Questions and answers in Craig’s ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Part 1
This week, are vaccines killing people? Is the Delta variant caused or influenced by the vaccines?
As Moffat County continues to struggle with an anemic vaccination rate — leading in part to full COVID-19 units and a recent uptick in COVID-19 deaths — some residents continue to have questions about the virus and the vaccine produced to prevent it.
In an effort to address head-on some of these questions about the virus and the vaccine, the Craig Press went to experts to present the facts.
Much is not yet known about the virus, but there is a great deal of information that is known. The vaccine is no different. Definitive empirical studies have researchers and medical personnel stocked full with facts and confidence in their recommendations.
But what is true and what isn’t? Facts could help save lives.
That led the Craig Press to Memorial Regional Health chief operating officer and vice president Jennifer Riley, who took a list of common questions or potential myths about the vaccine and the virus and went to sources to find answers. In a series of articles, starting with this one, answers from experts to these questions or statements will be printed in this space. We’ll address one or two at a time.
Question one: Is the vaccine dangerous?
The statement: People (on the order of thousands) have died from this ‘experimental’ vaccine.
MRH: False. (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html for reference)
The facts are as follows: Nearly 350 million doses of the three authorized vaccines have been administered; fewer than 600 recipients have reported confirmed severe adverse effects.
Healthcare providers are required to report any death after a COVID-19 vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system (VAERS), even if they don’t know for certain the cause of death. Reports of adverse events following the vaccine, including death, do not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the adverse reaction.
The link above includes the following: “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicates plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event — blood clots with low platelets — which has caused deaths.”
Other adverse events or side effects include:
- Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, is very rare. It has occurred in about 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated. Anaphylaxis can occur after any vaccination. Healthcare providers who are giving the vaccine and prepared to treat this reaction.
- Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS, characterized by blood clots combined with low platelet levels) after Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also very rare. “As of June 28, 2021, more than 12.3 million doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States. CDC and FDA identified 38 confirmed reports of people who got the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and later developed TTS. Women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen. To date, one confirmed case of TTS following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Moderna) has been reported to VAERS after more than 311 million doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered in the United States. Based on available data, there is not an increased risk for TTS after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.” (This is also quoting from the CDC website)
- Myocarditis (heart inflammation) and pericarditis (inflammation around the heart) are also rare. From the CDC linked above: “As of June 28, 2021, VAERS has received 780 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis among people ages 30 and younger who received COVID-19 vaccine. Most cases have been reported after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), particularly in male adolescents and young adults. Through follow-up, including medical record reviews, CDC and FDA have confirmed 518 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis. CDC and its partners are investigating these reports to assess whether there is a relationship to COVID-19 vaccination.” Also, referenced from another CDC page, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/myocarditis.html, these reactions are treatable and generally much less severe than myocarditis and pericarditis seen as a result of COVID-19 itself.
Question 2: What’s causing the Delta Variant?
The statement: The reason the Delta Variant is spreading is because of the vaccine.
MRH: False (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html for reference).
None of the three vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States contains a live virus. The term “vaccine shedding” describes the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside the body. This can ONLY happen if the vaccine is made up of a weakened version of the virus. Vaccine components are not shed by any of the COVID-19 vaccines, so it is not possible for any of the vaccine components to accumulate in the body’s tissue or organs.
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