NEW ORLEANS — Most of us know someone who is hesitant to be first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, last week we heard the head of Ochsner say some of the medical staff were hesitant as well.
Why? It seems to come down to trust.
We're hearing some ask, “How do I know I can trust the vaccine, especially since it came out in about a year, instead of four or five years?” It turns out, there's a good answer for that.
Tulane microbiology and immunology expert, Dr. Lisa Morici, says the COVID vaccines were not rushed and there were no corners cut. In fact, the way it tells your immune system to make fighter cells has been studied for 30 years.
“It took many years of scientists and engineers making small advances, incremental advances over the years to get the technology to a point where it works terrific.” said Dr. Morici.
These are not traditional vaccines. They are called 'plug and play' and are perfectly designed for a pandemic because they can be quickly changed depending on the virus endangering the community.
“We already knew these platforms were effective and safe. They've been in tens of thousands, If not hundreds of thousands of people for other diseases.”
As for the speed of the clinical trials: For scientists worldwide it was all hands on deck. It was easy to get thousands of volunteers because people wanted to help, and the phases could overlap because pharmaceutical companies did not have the huge financial investment and risk.
“The federal government and other agencies committed more than $26 billion towards these vaccines and that's unprecedented,” she added.
Data on how well the vaccines worked came out fast, because so many people were infected in the community around those vaccine volunteers.
“And so we were able to get the information lightning fast, as opposed to what would typically take us years,” said Dr. Morici.
To people who don't want to be first to get vaccinated, you're not.
“Tens of millions of doses of these vaccine have been administered to people. They are extremely safe. They are some of the safest vaccines that have ever been developed.”
For those worried about long term side effects, Dr. Morici says throughout vaccine history, complications have shown up within two months.
“We are well beyond the two month period with these vaccines. Millions, millions of folks, many months have passed. There's no reason to wait,” she said.
And the doctor says there are no toxic preservatives in the vaccines. All the ingredients are natural ones that are found in the body.