Skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine? Palliative care doctor says it's safe and saves lives
'What's the risk of not getting the vaccine?'
Dr. Amit Arya, a palliative care physician specializing in long term care at McMaster University and the University of Toronto, explains why he says the vaccine is safe and we need to take it as soon as possible.
Dr. Amit Arya, palliative care physician
What do you say to people who remain skeptical and may not take the vaccine because of it?
I can definitely tell you a few important points that are very crucial when we're thinking about getting this vaccine or not. First of all, it's an MRNA vaccine, so it doesn't have dead viruses like previous vaccines like influenza. So that likely makes it a lot safer. I'm not worried about long term side effects from this vaccine because that's how vaccines work. Generally, their effect is done in the first few days and then all that's left is the body's immune response. The third issue is, is that when we're talking about long term side effects, those are usually detected by 30 or at most 45 days. And that's really the case with all previous vaccinations and even the initial trials from Pfizer and Moderna were up to 60 days. So, they almost certainly would have detected any issues with the COVID-19 vaccine in those trials. And the fourth point, which is probably the biggest point that we have to consider is, well, what's the risk of not getting the vaccine? And that risk to me is much bigger. It's the risk of getting COVID-19 itself.
We've talked about long term care and we've talked about seniors where really we could be looking at great suffering and even death, especially in long term care homes and retirement homes. But even for young and healthy people, there's a serious risk of getting heart and lung complications. I was looking at data yesterday that actually showed that for people hospitalized with COVID-19, they have a one third chance of being readmitted to the hospital within about half a year and getting sick and even a significant chance of getting sick and dying from COVID-19 afterwards. So, those are serious risks that we have to take into consideration. I think that means that almost all of us need to get vaccinated as quickly as we can whenever the vaccine will be available to us.