After the vaccine, prudence, information and common sense
by CARLOS MATías
After the Covid-19 vaccine, can we go back to normal life as before the pandemic? At first, no. In Anchorage, the CDC recommends following the precautions of wearing a mask, keeping social distance and following health measures. Dr. Andrea Caballero, one of only five epidemiologists in the State of Alaska, gives us the guidelines.
Dr. Andrea Caballero recommends to rigorously follow the indications of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of Alaska and the other ten CDCs in the country. “Vaccinated people should wait at least 15 days after getting the second dose for the vaccine to take effect.” Studies carried out in the USA, released at the end of March, show that a single dose of Pfizer or Moderna (the two main ones in the USA) has an efficacy of 80% and that, after complete vaccination with either of them (two doses), it is 90% for either one. For this reason, Caballero tells Sol de Medianoche that “the smart thing to do is to follow the indications of the CDC (Alaska Center for Disease Control, based in Anchorage) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which are the two health agencies of the U.S.”
Waiting time “Vaccinated people have to wait at least two or three weeks for their immunization to be maximized,” Caballero told this newspaper. “After the deadline, the health authorities allow vaccinated people to meet with other people, even indoors, although some of these other people may be at low risk of infection. The idea is that we can continue doing what we were doing before, but in small groups. It is common sense to go slowly. You can also do travel, in and out of the country, without getting tested for PCRs before you leave and without quarantining yourself when you come back.”
PCR, or “Polymerase Chain Reaction,” is a diagnostic test to detect a fragment of the genetic material of a pathogen. Whether we like it or not, these precautions are going to be part of what all the world’s leaders are calling the “new normal,” quoting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the first to use the expression.
Alaska, pioneer, and leader in vaccination “Precautions must always be taken and it will be the authorities who will set the pace of what can and cannot be done,” adds Caballero, who recalls that starting in June Alaska plans to vaccinate all tourists arriving to the state, regardless of their origin. “Alaska is leading the fight against Covid in this country,” says Caballero. “Alaska Natives have been among the first to be vaccinated, and this despite the difficulties of this state, one of the least populated; with less population density; less population concentrated in urban areas and with the largest territory in the country. We can be proud of this.”
Anchorage, a Covid-Free City Despite these advances, Anchorage will be a “fully Covid-Free city when the virus is completely controlled, eradicated and does not pose any risk to the lives of people throughout the country, because the virus does not understand borders or geographic demarcations,” says Caballero. However, “in Anchorage the restrictions are lifted with 70% of the population vaccinated”.Caballero affirms that we can trust the vaccines. “They all have to pass very rigorous controls, although it is true that Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were the first two to begin their studies, with the first wave of the pandemic, while the Janssen vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson (the one recommended for people 18 years of age or older) began its trials in the worst times of the epidemic, during the fall, when there was a greater probability of contracting the virus. Because all these studies have been conducted at different times, it is difficult to assess which of these vaccines is the best one and which is the least effective.”
The danger of blood clots Neither Alaska nor the rest of the United States have the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 (AZD1222) vaccine against the coronavirus, which is the one that has had to face the “black myth” that it causes blood clots, to the point that in Europe (where it is being used) there are people who refuse to take it. But, according to Caballero, “this fear makes no sense.”
AstraZeneca is not used in the United States, but we have also seen cases of blood clots with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “There have been only eight cases among the 7.4 million vaccines administered by this laboratory. The CDC and FDA have paused their application, which shows that we are being very careful. But I would say to anyone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated that getting Covid is much worse, and that we have also seen cases of people who have had blood clots in their post-covid time.”
“I mean by this that not getting vaccinated carries the risk of getting Covid and does not free you from the danger of having blood clots,” adds Caballero. “There have been only eight cases among 7.4 million people vaccinated, that is, almost one case among a million vaccinations, nothing more. And it is also proven that a person with coronavirus is at risk of blood clots.”
Basic information From Caballero’s statements, it can be deduced that, although all precautions are few (“because the health authorities are taking all this very seriously,” she says), the most important thing is that whoever has doubts “should ask health professionals and look for resources with verified data from reliable sources, instead of believing all the hoaxes and inaccuracies, when not outright lies, that circulate on the Internet.” “Social networks have done a lot of damage,” Caballero adds, and the best way to prevent Covid infection is to get vaccinated, because this benefits us all. Skeptics should think about the good of their children, their wives and husbands, their parents, their siblings, their grandchildren or grandparents... the good of their whole family, which is the good of their own community and of society as a whole.”
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