/or plagiarized. Large groups of studies have shown no clinical benefit to ivermectin in the treatment of COVID or in the reduction of side effects.
Q: Has the vaccine caused any deaths?
A: Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 390 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the U.S. from Dec. 14, 2020, through Sept. 27, 2021. During this time, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System received 8,164 reports of death (0.0021%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. If someone receives both vaccinations and then dies in a car accident, of an infection or even homicide within a certain amount of time, this is reported as an adverse event to VAERS. Reports of adverse events following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. There are three deaths that appear to be linked to blood clots that occurred after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We now know who is at risk and how to correctly treat these blood clots, so the risk of future deaths from this side effect can be prevented. Other than that, no deaths have been directly linked to vaccination.
Q: Do doctors get government payouts to push the vaccine?
A: No. That would be against the Sunshine Act of 2010.
Q: Why should I trust people trying to sell me something that only half works and has a massive profit margin for the people trying to mandate it?
A: We believe that the vaccine does work as intended as a way to decrease the likelihood of serious complications from the disease including death. The CDC, FDA, state governments and medical providers do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending the vaccine. COVID vaccines do not cost patients anything other than the taxpayer money that was used to purchase the vaccinations in the first place. With vaccination, you are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized and 11 times less likely to die from COVID. The U.S. spent $3.2 billion on unvaccinated COVID patients in the hospital in June and July and only $320 million on vaccinated patients. Basically, treat it like insurance: a little bit of cost now to cover a potential huge cost later.