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Hamilton County Health Officer Addresses COVID-19 Vaccine, Logistic Hurdle


Q: I’m overcoming this pandemic. Are you done?

A: We are all tired of the impact COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) (# If there is no character limit, add parentheses when it first appears It was in our daily life. However, it is important to remember that you cannot be vigilant. Yes, this pandemic is over and we get good news every day.

The ultimate answer to controlling this virus is the vaccine. There are several vaccines under development, some of which are nearing approval for use. Two vaccines, one from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech and one from Moderna, have been reported to be about 95% effective. This is incredibly good news as no vaccine is 100% perfect.

It also looks very safe. They are in the final stages of being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical trial data to determine if they can be approved for an emergency license (EUA). To its honor, the FDA takes a very careful approach to ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective if it is approved.

These two vaccines work in new ways. Since it does not contain the coronavirus itself, the vaccine cannot catch the disease. They contain small pieces of genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA), which produce a single harmless protein that is unique to the virus. It stimulates the immune response of the vaccinated person, so when exposed to the virus, the body is already prepared to react quickly and effectively to prevent infection and illness.

These vaccines have some logistical hurdles, such as the need to be stored at very low temperatures, but those hurdles have been addressed. The Hamilton County Health Department works closely with state and federal governments and is ready when the vaccine is ready. Most vaccines in production should be given a second dose (of the same vaccine) 21 or 28 days after the first dose.

There are more vaccines in studies that use other methods to stimulate the immune response. They will probably be available soon. They go through the same rigorous testing process required by the FDA.

When these vaccines are ready, they are first prioritized based on the individual’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 (such as front-line healthcare professionals) and individuals with risk factors for severe illness. .. As more vaccines emerge and supply increases, it is expected to be available to everyone by early to mid-next year. It is very important that everyone think seriously about this vaccination.

It is said that “vaccines do not help people, but vaccinations.” In other words, the best vaccines in the world are of no use unless they are in your arms. If you have further questions or concerns, please consult your healthcare provider or call the health department hotline 423-209-8383. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has always been a great resource and this is a good place to start.

So there are many reasons for hope for the future, as new vaccines are in the immediate vicinity. I likened this to a marathon. We are winning, we can start seeing the finish line in front of us, but we can’t stop and declare victory now. We continue to maintain known and effective public health measures such as wearing masks, social distance and good hygiene so that we can control this virus and stay healthy until vaccines are available. is needed. Hang in there. Together we can defeat this.

Paul Hendricks, MD, is a health officer at the Hamilton County Health Department and a member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.


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