Half of America has rolled up its sleeve and done its part so we can all move on from this. My colleagues and I have been working tirelessly for over a year to end this pandemic. But here we are, staring down the barrel of yet another wave of death. What a senseless, self-inflicted wound.
One patient I cared for, an unvaccinated man in his late 30s, was only a few days into his illness and was already severely short of breath and requiring oxygen. Neither his clinical appearance nor his chest X-ray was particularly encouraging. I told him that there was a good chance he would get worse and that he would need to be admitted to the hospital. He asked me if I could give him the vaccine before he got worse, seemingly unaware that it does not treat the disease or cure you once you become infected.
Many of my patients exhibit stunning levels of ignorance when it comes to this disease and the vaccine, which, it’s worth noting, has so far saved an estimated 275,000 lives
and prevented over a million hospitalizations in the US alone, according to research from Yale University and the Commonwealth Fund.
The list of debunked myths and misinformation I hear — presented to me as fact — grows longer by the day. No wonder the US Surgeon General has called Covid-19 misinformation an “urgent threat
” to public health.
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I hear often from patients that the vaccine development was “rushed” or that it hasn’t been “studied enough” despite the fact that the Covid-19 vaccine was assessed for safety in tens of thousands of patients
— far more than widely-used drugs like Viagra
were. More than 3.8 billion doses have been administered worldwide
, over 340 million of them right here in the US.
Many of these same patients, unwilling to be what they term as vaccine “guinea pigs,” end up hospitalized, deeply regretting their decision. Ironically, pretty much every therapy that hospitals have used to treat Covid-19 — like dexamethasone
, hydroxychloroquine, and monoclonal antibodies like tocilizumab
— has far less data behind it than the vaccine does.
Another young man in his 20s with no pre-existing medical conditions was admitted to a Florida hospital in the spring after catching Covid-19 at a concert. He quickly ended up on a ventilator. Though I was not involved in his care, the story has been widely reported by CNN and others. He spent several months in the intensive care unit and ended up on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, a last-ditch therapy that uses a machine to oxygenate your blood outside of the body. He ultimately underwent a double lung transplant
and is expected to recover.
Many young women tell me they are concerned about infertility or miscarriage, despite there being zero scientific evidence to support such fears. In fact, there is now a large body of evidence that vaccination is safe before and during pregnancy, and it’s recommended by both the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.