The Conversation – As an emergency medicine and critical care doctor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, I’ve lost count of the number of COVID-19 surges since the U.S. pandemic began in Seattle in February 2020.
But this one feels different. The patients are younger. They have fewer preexisting medical conditions.
And at my hospital, over 95% of these hospitalized patients share one common feature: They’re unvaccinated.
While I’m grateful to see news of the FDA’s recent full approval of one of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, the science has been clear in my mind for quite some time.
mRNA vaccines, first developed over nearly 50 years, are nothing short of a miracle of science designed for situations just like a respiratory virus pandemic.
“Too many times I’ve been asked by a family member of a dying patient with COVID-19 if it was too late for the vaccine. Too many times, I’ve had to say yes. The next question is often, ‘Is there anything else that can be done?’ Too often, the answer is no.”
The vaccines are the most effective tool we have to prevent severe illness and hospitalization and protect our precious health care resources. Some of my colleagues just published a study showing exactly this.
Of course, every medical treatment has risks and potential side effects, but we’ve witnessed the world’s largest vaccine trial, with more than 200 million people in the U.S. receiving at least one dose.
Doctors can confidently say that vaccine side effects are rare and generally mild, and rumors about vaccines altering DNA or causing infertility are completely unfounded, with no scientific basis.
But I also have sympathy for those who fell victim to disinformation. Too many times I’ve been asked by a family member of a dying patient with COVID-19 if it was too late for the vaccine. Too many times, I’ve had to say yes.
The next question is often, “Is there anything else that can be done?” Too often, the answer is no.
Having this conversation over and over again, often over teleconferencing software or the phone, is exhausting and profoundly sad … READ MORE.