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Here’s the Latest Research on Vaccine Effectiveness

Many tragic stories result from the coronavirus pandemic. One of the more recent ones concerns an Alabama man who died of a heart attack this month after being turned away from 43 hospitals in three different states. There was no room for him in any of the intensive care units because they were too full of patients being treated for COVID-19, most of whom had not been vaccinated.

The 73-year-old man, who received the vaccine, required specialized cardiac care he was unable to receive from his local hospital.

Our primary care doctors at Cohen Medical Associates in Delray Beach know that many are still hesitant to receive the vaccines for many reasons. One of them is concern about their effectiveness. Another is the misinformation spreading about the supposed dangers of vaccines.

So we’d like to address both of those issues here.

New findings on the vaccine effectiveness

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a series of studies that confirmed the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines against the delta variant, which has become the predominant variant in this country.

Taken altogether, vaccines are 86 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations. Separately, the Moderna vaccine was found to be the best at preventing hospitalizations (95 percent) than either the Pfizer-Moderna vaccine (80 percent) or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (60 percent). That study was based on information provided by hospitals, emergency departments, and urgent-care clinics encompassing 32,000 patients from June through early August.

Another of the studies discovered that those without their vaccinations this spring and summer were more than five times more likely to become infected, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19, than those who were fully vaccinated.

In contrast, the CDC reports, “During April 4-June 19, fully vaccinated persons accounted for five percent of cases [of infection], seven percent of hospitalizations, and eight percent of deaths overall; these percentages were higher during June 20-July 17 (18 percent, 14 percent, and 16 percent, respectively).”

This report concludes, “Vaccination offers strong protection against COVID-19.”

Correcting vaccine effectiveness rumors

Unfortunately, as we mentioned above, many are still hesitant to become vaccinated. The continued widespread misinformation about the vaccines’ side effects plays a role in this. Here are some of the more recent false myths we’ve heard lately.

None of the coronavirus vaccines cause impotence or infertility.

Asked about this possibility after this recent rumor went viral, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen . . . the answer to your question is no.”

Catching COVID-19 may cause both, however.

A study from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine published this past May was the first to demonstrate that COVID-19 can be present in the tissue of the penis long after men recover from the virus. The small study found widespread blood vessel (endothelial) dysfunction in two men as a result of infection with COVID-19. This syndrome can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED).

None of the vaccines can change your DNA or RNA.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines contain messenger RNA (mRNA). Messenger RNA enters your cells to teach them how to fight the virus. It does not enter the nucleus where the DNA resides.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘I’m not getting the vaccine because it will alter my DNA and RNA,’ ” Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida, told WKMG in Orlando.

“No, the mRNA breaks down quickly after entering people’s cells and is unable to alter your DNA.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not use mRNA. Scientists create it using a more traditional method, an inactivated adenovirus, to teach your body to recognize the coronavirus.

The chances of your dying after receiving a vaccine for the coronavirus are extremely remote.

The CDC has received reports of 7,439 deaths following vaccination. This represents 0.0020 percent of the more than 375 million doses already distributed in the U.S.

It is a requirement for healthcare providers to report any death or “adverse event” after vaccination. This means at least some of these deaths were likely pure coincidence, and not caused by the vaccine.

Vaccination is better than the virus

We are nearing three-quarters of a million Americans who have died from the coronavirus (current total: approximately 650,000). People who never thought they could catch it have died from it. Those who intended to get the vaccine but hadn’t yet done so have died from it.

And yes, some of those who have the vaccine have died from it. But, those numbers are far smaller than they would have been without the vaccines. And no vaccine offers 100 percent protection.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of those sick enough to be hospitalized or to die from COVID-19 have not been vaccinated against it.

And remember, every time the virus infects a host body, it gets another chance to mutate into something more dangerous.

If you hear any rumors or have any questions about the coronavirus vaccine’s effectiveness, please contact us.

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