COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–In less than a week, healthcare systems across Ohio will receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.
Designated as the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, experts warn that the injections may not provide complete virus immunity.
“This vaccine, like many vaccines, may not prevent you completely from getting the virus. It may prevent you from get severely ill with the virus,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas from The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.
According to experts, even those who receive the vaccine could still risk spreading it to others.
“We think that individuals still could become infected, still be spreading the virus to others even if they’ve been vaccinated. The science is still not really clear on that. I think once we see tens, or hundreds of thousands or more people be vaccinated, we’ll continue to learn more. It definitely reduces the risk of getting the infection, but it may not reduce it to zero,” Dr. Thomas said.
The U.K. began a mass vaccination rollout on Tuesday, and a pair of adverse reactions from healthcare have some experts cautioning people with a history of severe allergy symptoms.
“We need to monitor that when our patients are being treated with the vaccine, and we do have systems in place to make sure we catch those reactions,” Dr. Robert Weber with the Wexner Medical Center said.
Recipients will have to plan to stay on-site for some time after receiving the vaccine.
“Part of what we’re going to use that time for is to educate them about what to look for as side effects. But to also schedule their second vaccine dose,” said Dr. Thomas. “That’s going to be a really important part of making sure people come back for that second dose, depending on which vaccine you take.”
Ohio State will receive 975 doses next week, and will be administered at three sites to employees who are at risk of exposure, like those caring for patients in the intensive care unit, or COVID-exclusive units.
“We have all of the necessary storage available. We have the safety measures in place as well for giving the vaccine. We’re very encouraged by the data,” said Dr. Weber.
While many questions will be answered by Thursday’s Food and Drug Administration review, experts have said they know the vaccine will save lives.
“A 95% COVID-effectiveness prevention is very positive, and we’re very, very encouraged by that,” Dr. Weber said.
Experts from Ohio State explained it’s too early to support Dr. Fauci’s stance that those who have been infected should still get the vaccine.
They said there isn’t enough data yet, and they hope to have more clarity after the FDA’s review and the Emergency Use Authorization is approved.
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