Tulsa infectious disease expert answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

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TULSA, Oklahoma. – The city of Tulsa held a press conference on Friday to allow local hospital leaders and health experts to answer common questions about COVID-19.

The virtual press conference came as virus cases and hospitalizations increase in the region mainly due to the unvaccinated population.

MORE >>> Mayor of Tulsa does not consider new order for masks, urges vaccinations

“It has become an unvaccinated pandemic,” Ascension St. John CEO Jeff Nowlin said on Friday.

Dr. Anuj Malik, Ascension St. John’s Medical Director of Infectious Diseases, began the medical discussion by addressing several commonly heard reasons why the unvaccinated population has chosen to stay that way.

“‘I’m waiting to see if there will be any long term side effects, the vaccine has been out too short a time and it has been developed very quickly,'” Malik says is the most common response he hears when he asks patients why they are not getting vaccinated.

“At least 600-700 million doses have been administered in the past 8-9 months,” said Malik.

“If major side effects were to occur, we would have seen them. “

Malik says vaccines used in the United States, primarily Pfizer and Moderna, have been 85-90% effective in preventing infection and even more effective in preventing people from being hospitalized or dying.

He says that one day this week he had 21 patients in intensive care, 20 of whom were unvaccinated and one who only received one dose.

“What I’m trying to understand is that the vast majority of people hospitalized are not vaccinated,” said Malik.

“People who are vaccinated can get the infection, but they don’t get very sick because the immune system is able to stop the virus.”

Malik went on to respond to concerns about vaccines being developed “too quickly”.

“The only reason it developed so quickly was that there was a sense of urgency in all of the drug companies, and basically they shut down all of their other projects to focus on one project,” he says. .

He thanked the government during the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed ​​for providing the funding to take the mRNA knowledge that the scientific community already had and use it to develop vaccines as quickly as possible. they did it.

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