NOTE:  What I write today is true today. New information is rapidly emerging and updates are forthcoming when relevant.

Background: More questions about vaccine hesitancy have come in concerning people who are either resistant, hesitant or just postponing their vaccines. 

There are sufficient vaccine supplies in order to easily get an appointment. The county has discontinued its mass vaccination clinics at the fairgrounds because not enough people were signing up. 

Keep in mind, vaccines remain available at local pharmacies and some medical facilities. More information is available on the list at the end of this article or contact your doctor’s office.

QUESTION: Why should I consider getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that was paused recently? 

ANSWER:  The Johnson & Johnson was paused for review as it was discovered to have a 1 in a million chance of developing a rare complication of both bleeding and clotting in women between the ages of 18 and 50. 

Both Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration were doing exactly what they are supposed to do, oversee any possible negative reactions to the vaccines which is what caused the pause. 

After they reviewed all the data, it was decided that the benefit of the Johnson & Johnson  vaccine still outweighs the risk. 

The Johnson & Johnson was re-released with a warning about the rare blood risk. For those people who are still hesitant to take this one shot only vaccine there are two others. 

Pfizer and Moderna are available in the county and state and are not shown to have this very rare side effect. Both of these mRNA vaccines are a two shot series. Both shots are required to obtain full robust immunity. 

QUESTION:  I am 30 years old and my spouse is 35. We are both healthy and employed in the county.  We both got COVID-19 a few months ago. We had a mild case and recovered at home in a few days. Why should we get the vaccine?

ANSWER: Post COVID-19 immunity lasts for 3 to 6 months and maybe longer. The question is the strength of your immunity. A new study shows that the immunity from having had COVID-19, whether a mild or severe case, is not as robust as having been vaccinated. 

The vaccines produce antibodies that fight a variety of places on the spike protein whereas the antibodies produced from having COVID-19 only produce one type of antibody. 

QUESTION:  My brother, whom I referenced in an earlier Q&A, still believes that the vaccines were produced too quickly. Is there a way for me to allay his fears?

ANSWER: Although I have shared data with him that the vaccines were produced on technology that is more than ten years old, he does not accept this information. 

I have also referred him to the CDC web pages on risks and known side effects. He remains on the sidelines. The data does not seem to make a difference. I have told him about people who have gotten bad cases of COVID-19 or died in his age group. 

He still has not gotten vaccinated. Sometimes you have to know when you can’t convince someone. I have informed him he will not be coming inside my home unless he is masked and social distanced, etc. 

QUESTION: A neighbor was recently placed on steroid medications for a new medical condition, making his immune system weak, ie immunosupressed. 

His questions are: how to find out if he made enough COVID-19 fighting antibodies from his vaccination?  In addition, his family is coming to visit for Memorial day weekend. 

Most of the family are not vaccinated and seem in no rush to get vaccinated. What should he say to convince them to get vaccinated before the holiday so he is protected?

ANSWER: His first question does not have a clear answer. Though you can get tested to see if you made any antibodies to COVID-19 from the vaccine, it is still not known how many antibodies you need for an adequate immune response. 

The second question comes down to letting his family know that their loved one is medically at risk if they don’t get immunized. 

If they choose not to get vaccinated, then everyone will need to mask up when inside. They need to keep a six foot distance both inside and outside. And there will be no hugging their immunocompromised relative.

QUESTION: I have a 65 year old neighbor, who believes in vaccines in general yet questions why she needs to get vaccinated because she wears her mask, social distances, washes her hands and is in general very careful when she is out in public. 

She says that if she thinks she might have been exposed, she gets tested and so far all her tests have been negative. What do I say to her? 

ANSWER: The point of the matter is the fallacy of getting tested if she thinks she might have been exposed. At that point, it is too late. 

She doesn’t know who she might have been in contact with who might be an asymptomatic or mild carrier. Given her age, she is more likely to have a severe case should she get COVID-19. 

INFORMATION: For more information about COVID-19 and the vaccines, eligibility and appointments, see the links below. Pharmacies will be getting small shipments of vaccines in the near future. Information will be posted in this newspaper and on the county public health web pages.

http://chaffeecounty.org/Public-Health-Coronavirus

https://www.hrrmc.com/covid-19-updates/covid-19-vaccine/

Pharmacy vaccine resources:

Buena Vista: BV Drugs, La Grees and Valley Wide Health

Salida: Safeway and Salida Pharmacy

QUESTIONS: If you have a COVID-19 related question, please send it to pgoetz@themountainmail.com and I will attempt to answer it in the next few weeks.

Dr. Lydia Segal is trying to be a retired board-certified family practice doctor who also has a Masters in Public Health.(In a former life she was a general assignment reporter for a newspaper in Arizona. ) Currently she also co-teaches at the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center with the pelvic physical therapists classes on men’s and women’s health.

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