ASK DR G
The most frequent question I have been asked recently is: "Will you take the Covid -19 vaccine?"
My response to the question over the past few months had been that I would take the vaccine, however, I would try to avoid the newer technologies, as we don't know enough about their long-term side effects. It was easy to make these statements when there was no vaccine approved. Once the Pfizer vaccine was found to be 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective that statement was harder to support. To put that into perspective, according to the CDC the influenza (flu) vaccine, on average, is 59% effective, but some years it has been as low as 16%; the original shingles vaccine, Zostavax, was only 51% effective, while the new one, Shingrix, is 90% effective.
The newer technology in these two Covid-19 vaccines has never been used in a vaccine before. The long-term side effects, if there are any, may not be known for many years and each person must make their own decision in this regard. Some of my patients question if they can trust the FDA approval process, and the answer is “yes”; Great Britain gave emergency authorization to Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine prior to the United States, becoming the first Western country to approve the vaccination. To date, many countries have approved the vaccine and over 4,200,000 doses of the vaccine have been given in the United States, with few side effects reported.
We are waiting for more companies to release their data and for the FDA to render their opinion on the safety of their vaccines. According to the New York Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker there are 63 vaccines in development. This month it is expected that Johnson & Johnson, which uses vaccine technology that has already been approved for use in other vaccines, will be releasing their data, and it is possible that it may only require 1 dose.
Many prominent politicians and doctors have rolled up their shirt sleeves to take the vaccine and I followed their lead; not only for my own peace of mind but so that I can continue to serve my patients and give them a greater sense of ease during our interactions.
Until next time,
Where can you get your vaccine
1) Broward Health
People age 65 and older and community healthcare providers can pre-register to receive the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 starting on Wednesday at Broward Health. For more information about pre-screening and to register and make an appointment, call
Broward Health’s Nurse Connect line at 954-759-7500. Broward Health is at capacity with over 5,000 appointments being scheduled, they have not yet announced when they will resume making appointments.
2) The Florida Department of Health in Broward County
Vaccinations will be available at no cost and by appointment only beginning Sunday, Jan. 3rd. You can make an appointment by visiting https://browardcovidvaccine.com or calling 954-467-4700.
The website, however, crashed as many seniors tried to book appointments. “Due to the overwhelming demand for COVID-19 vaccination, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County registration site is experiencing problems,” a statement from the health department read. “Please rest assured that we are working to fix these issues as quickly as possible to serve the community. When the website is fixed, if you find that appointments are not available, please check back often as we are increasing the number of vaccination sites for Seniors in Broward County in the coming weeks.”