Written by John Ferrari
With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, particularly related to the Delta
variant, we continue to encourage unvaccinated community members to get
the vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved
ones. Yes, breakthrough cases are occurring, in which vaccinated individuals
are developing COVID-19. However, in those cases, the vaccine has helped
reduce the severity and duration of the illness. The vaccine works.
While California is not a current hot spot for new infections, there is
a surge happening here, is there a hurry to get vaccinated?
The virus causing COVID-19 is still widespread throughout the United States,
including Southern California. The total number of people who’ve
become ill with COVID-19 – including those who’ve become seriously
ill, requiring hospitalization, and those who have died from COVID-19
– will only increase. People are coming down with COVID-19 every
day and, tragically, people are dying of COVID-19 every day, right here
in Southern California. Why wait and take chances when a safe and effective
vaccine is available right now?
COVID-19 has been a pandemic for 18 months, and I haven’t gotten
sick yet, so I’ll be OK without the vaccine.
Just because you haven’t come down with COVID-19 yet doesn’t
mean you won’t become sick eventually. The Delta variant, responsible
for more than 80% of newly reported COVID-19 cases in the United States,
is particularly concerning because it is more than twice as infectious
as the earlier strain of the virus. The Delta variant is even more contagious
than the common cold or flu.
I’m young – if I get COVID-19 it won’t be serious.
Even younger individuals with no other medical issues can become very ill,
and possibly die, from COVID-19. In mid-August, children accounted for
18% of newly reported cases across the nation. The newer Delta variant
seems to affect younger individuals more than the original strain did.
At Torrance Memorial, most of the patients currently hospitalized with
COVID-19 are people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
There are so many breakthrough cases that getting the vaccine doesn’t
even seem worth it.
There are some breakthrough cases – in which vaccinated individuals
still contract COVID-19 – but the vaccines are very effective. The
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, for example, is almost 90% effective in preventing
symptomatic cases, and 96% effective in preventing hospitalization, in
individuals infected with the Delta variant. At Torrance Memorial, nearly
all patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. If
you’ve been fully vaccinated the odds of coming down with a breakthrough
case are small, and the odds of a serious case are even smaller.
COVID-19 is just something we’re going to have to learn to live with,
like the flu.
Some epidemiologists believe the virus causing COVID-19 will become endemic;
that is, it will continue to circulate and cause illness, much like the
flu. Just as a flu shot reduces your risk of catching the flu and decreases
the severity of your illness if you do come down with the flu the COVID-19
vaccine reduces your risk of catching COVID-19 and, even more, your risk
of serious illness from the virus. The mortality rate of COVID-19 is much
higher than most strains of the flu—possibly 10 times higher. However,
COVID-19 vaccines are much more effective than flu vaccines, too.They
decrease your risk of catching COVID-19 much more than a flu shot decreases
your risk of catching the flu.
The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) haven’t been tested enough.
mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for decades, and the COVID-19
vaccines are held to the same safety and effectiveness standards the FDA
uses to approve all vaccines. They were evaluated in tens of thousands
of individuals in clinical tests, and since they were approved for use
more than 360 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been given in
the United States. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to
undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. If you are
uncomfortable receiving an mRNA vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
is available and is a “traditional” vaccine.
For more information and to find a vaccine clinic near your, visit
COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Crank Up Your Protection with a Third Dose “Booster” Shot
By now you have probably heard about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots –
here’s what you need to know:
Why do I need a booster?
The vaccines remain very effective at protecting people from COVID-19,
especially serious cases requiring hospitalization. However, the vaccines’
effectiveness may wane over time.
When can I get a booster shot?
Individuals with compromised immune systems should talk to their doctor
to see if they are eligible to receive a third dose right now. The FDA
is currently reviewing data for expanding eligibility to include all individuals,
starting eight months after receiving a second dose. An announcement is
expected at the end of September, but not confirmed as Advantage went
to print. Torrance Memorial will not be holding public vaccination clinics.
Please consult with your doctor first and visit MyTurn.ca.gov to find
a vaccination clinic near you.
What vaccine should I get?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends individuals receive a third
shot of the same vaccine they received earlier, whether it was Pfizer-BioNTech
What if I received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
It’s likely a booster shot will be recommended, but at the time Advantage
went to print the CDC was still evaluating the data for that vaccine.
What’s the bottom line?
Studies show that overall the vaccines are remarkably effective in stopping
COVID-19: 55% effective against all infections, 80% against symptomatic
infection and at least 90% against hospitalization. However, to stay ahead
of the virus – especially the more contagious Delta variant –
a booster shot maximizes protection.