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“Better than nothing”: Doctors encourage high-risk patients to be vaccinated



Life on the island may seem normal at first glance as the COVID-19 vaccine adds a protective layer, but patients with a weakened immune system, whether vaccinated or not, may be vaccinated. You may face the threat of infection.

This is because vaccines currently on the market may not be effective for people with immunodeficiency due to hereditary diseases, illnesses, recent organ transplants, medications, etc. Some studies have shown.

Nearly 7 out of 10 patients seen by Dr. Tarquin Collis fall into this category. He said he advised him to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the person responsible for the infectious disease at the Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center. The ability to produce antibodies against the coronavirus can be impaired..

“Vaccination is still incredibly useful,” he said. “If you only provide partial protection, it’s definitely better than nothing.”

Alexis Lagasca, a full-time nurse at the Kalihi Palama Health Center, is vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Church of St. Elizabeth.
Patients with weakened immunity may face the threat of COVID-19 infection, whether or not they are vaccinated against respiratory illness. Collie Lamb / Civil Beat / 2021

Dr. Jennifer Mubutia, an allergist and clinical immunologist with expertise in vaccines and vaccine immunology at The Queen’s Health Systems, also agreed. She emphasized that people with weakened immune systems need to avoid crowds and continue pandemic precautions, despite the relaxation of official mask restrictions and social distances.

“Evidence shows that the response is slowing, but the response is not zero,” she said. “Antibody reactions are just one part of the story of how the immune system creates new memories and protects its body.”

Vaccines work by stimulating the body’s immune system to make antibodies against certain viruses. However, the task is complicated for patients with immunodeficiency caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, and for patients taking immunosuppressive drugs.

It raises concerns that their vaccination may have gone wrong.

Is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention People whose immune system is weakened by HIV, autoimmune diseases, or other illnesses or drugs can “get the COVID-19 vaccine”, but “limited safety data” and “immunity response reduced It is necessary to pay attention to “the possibility of doing”.

There are many factors to consider, such as the type of medication the patient is using and the frequency of treatment. Perhaps there is a certain amount of time between taking immunosuppressive drugs that patients are most likely to benefit from the vaccine. People should discuss these issues with their doctor, Mubusia said.

“Many of them are due to individual clinical situations,” she said.

Corris says it’s common to check antibody levels after someone has been vaccinated against COVID-19, but at this point, Determine if someone is protected from infection or illness..

He said that over-the-counter antibody tests currently on the market can tell patients the presence of antibodies, but cannot provide details about the number or efficacy of antibodies.

Dr. Tarquin Collis is responsible for infectious diseases at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center. Courtesy Kaiser Permanente

The accuracy of such antibody tests also varies.

“It’s like trying to predict the weather by sticking a thermometer on the lawn in the front yard without making subtle predictions of atmospheric pressure, radar, wind speeds and tide tables,” says Corris.

“I can’t really act on the results and I don’t know how to interpret them. Immunosuppression is this incredibly complex four-dimensional thing.”

The patient has come to Corris with concerns that the underlying condition may worsen, which he has never seen at Oa Kaiser Permanente Hospital.

“This is another message I’m trying to convey. Don’t avoid vaccines just because you’re worried about the underlying illness,” he said.

It is not yet known how long an antibody that fights SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can stay in someone’s system. Researchers are still trying to determine if it’s perfect. Vaccinated people are less infectious.

Study in England Follow 7,000 people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis in 90 hospitals It was found that less than half of the patients who took a drug called Remicade started an immune response after being infected with the coronavirus.

JAMA Journal Articles Of the more than 400 transplant recipients who received a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine, only 17% had traceable antibodies. 3 weeks after shooting.

Mbuthia and Collis hope that booster shots could play a role in ensuring continued protection, especially for people with immunodeficiency, in the future.

The next thing they should do is make sure the whole family is vaccinated, they said.

“You can protect your loved ones by being vaccinated yourself,” says Mbuthia.

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