WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Many people remain unvaccinated, whether they’re waiting for FDA approval, fear possible side effects or just don’t feel the need for it.
Because so many questions still remain, MSU Medical Director Dr. Keith Williamson joined anchor Lauren Linville for the 6 p.m. show on Friday, June 4, to respond to some common concerns.
Q: Do I have to be tested for COVID-19 if I’m vaccinated?
A: If you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t have to get tested if you’ve just been exposed. However, if you’re sick and have symptoms that would suggest [COVID-19], yeah. It’s not a perfect vaccine. Just a few will get it, but you can get it after being vaccinated.
Q: How is the COVID-19 vaccine safe if it was rapidly developed and tested?
A: The speed of development is astounding, but you have to look at it in context. We started dealing with coronaviruses 20 years ago, and that’s really when the vaccine development studies started. There has been funding to support this because it’s a worldwide crisis. There have been a huge number of cases, which makes it easy to get your experimental numbers up. And they were able to overlap the phases of the trial. It’s been a rapid development, but this is really how vaccines should be developed.
Q: Is it true that more people will die as a result of a negative side effect to the COVID-19 vaccine than would actually die from the virus?
A: That’s almost astounding to hear. The death rate from the virus is 1-2%, and that is well over a thousand times more than you would get any problem from the vaccine. It’s variable. It’s a difficult number because young people are less likely to die from COVID than are older people, but overall, the vaccine side effects are 1 to 3 orders of magnitude different. The vaccine is safer.
Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility or miscarriage?
A: I’ve heard that one about fertility before, and there’s a post on the internet about similar proteins in the placenta and in this vaccine. But the similarity is such a brief similarity, it’s like having written all of Shakespeare from a brief phrase like “To be or not to be.” That does not constitute “Hamlet.”
Q: Can the vaccine change your DNA?
A: Oh, that’s easy: No.
Q: How dangerous are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Well, the common side effects are not dangerous. They’ll make you feel poorly for a day or two, but it’s better than feeling poorly for a week or two with COVID. There are a few rare, rare, rare side effects: anaphylaxis – if you have an overwhelming allergic reaction to the vaccine, that can be dangerous. And then with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there was about 5 cases per million, maybe a few more, of these blood clots that formed, which were really dangerous when we didn’t know how to treat them. But now they’ve been defined, and we know how to treat them: what to avoid, what mistakes to avoid, and they’re very treatable. It’s extremely rare to have a life-threatening side effect.
Q: If there’s somebody still on the fence, what would you say to them?
A: Medicine and taking care of people is something I’ve dedicated my entire life to, and I am not in the habit of injuring my patients. I strongly recommend it, so professional guidance is: get the vaccine. It’s good for you, it’s good for the community, it’s good for the economy. Everybody, whatever their individual issue is, should say “This is something to celebrate!” And we’ve got an opportunity to take that vaccine now because the rates are so low. Let’s take advantage of that before it comes back in the fall.
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