Dr. Jane Orient, M.D., is a graduate of Columbia University’s Medical School and the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
COVID-19: Do You Need to Get the Vaccine?
By Jane Orient, M.D.
Special to www.JenniferMargulis.net
Do you want to be first in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A COVID-19 vaccine is said to be close. The Administration is detailing plans to distribute it “free.” No out-of-pocket cost to consumers.
The first question to ask about a vaccine—or any medical intervention—is this:
Is a COVID-19 vaccine necessary?
Vaccines exist for smallpox, rabies, anthrax, typhoid, and yellow fever. But you would not get one except for a possibly rabid animal bite or anticipated exposure. All of these vaccines have some very serious side effects.
What will the risk of COVID-19 be when the COVID-19 vaccine is ready?
As we are doing nearly a million tests per day, there are a lot of positive PCR tests. What does this mean?
A positive test may be called a “case,” but this does not mean a person is sick, or contagious. Death rates are falling, even though every possible death is being attributed to COVID-19.
Are you already immune to COVID-19?
Blood tests for antibodies are relatively easy to do, but T-cell immunity, which is probably far more important, is more difficult to determine and may already be widespread. Vaccine-induced immunity is generally judged by antibody levels only.
Are the antibodies, natural or vaccine-induced, effective?
How long do antibodies against COVID-19 last?
The answers to these questions are unknown.
It does seem clear that a COVID-19 vaccine is not “once and done.” Most vaccine candidates will require more than one dose. The virus may mutate.
The FDA has indicated that it may approve a COVID-19 vaccine that is only 50 percent effective.
Is there a choice—besides taking your chances? Most people, many more than 99 percent, will survive even if they catch COVID. Some will endure a long illness, and possibly have serious long-term complications, and some will die.
A treatable illness?
What if there is a treatment for COVID-19? Especially one that is inexpensive, long tested, and safe—not compared with perfection but with a vaccine or no treatment?
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is the treatment most talked about, and the one that has been most targeted for suppression. Medical boards threaten doctors who prescribe it, even though their patients are doing well; states impose unprecedented restrictions, though some are expiring or being lifted; and organized medicine is mostly on the no-home-treatment, remdesivir-in-the-ICU, and wait-for-the-vaccine message.
The most powerful anti-HCQ message seems to be that it could cause cardiac death. The evidence is that HCQ benefits the heart, and that COVID-19 damages it, through infecting the heart muscle or through the body’s ”bradykinin storm” response.
Patients need to inform themselves and demand the freedom to choose.
For more information, please read: “COVID-19 Is Not Untreatable.”
About the author, Jane M. Orient: Dr. Jane M. Orient, M.D., is a general internist in solo private practice in Tucson, Arizona. Her undergraduate degrees are in chemistry and mathematics. She obtained her M.D. from Columbia University in 1974. Dr. Orient authored the second through fifth editions of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis, published by Wolters Kluwer. She has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. You can contact Dr. Orient at jane [at] aapsonline.org or (520) 323-3110 if you would like to discuss these issues.