To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Dr. Meg answers all of your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
As the COVID-19 vaccine has begun distribution in the U.S., I’ve received numerous questions from readers and parents about its safety and efficacy. I’ve compiled some of these questions as well as my responses. I hope these give you peace of mind and empower you to make the best decision possible for your health and your family’s health.
Q: These vaccines were created quickly. How do we know the developers didn’t cut corners in making them?
When it comes to immunizing massive amounts of people quickly, we have never been in any situation like this before. The COVID-19 vaccine was created quickly, and at this point, there is a lot we don’t know about long-term effects. However, scientists who work on these vaccines are highly skilled and knowledgeable and follow the strictest guidelines.
Remember, too, that the vaccines have to go through many trials and pass many tests before they are allowed to be administered to the public. The best knowledge we have at this point is that corners were not cut.
Q: As a Catholic, how do I navigate whether or not to get the vaccine due to issues about aborted baby cells used in the vaccine?
I encourage you to go to visit https://www.immunize.org/talking-about-vaccines/furton.pdf and https://mycatholicdoctor.com/our-services/vaccines.
These sites give more extensive answers than I can here, but citing one of the Vatican’s official statements on the issue, “the moral responsibility to vaccinate is reiterated in order to avoid serious health risks for children and the general population.”
Q: Can you speak to why you believe vaccinations are necessary? As a new mom, I want to make the best decision for my children. Unfortunately, with everything going on, I don’t know what to believe or whom to trust.
There is so much information about vaccines on the internet, particularly since the autism scare with the MMR vaccine appeared. The truth is, vaccinations are necessary because the illnesses they prevent are life-threatening.
Fortunately, we rarely see issues like epiglottitis from HIB (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
anymore. I saw this not so infrequently in the 1980s. It was terrifying because epiglottis could close off a patient’s airway in minutes. Polio has been eradicated, but I worked with a pediatric resident from China who had it and he couldn’t use his lower legs. I have seen babies with pertussis (whooping cough) gasp for air. I’ve seen tetanus. I’ve seen brain infections from chickenpox.
The bottom line is this: We have the luxury of questioning the necessity of these vaccines because we rarely see the illnesses they protect against because the vaccines have worked so well.
In 32 years, I have never seen a child die from a vaccine, but I have seen many die or have life-threatening illnesses from the infections they prevent. I never hesitate to vaccinate a child because I have seen what happens when kids aren’t vaccinated.