Clarion Express March 2021
Covid-19: Where Are We Headed?
By Dr. Wayne Greaves, MD.
Just over a year ago we learned of a new virus in Wuhan, China, that was similar to previous viruses that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). This new virus was spreading rapidly and causing severe pneumonia and death. As time passed, it was clear this outbreak was different from previous SARS outbreaks as the virus spread to other Asian countries. Meanwhile, here in the USA, this was considered a problem in Asia and not North America. This was a big mistake and there were several that followed.
Fast forward to mid-February 2021 and we have two vaccines available for use in the USA with a third likely to become available in the next month; and there are others to follow. This success in rapid vaccine development represents remarkable scientific progress. The vaccines have demonstrated good safety and efficacy and the research data has been carefully reviewed by independent monitoring boards and the Health Authorities. However, there is a loud and vocal minority of skeptics and anti-vaccine groups who threaten to subvert or diminish the impact of our best vaccination efforts. While vaccine hesitancy is understandable and long-term safety is still being evaluated there are several considerations one should consider before outright rejection of a vaccine:
• Risk factors
• Family members at risk
• Herd immunity
Each person has a part to play if we are to recover as a society or country from the current pandemic. Rather than contribute to the widespread misinformation and disinformation on social media, take time to pause and check the source of the information when someone shares a message on WhatsApp and Facebook. Ask yourself:
• Is it just a “wannabe” expert or a reputable person or organization with credentials that you can verify?
• Discuss any concerns about the text or video with someone whose knowledge and expertise you trust.
Vaccines are not a panacea but they have an important role in controlling viral diseases. Think of smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, ebola and others. Antivirals and other drugs also have a role but at present they are insufficient to stop the Covid-19 pandemic. Vaccines are not perfect, as the evolving strains of the virus show, but they provide a ray of hope as we struggle with the current pandemic.
Dr. Wayne Greaves, MD is a Infectious Disease Specialist in Edison, NJ and has over 45 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from McGill University / Faculty of Medicine medical school in 1976. He then entered the faculty of medicine graduating with the MDCM and moved to the United States where he spent two years at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. There, he completed a fellowship in infectious diseases before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, spending three years at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a visiting scientist tracking vaccine-preventable diseases and sexually transmitted diseases. Dr. Greaves has generously shared with us his expert wisdom on how to approach the crucial decision on knowledge regarding the COVID-19 virus and the vaccine. Let’s make this seasoned wisdom go viral!