From Memorial Hospital
As COVID-19 cases climb once again, healthcare experts are weighing in on some of the top questions they receive from patients.
Dr. Nicholas Conger specializes in infectious disease, and Dr. Bobby Tullos is a pulmonologist and critical care specialist. Both have worked tirelessly to educate south Mississippi residents about COVID-19.
IS THE COVID-19 VACCINE SAFE? HOW ABOUT FOR PEOPLE OF CHILDBEARING AGE AND CHILDREN?
Dr. Conger: “These vaccines have proven to be safe and effective, and they can be changed rapidly as the virus changes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for young men and women of childbearing age, and they’re being studied in children younger than 12 right now. If the virus continues to be mild or not affect young children at all, then they may not need to be vaccinated, but there is a potential that the virus can mutate and affect that population. I think every parent should make a risk-benefit decision with their children.”
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE GET THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
Dr. Conger: “The goal of the vaccine is threefold. The first goal is to not get the infection at all, and while there have been some breakthrough infections with the vaccine lately, what we do see is the secondary goal, which is that people don’t get as ill. The third goal in the most important: preventing death. It is our best tool to prevent the spread of this virus, and so far, the vaccine has held up even against these newer strains.”
WHY ARE VACCINATED PEOPLE STILL GETTING THE VIRUS?
Dr. Tullos: “Vaccinations are in themselves, essentially, a coat of armor. They help gear up your immune system to be prepared to deal with the infection. Vaccinations aren’t necessarily designed to keep anyone from getting a virus, but they provide that partial response to tell your immune system to ramp up, gear up and attack this dreadful virus. With a vaccination, your immune response time is shorter, the severity of how ill you can become is significantly less and you are less likely to transmit that infection to someone else who may or may not be vaccinated.”
IS THE DELTA VARIANT INCREASING CASES?
Dr. Conger: “The Delta variant is the primary variant responsible for the uptick in cases that we’ve seen recently. It is very, very contagious, about four times more contagious than the previous variant of COVID-19. That’s why it’s spreading quickly, particularly among the unvaccinated.”
If you are experiencing fever, chills or cough and believe you may have COVID-19, get tested at several locations throughout the region. There’s no need to go to the emergency room unless your symptoms are severe. If you recently had COVID-19, the FDA-approved monoclonal antibody infusion treatment may be a great choice for you. Find a testing or vaccine site and learn more about COVID-19 by visiting wearememorial.com/coronavirus.