How a little prick can save the world - (5/4/2021)

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

A new CNN poll revealed that roughly 25% of Americans will not get the coronavirus vaccine designed to stop the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The United States, not to mention the planet, needs 70% to 85% of the population vaccinated so that we can get back to normal. This is called herd immunity. That is, a certain percentage of a population must either be vaccinated or will naturally develop antibodies after recovering from the virus.

The pharmacist believes in vaccines for all sorts of viruses that used to kill us – or at least make us pretty darn sick. Polio, hepatitis A and B, influenza, shingles, smallpox, and yellow fever are now controlled via immunization. So, when people refuse to get the vaccine free of charge, the pharmacist knows we have entered Scary Town. Because the virus will keep circling the globe, mutating, and making vaccinations less effective and our lives more isolated. 

Why do some people refuse to get the COVID vaccine? Here is a recent and troubling example. A pricy, private school in Miami has banned teachers who received the COVID-19 vaccine because of "shedding" fears. Teachers were notified by the school administrator that recently vaccinated people could not be near students until safety has been proven. The school's co-founder, Leila Centner, claimed that people who had received the vaccine can in some way shed the spike protein, which in turn can cause menstrual irregularities, miscarriages, and sterility in other women just by being near vaccinated people who are shedding "something." 

Shedding occurs when an infectious agent is found in urine, stool, or other secretions. Shedding does not happen in vaccines that use "inactivated" or dead viruses, such as the flu shot. However, the COVID vaccine contains no virus, inactivated or otherwise, so it cannot shed a drop. With 106 million of us fully vaccinated so far, if a serious side effect popped up, we would know by now.  

The pharmacist's patient, Maria, 66, said, "I'm not sure the vaccines have been thoroughly tested. What if I get sick from the vaccine a few years from now? It will be too late. So, I may wait, or I may never get the vaccine." The pharmacist admits that he was hesitant about getting a vaccine that was rushed through the approval process. But, when Anthony Fauci MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, proclaimed the vaccines safe and effective, the pharmacist was virtually first in line. 

Roger, 34, says, "I'm healthy, eat well, and feel great. I don't need this vaccine." The virus does not care about all that, as it has killed tens of thousands of healthy people. Those who are not protected are exhibiting risky behavior in three ways. They risk getting the virus and dying from it. They may have the virus and show no symptoms but can transfer the bug to someone – one's grandparent, one's infant – who can get sick and die. They add to the virus mutations that make the current vaccines less effective. The catastrophic issue is making COVID into a political statement. The results of an April 14th Monmouth poll and a survey by Quinnipiac University found 45% of Republicans did not intend to get vaccinated. Only 8% of Democrats feel that way. Why?

No one wants to wear masks. People want to hug and shake hands. Kids want to attend school. The pharmacist is wary of hearing about the deaths of people he knows and loves. With the vaccine, science has given us a way to regain our freedom. All it takes is one short needle – a jab, a poke, a little prick if you will – and we can all enjoy our lives once more.   

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a recovering pharmacist and writer-in-residence at Rx-Press.


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