Dr. Ken Jones

Note: The following Live Well Polk column by Dr. Ken Jones, Floyd Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, was submitted by Floyd Medical Center for publication. – KtE

Now would be a great time for you to roll up your sleeve and the get the COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t received it already.

The public’s willingness to be vaccinated earlier this year made a tremendous impact on limiting the spread of the virus, and hospital admission rates in our area had dropped to single digits.

Then came the Delta variant, that is much easier to spread and has affected younger and healthier people at a higher rate than the original COVID-19 strain. Infections have quickly climbed back up, and many hospitals are seeing admission numbers similar to where they were in November and December of 2020.

While some people who have already been vaccinated have been infected with the Delta variant, the vaccine has proven effective for the overwhelming majority of those who have been fully vaccinated.

The vaccine can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. Additionally, even in cases of COVID-19 among the fully vaccinated, vaccines make it more likely that those people will have a milder and shorter illness compared to those who are unvaccinated.

People have every reason to trust the work that went into developing the vaccine. That process was not rushed. The required trials were similar to those of previous vaccinations and the observation period before approval was even longer.

What was fast-tracked was the process surrounding the bureaucracy and red tape that often accompanies the approval of vaccines. It is likely that full FDA approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could be weeks away, ending the emergency use authorization designation that initially allowed the vaccines to be given to the public.

The medical research shows that the vaccines are safe and that they work. We can vouch for that at Floyd because the overwhelming majority of the patients we are seeing now in the hospital are the unvaccinated.

There are also some half-truths and misrepresentations that have been circulating concerning the vaccines. It is important to be informed.

One of the biggest misrepresentation is that the vaccines will alter your DNA. There is nothing in the vaccines that will make that happen.

The COVID-19 vaccines are known as mRNA, or Messenger RNA vaccines. They teach cells how to make a protein to jumpstart antibody production to fight off infectious diseases.

The mRNA technology is nothing new. It has existed since the 1980s and was used to treat a viral inflammation of the eye. The same technology was used to create a vaccine to fight Zika, the virus spread by mosquitoes. It does not change your DNA.

Some people are under the impression that if you have had COVID-19 you have full immunity, so the shot is unnecessary. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Recovering from COVID-19 does provide some antibody protection against reinfection, but vaccinations help your body create a better overall immune response.

Studies have proven that receiving an mRNA vaccine after you have already been infected provides 20 to 70 times more protection against variants.
Also, there is no fetal tissue in the mRNA vaccines. An initial step for the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) was testing against existing fetal cell lines that have been around since the 1980s. Those current fetal cell lines are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue and do not contain any tissue from a fetus.
There is no indication that the vaccines cause infertility. Women who participated in the trial phase and others who were vaccinated later have been able to conceive. Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 have a higher risk of pre-term delivery or stillbirth in addition to a higher risk of maternal death.

Vaccination is a matter of public health and the best way to keep people free to enjoy their lives. Vaccines have effectively helped protect the public from a host of diseases, from polio to tetanus to smallpox. Mass vaccinations for smallpox were so effective you don’t even need a shot for that anymore.

We don’t want anyone to find themselves in the ICU getting treated for COVID-19. Protect yourself, your family and your friends.

You can schedule a vaccination at Polk Medical Center by calling 770.749.4125.

Kevin The Editor

The former Editor of The Polk County Standard Journal and a journalist with more than a decade of experience in Northwest Georgia, Kevin Myrick is the Editor and Publisher of Polk.Today. An Auburn graduate,...