Perspective is essential from various angles, so I am writing the COVID vaccine – a doctor's perspective.
I received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today, and when I stayed for observation afterward, I had 20 minutes to think about it, a rare opportunity for a few moments of complete rest.
My mind is usually multitasking as it was from my busy younger years, but not this morning.
I thought about the many earthly lives lost by this virus and the loved ones who stayed behind to remember them, including those who somehow touched me. Why am I here at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning to get vaccinated? ‘If it works, is it safe, what are the alternatives, will it make a difference,' I thought to myself. Questions like these are commonplace in the office and now I ask them.
No vaccine is 100 percent effective – it has never been – but the data on that vaccine are pretty good so far. Dedicated, skilled, world-class scientists put their heads together and create them.
The unvarnished truth is that this vaccine was developed in record time and the safety profile is favorable. There is always a risk involved in taking a vaccine, biological vaccine, or medication. Weighing up the potential risks and benefits is the individual responsibility. The scales have tipped in favor of the benefits of this scale in my opinion.
Alternatives? Few. This is a public health emergency and our tools are limited. What would I do if I ran into someone in a parking lot while they were in cardiac arrest? I don't have my defibrillator with me. I would use the tools and skills that were available to me at the time. Medical Emergency 101: Use What You Have And Make The Most Of It.
Saving a life makes a difference. Checked this box. As her doctor, I meet many good people on a regular basis. They, in turn, are with others in their daily life. I have to stay sane to serve them and I don't want to be a source of dissemination.
Vaccine supply remains a limiting factor, but that will improve. The public health and other agencies are working feverishly to advance this needle, and your first responders, nurses, doctors and other health professionals are making great sacrifices to combat this intruder. Believe that.
Local health districts are a good source of coordinated information. Stay connected with them and rely on them.
Sunshine is shining at the end of this dark tunnel and I think we'll be there sooner with the vaccination.
Peter J. Kambelos, MD, FACP
Dr. Kambelos is an Internal Medicine Specialist in Green Township and a Trustee in Pierce Township