These People Can Still Spread COVID, Warns Virus Expert
COVID-19 vaccines are not mandated; they are a choice. Dr. Paul Offit, Member of the FDA's Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia, was a guest on SiriusXM's Doctor Radio's "Doctor Radio Reports" with Dr. Marc Siegel, and spoke about the impact that choice will have if not enough people are vaccinated. Read on for what that will entail—and hios warning—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Offit Says This is What Worries Him Right Now
"What worries me is that we right now don't know the impact of those who are choosing not to get a vaccine because we don't have enough vaccine yet," said Offit. "By the summer, we're going to have enough vaccine. And then you're going to see maybe we get to 60% of people who get vaccinated or 70% of people. And then you have a solid 30% of people who are choosing not to get vaccinated…Those polls for people who identify themselves as Republicans showed that 46% of Republican men said that they would not get a vaccine. I mean, and then what do you do? I mean then if it comes to be, that we don't have high immunization rates by next winter, and this is at its harder winter virus, then we won't have a bump next winter we'll have a surge next winter. And then what? I mean, do we consider it okay for people to say I'm choosing as an issue of my own freedom to allow myself to catch and transmit a potentially fatal infection, or do we step in and, and Institute some level of mandate? So we'll see."
Dr. Offit Said COVID Vaccines Might Offer Longer-Term Immunity Than COVID Infections
"It's possible," he said. "We certainly know that the messenger RNA vaccines induce a very good so-called cellular immune responses. T helper cells, cytotoxic T cells that usually predicts fairly durable immunity. I mean, the immunity that could, well, last years. It's not clear to me exactly how much we know about how long immunity is with human coronaviruses. There were studies done in the early nineties, suggesting that it lasted at least a year and no doubt probably longer, but there are certainly examples in medicine where the vaccine induces a better immune response and longer lasting immune response than natural infection. It's true of the human papillomavirus vaccine, it's true of the tetanus vaccines, its true of the conjugate Haemophilus influenza type B and pneumococcal vaccine. So there are examples of that. This may be that. I mean, when you see, for example, people getting a vaccine and then having so-called ipsilateral meaning same sided, lymph node involvement, that's pretty amazing. We give a lot of vaccines and don't usually see sort of striking enlarged lymph nodes underneath the arm at the same arm that was inoculated. You would see that with smallpox vaccine, which was another powerful immunogen. And this may be that, I mean, we're learning about mRNA vaccines. They certainly seem to be powerful immunizations."
Dr. Offit Discussed Clinical Trials Regarding Children & COVID-19 Vaccines
"So the clinical trials for children down to 12 years of age have been fully recruited," he said. "And I suspect that we'll have information on that by early summer. The kind of trials that are being done are not like the efficacy trials that were done for Pfizer, Moderna, J & J, which is to say tens of thousands of people who either get, or don't get a vaccine. I think what it's going to be is just so-called immunogenicity trials, where you make sure that you have the right dose, that you have the right dosing interval, that you induce an immune response, which is likely to be protective and then move forward from there. So I think it's very possible that we could have vaccines for older children, 12 to 18 years old by the summer. Now, some of these companies are going down to six months of age, and I think that that next round will probably not be fully recruited and analyzed, at least I would imagine down to six years of age, not so much at six months of age, but down to six years of age, probably by early next year. So that we would have a vaccine for children that are younger by early next year. I do think children need to be vaccinated. Last year, about 170 plus children died of COVID-19. That's about the same number that die of influenza every year, for which we also have a vaccine, and chicken pox would kill 75 to a hundred children a year. So this is not out of that realm. Plus I'm on service this week, and certainly seeing children in our hospital who have the so-called multi-system inflammatory disease, which can be difficult, and for which again, one could argue that children do need a vaccine."
Dr. Offit Weighed In On The Mess Surrounding AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine
AstraZeneca reported its results incorrectly in a press release. "It's a lot of whispering down the line in some ways," said Offit. "I mean, as a scientist, what you really want to see is published data. Data that have been thoroughly peer reviewed and then put in published form. So you can look at all the details. I mean, as an FDA Vaccine Advisory Board Member, we have that advantage, that when a product is submitted for licensure in this case approval through emergency use authorization, we can look at all those data that are provided by the company and also the data that are provided by the FDA where they review all the company's data, just in case there's anything the company didn't include. So we all have that information. Otherwise, we're just trying to sort of read the tea leaves in press releases, which I think is very frustrating for everybody."
Dr. Offit Was Asked About the AstraZeneca Connection to Blood Clots
Europeans paused the AstraZeneca vaccine for fear of a connection to blood clots. "If you look at the sort of blood clot story, blood clots are common," said Dr. Offit. "It's estimated that there's between 300,000 to 600,000 blood clots a year in the United States, usually deep vein thrombosis, there's even advertisements for products to treat or prevent deep vein thrombosis, which can then cause blood clots in the lungs, so-called pulmonary embolism. I think what was a little worrisome about this product, the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was that there were so-called central venous thrombosis, meaning blood clots in the brain, which are not so common. And there was at least the AKA clustering of 17 cases of those kinds of blood clots, all within two weeks of getting a dose of vaccine all in generally women and young women. And so that was worrisome. So you'd like to see all those data, see if there was any other risk factors in these people, see whether or not it really is a background rate, which is going to depend on how many people were vaccinated. So otherwise it's just very frustrating I think trying to read the tea leaves."
Dr. Offit Said It's Possible mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Become "The World's Vaccines"
"So Pfizer and Moderna are two of the mRNA vaccine makers," he said. "I mean the dose that's given of those vaccines is in the Pfizer case thirty micrograms, in Moderna's case a hundred micrograms. So a microgram is a millionth of a grant. You can make kilograms of that. I mean, that is nine logs, more which is to say, you can make billions of doses of that vaccine for a world that has over 7 million people in it. So, there's every reason to believe the mRNA vaccines could be the world's vaccines. The problem, the difficult problem is the lipid nanoparticle. I mean, that's not easy to mass produce." As for yourself, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.