He says speak with medical professionals, but avoid social media.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Now that a vaccine is available for the coronavirus, there may be questions about its safety and effectiveness. Dr. David Marcozzi, the COVID-19 incident commander for the University of Maryland Medical System, and Governor Hogan’s Senior Medical Advisor for COVID-19, says citizens can find answers by reading published scientific information that’s available, and speak with their health care provider.
But he says when it comes to searching for information on this vaccine, avoid social media. “As much as I value social media for providing us a mechanism to stay connected during this challenging time, there are concerns from public health experts that a significant amount of misinformation is posted there, and it is difficult for us to tell fact from fiction,” says Dr. Marcozzi.
“On line misinformation is a threat to our health,” he says. “And it hinders our ability to end COVID-19 and reopen our economy.”
The vaccine from Pfizer was given emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration earlier this month, and the FDA has given similar approval to a vaccine developed by Moderna. Dr. Marcozzi says it is safe and effective for most people. “Per the CDC, there are no contra-indications for women of child-bearing age, breastfeeding or pregnancy. One important not is that the vaccine is currently not recommended for children under the age of 16,” he says.
Dr. Marcozzi spoke last week at one of the Governor’s news conference. During that time, Dr. Jinlene Chan, Maryland’s Deputy Health Secretary, said tests are being done to determine if this vaccine is safe for children.
Also during the news conference, Dr. Marcozzi said the Pfizer vaccine contains four components. One is MRNA “This MRNA helps ourselves make the spiked protein of the coronavirus; only the spiked protein,” he says. “which is what your body reacts to which leaves you immunized, ready to fight the real virus if you are exposed.”
The other ingredients are fats, salts and sugar.
At this time, the vaccine is being administered to front line health care workers, employees and residents of long term care facilities, such as nursing homes, and first responders. Eventually, it will be made available to the general public..
Public opinion polls have found some citizens who say they will not get vaccinated against COVID-19. But Dr. Marcozzi says he’s anxious to receive his shot. “Weighing the benefits of the vaccine against the risks of becoming ill from COVID-19, I look forward to being vaccinated,” he said.
There have been some side affects from the vaccine, including pain, mild swelling at the injection site, fevers, chills and allergic reactions. But Dr. Marcozzi says plans are in place to make sure that patients who develop these conditions are treated.
By Kevin McManus