Smallpox, polio and measles devastated mankind many, many moons ago.
Today, there’s still no cure for those diseases. Only one thing protects us from them – vaccines.
The same goes for the COVID-19 virus.
To date, it has killed more than 3.35 million people worldwide, and there’s no cure. The only thing that protects us from the virus is a vaccine.
Vaccines work, and history proves it, according to Dr. David George of Family & Internal Medicine Associates.
“The gold standard of vaccinations is the measles vaccination. It’s 98 percent effective,” Dr. George said. “These vaccines (for the COVID-19 virus) are 95 percent effective and very safe.”
But, currently, only 36 percent of the United States’ population has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Marion County’s vaccination rate is the same, 36 percent.
“That’s not good enough,” Dr. George said. “We’ve got to do better. We’re never going to get rid of this virus with that sort of vaccination rate.”
According to Dr. George, the No. 1 issue for his patients is fear. They are afraid to get the vaccine. And, he admits, when he was vaccinated back in December, he was fearful, too.
“But, I’m way more afraid of the virus itself,” he said.
In addition to being afraid, many of his patients who are refusing to get the vaccine don’t trust the government or the pharmaceutical industry.
“This pandemic was politicized from day one,” Dr. George said. “And that is one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever seen happen.”
Dr. George has also had patients tell him the vaccine is “so new” and that makes them fearful.
“My response is, there have been more than a billion doses given worldwide. You’re not a guinea pig,” he said. “A lot of people are sitting back and waiting for more people to receive the vaccination. More than 150 million vaccines have been administered in the U.S. I don’t know what you’re waiting for.”
And, as for the conspiracy theory that claims the COVID-19 pandemic is a cover for a plan to implant trackable microchips and that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is behind it. Dr. George has heard that one from a patient, too. His response?
“You really don’t think they can make a microchip that small it can fit through the tip of a needle, do you?” he said.
Myths aside, Dr. George continues to assure all of his patients of the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“If there is a problem with this vaccination 1.4 billion doses later, we would know that,” he said.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to include children 12 to 15 years old. Dr. George understands why parents, and children, might be hesitant. But, he firmly believes everyone should get vaccinated.
“We don’t vaccinate until we know it’s safe for all age groups,” he said. “If we don’t get more people vaccinated, this virus will not go away. We need to bury this virus.”
COVID-19 VACCINATION BREAKDOWN
Total population: 19,232
Total population vaccinated: 6,927 Percentage: 36.02 percent
18 years of age and older vaccinated: 6,814 Percentage: 46.88 percent
65 years of age and older vaccinated: 2,299 Percentage: 74.02 percent
Total population: 4,440,204
Total population vaccinated: 1,916,501 Percentage: 43 percent
18 years of age and older vaccinated: 1,848,731 Percentage: 54 percent
65 years of age and older vaccinated: 554,819 Percentage: 80 percent
Source: Kentucky COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard as of Monday morning.
BENEFITS OF GETTING THE COVID-19 VACCINE
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.
• Based on what the CDC knows about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine also helps keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
• Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
• COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection. COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
• COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. After getting vaccinated, you might have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. People are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
• COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone 12 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is the only one available to children 12 years and older.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINES
Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?
Yes. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will continue to study them for many years.
Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized and recommended for use in the United States: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and a viral vector vaccine. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the genetic material in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
Can CDC mandate that I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
No. The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for people. Additionally, CDC does not maintain or monitor a person’s vaccination records. Whether a state or local government or employer, for example, can require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.