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  • Writer's pictureDr Pittman

COVID Vaccines are here! Why I vaccinated: Part 1

On December 14 I had the privilege of receiving one of the first Pfizer COVID vaccines at Cass Lake Indian Hospital. A small group of Native elders and dedicated health care professionals gathered to honor the occasion. I am writing a series of posts as to why I decided to take the vaccine as an early adopter. Here is part one:

One concern about COVID vaccines is how fast they have been rolled out. Have we had enough time to really know this vaccine is safe? Usually vaccines take 10 years to come to market, (previous record is 4). The staged process to study safety and effectiveness has been accelerated for COVID with companies able to apply for emergency use authorization after only 2 months of favorable phase 3 data. There is a scientific basis for this. In the history of vaccine development it is rare to have a serious adverse reaction show up after the first 6 weeks of phase 3. It is true we will learn more as the number vaccinated increases into the millions. There is a robust system in place to report and analyze adverse events as they come in. So is there an early adopter guinea pig risk? Yes, but for most of us it is tiny compared to the risks of getting and spreading COVID 19. The heroes who signed up for the trials took the bigger risk for us and we owe them our thanks. Stay tuned for more about how the current vaccines work and what risks there may be for people with medical conditions like autoimmunity, allergies, cancer, and immune suppression. In the meantime mask up, wash your hands, reach out to the isolated and focus on gratitude this holiday season. Vaccines are something to be thankful for!

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