Karen Ledee-Lewis interviews with host Julia Dudley Najieb about the COVID-19 vaccine, intertwined with excerpts from the Pastors Physician Forum
By ONME Newswire
In part 3 of the virtual town-hall series, Dudley Najieb goes into descriptive details, highlighting medical experts from a January 16, 2021 Pastors Physicians Forum hosted by Family Community Church, under the leadership of Rev. Chester L. McGensy.
Then Dudley Najieb interviewed Ledee-Lewis live and in-depth about the nature of the COVID-19 vaccine, what people should expect, and what is in the vaccine, itself. Here is the
Q & A version of that interview.
Julia’s Question: People question why are there two vaccines?
Karen L-Lewis (KL) Answer: We want the questions. We want people to have the knowledge and the only way to have informed decision as to whether you take the vaccine or not is to ask the question. There is no question off of the table and in terms of both vaccines, it's important because if something is so good, why is there two? Well, I'm thankful that there's two. And eluding to your question. Scientifically those vaccines are virtually the same thing. They are identical. I happen to know people that have received the Pfizer and some didn't receive the Moderna and they have done well with both.
KL Questions to Panel: Please provide information regarding the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines safety profile effectiveness, and are the vaccine similar and who should receive them, and is there anyone that should not receive them?
Dr. Brooks Answer: So, first of all, the vaccine, uh, safety profile, they are both safe. Side effects that we're seeing were generally mild, uh, redness, redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site. Systemic, uh, fever, malaise, headache, nausea, diarrhea. There have been 29 cases I want to say of a serious adverse reaction in terms of an allergic reaction that's with about 2 million doses given. So that's about the average you get anaphylactic or serious allergic reactions with all vaccines currently the average is one to two per million, and that's about where we are.
They are both effective as I said, Moderna seems to be a little more effective after the first dose. They're both, uh, 94 to 95% overall effective. I would recommend it; if you have access, you get vaccinated, from which ever one you have access to.
KL Question: So, you were saying that individuals should strongly consider receiving the vaccine no matter which vaccine it is, but is there anyone that should not receive the vaccine?
Dr. Brooks Answer: Those who have had serious, allergic reaction to a prior vaccine from, excuse me, from prior COVID vaccine, because you might have gotten the first one and then had a bad reaction, serious adverse reactions, like an anaphylaxis --allergic reaction that can be fatal, or if you've had that kind of reaction to any component of the vaccine, the main one people looking at is called [PEG] polyethylene glycol. That's used to clear your gut when you clear your gut to have a colonoscopy, if you have allergies to food, uh, pollen seeds, allergic allergies, that is not a contra-indication.
If you have other lying conditions like asthma, if you have severe asthma, then it would be recommended likely to get the vaccine. Get it…If there are any questions you, as a person personally have regarding this, you would consult your physician. But I would say 99.9% of the population can get the vaccine without any significant concern.
And just one thing I’ll add, is It's that approximately 10% of the childe participants from both vaccines were African-American and the response of African-Americans to both vaccines was identical or in line with the overall response. In fact, in one of the two vaccines, I honestly forget which, African-Americans were a 100% responsive or it showed a hundred percent efficacy. So you don't have to worry about that as it relates to African-Americans.
Karen L-Lewis Answer: Yes. Dr. Brooks, so eloquently stated that. The vaccines are very, very similar.
One has a little more effectiveness after the first dose than the second, but 94%, 95%, basically not a difference at all. And the other thing that I loved is that the Black individuals who were in the studies, they did very well across the board as with other ethnicities that were in the study that were in the studies.
When we talk about efficacy of the vaccine, what we're saying is that the vaccine does what it has been. Designed to do. And that goes a long way in terms of having faith in the science, having faith in the medical industry and in the researchers that developed this vaccine. And one of the things that came up is how is it that we even have a vaccine so quickly?
Well, some of the other medical research, medications, if you will, they take so long to develop because monies are allocated year by year by year. But when it comes to these vaccines, the technology was already in place. And when you have the monies and you have the manpower to make it happen, that's how we get the vaccine so quickly. And I'm glad because if we didn't have them or if we had to wait two or three more years, we would have lost more lives than we already have. I mean, worldwide. Today 109.9 million plus cases in the United States, 27.8 million cases in the United States, the mortality rate or the death rate, 490,000 plus people have died. This is truly a public health crisis. It is a pandemic which probably will turn into an endemic. when it's all said and done. But the efficacy is there.
I tell you, I have faith in the science. And when I think of Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who was one of the lead researchers with the Madonna vaccine, she stands by what she says, what she believes.
She is a black woman and she's in science. And, I just trust what she's saying in the work that she's done.
Julia’s Question: Can you expand on the side-effect profile of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Comes with any medication that you take;Tylenol has a side effect profile, children's baby aspirin has a side effect profile. When it comes to, vaccines, whether it's the influenza or what have you, people respond. People may have a side effect such as soreness at the site, they may have upset stomach. They may feel chills or fever or, fatigue. Now anaphylaxis that Dr. Brooks mentioned that means where you are having a severe, severe allergic reaction to the point where you have to either utilize an epi pen or you have to be hospitalized. I think he said one or two out of millions does that occur.
So the side effect profiles, things can happen, but very seldom do they happen. And I'll tell you, the family members, of my family who have taken the vaccine, they have done quite well. So I wouldn't worry so much about the side-effect profile because the benefits of receiving the vaccine outweigh any sore or any fever, any chills, and Lord forbid … You know, there are mortuaries who have had to order over 5,000 body bags. They've had to rent refrigerated trucks to hold our deceased loved ones because of the deaths that didn't necessarily have to happen …
It’s taking a toll on our economy, it's taking a toll on families. I mean, children are losing both parents. Grandparents are being lost. And if you think about it, if you have someone or a family who is around each other a lot, like my family, you run the risk of passing the virus to one another. So, it really is an unfortunate thing, especially when some of the guidelines at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend, people aren't doing them, and they're so simple to do in terms of following the guidelines to help prevent COVID disease.
KL Question: … And the vaccine does not change the DNA of an individual ...
Dr. Egerton’s Answer: I think the question I didn't answer was this vaccine how it came to market fast. Dr. Fobbs addressed some of that. The main way it came to the market so fast is that the government gave its 25 billion with a “b” dollars to allow the manufacturers to make it while they were developing it.
So in other words, deposed, you made it and it didn't work we throw away a billion dollars worth of production. The government said, okay, you can do that. We'll give you the money. So that's probably the most significant aspect of how it came to be in so fast; phase one, two and three studies all did occur, but I think that's the primary concerns out there in the community. And we understand how it came to the market so fast. So we can't wait. We couldn't wait two or three years; there would be another 3 million people dead. So I'm sorry. That’s just the way it is.
Julia’s Question: So your comments on that, if you can help break down to the audience, what does that mean? The fact that they were making it while developing it?
KL Answer: Absolutely. When you have monies to do things, to hire people, to create the technology, to have again, the manpower to roll something out, it's just a smoother transition. And that's what Dr. Brooks is saying, hey, pandemic is here, COVID-19 disease--we need to get on this right away. And the government provided the funding to make that happen. So rather than doing one study one year, another study another year, the third year doing another study, they were able to get on the ball, get all of the studies done to make sure that the research was solid, that the numbers were solid because this really was and is a life or death situation.
So, having the monies, having the manpower provided by the government, and having the technology. Now, the technology was being created all along, who knew we would need-- it here comes COVID-19 disease. Didn't know much about it, but oh, by the way, there's this technology let's create the vaccine. Let's get it rolled out.
Let's do the studies and let's make it happen. So when you have a disease process that we're always looking for a cure for something. I bet if we had the monies up front, and we had the tenacity that we had during COVID-19 vaccine make, there'd be a lot more cures out there. I just have that feeling, but I'm not sure, but we had the technology and the monies to make it happen. So for those that are having fears about that, I wouldn't, everything lined up. We just heard from Dr. Oliver Brooks, he was the recent past president of the National Medical Association. And when you watch that video, you're going to see that all five of the physicians, all five of the panelists, had received their vaccine either the first dose only, or one or two of them had received the second dose. We're excited about this and we're happy just to be able to share this news. And I hope that everyone watches this video and this program, because we really want to meet people where they are.
So I hope that everyone is able to watch that; the pastors are in the first half of the segment and the physician portion is in the second half, but I hope that you're able to watch it all. There's some great information there. And I was the only nurse practitioner. I was a fulfilled. So the information came from the physicians.
Dr. Egerton Answer: Can I add something to that? Because that's an important point that Dr. Brooks just made; one of the things that the public needs to understand is there's a lot of question about these two vaccines; they're MRNA vaccines.
Think of a computer, it works because we write code for the computer. There's no better computer than this computer than God made, the human body. So all of our cells have codes, and that's what the RNA and the DNA part that we always talk about i is referring to these two vaccines, being MRNA vaccines, when we get them, it teaches ourselves how to recognize the spike. So then we develop the antibodies ourselves and the spike is then neutralized so that the, the virus cannot enter our cells, and that's, what's going to keep us safe. They don't contain the virus so that you never get sick because you never get the virus, you get the ability to recognize it. And that's, what's important for people to understand so that we can take away the fear about taking these, these vaccines.
Julia’s Question: We don't think of it that way. We probably could help prevent a lot of diseases if we actually thought about what we're inputting into the body and so forth. But I'll let you comment:
KL Answer: We are what we eat, sort to speak, and stress, in and of itself, is a silent killer in my mind.
So what Dr. Egerton was talking about is that when an individual gets the vaccine, you are not getting COVID-19 disease, and that's one of the theories out there: I'm not going to get the vaccine because they're giving me the disease. No, the vaccine contains what's called MRNA or messenger RNA. When the shot is given, the messenger RNA goes into the system and the spike protein …
Have you ever seen, maybe an illustration of COVID-19, it's round and it has all those little spikes. That's the spike protein. So when you get the vaccine and then the COVID 19 comes in-- the virus that is--the vaccine allows your body to create antibodies, to recognize those spike proteins and say, “No, no, no, you're not coming in here. You're not going into the cell. You're not affecting my DNA. I won't have any of it.”
So by getting the vaccine, you are creating that army, that army that simply says, “No, I'm not getting the COVID-19 disease. This army that I've been given via the vaccine, the antibody response is going to prevent me from getting COVID-19 disease in terms of symptomatic disease.”
It's going to reduce it by 95%. If you don't get the vaccine, you could have symptoms up to a hundred percent. That might mean the ventilator. If you have the vaccine and you reduce the symptomatic COVID disease or COVID-19. Um, you reduce the risk by 95% of getting the symptoms, which means if you get COVID-19 disease, you're more likely to recover than not. So that's just more of a simplistic way.
Julia’s Question: And by the way, have you taken the vaccine?
KL Answer: I have. And I didn't have a choice as to which one --that's another issue that people are having.
If you are going to get the Moderna vaccine, you have to be at least 18 years of age. If you are going to get the Pfizer vaccine, you can get that as early, as 16 years of age. And I have gotten the Moderna vaccine, the organization, or the healthcare institution, in which I was invited to get, come and get it, I did, and it was such an awesome experience because I had an appointment to get the vaccine. And before I left that appointment, I was given the appointment for the return visit. Now I will say, after I got the Moderna vaccine, you sit for 15 minutes for an observation period because Dr. Brooks earlier mentioned, there's a few people that have had an allergic reaction.
Whether it's to the COVID vaccine or perhaps they've had an out of an allergic reaction at some other point where I received the vaccine, there were physicians on hand, they had epinephrin pens or epi pens on hand to treat those that may have had a problem. While I was in my 15 minute observation period, twice after first, the receiving the first and then the second, I didn't see anyone having any issues, and I didn't either. The most I had was just a little soreness at the site and I did feel a little fatigue, but I was still able to go about my business and go about my day. I feel better just knowing that I have reduced my risk of getting symptomatic COVID-19 disease by 95%.
Julia’s Question: In the 95 percentiles, I don't know if people know what that means when you're saying the efficacy rate of the vaccine, having that high of a rate. But maybe you can explain that part. What does that mean?
Watch the full Part 3 of ONME's town hall series on the COVID-19 Vaccine!
KL Answer: Efficacy means that the vaccine is designed to do what it's meant to do, and what that tells me, that if I'm going to get symptoms, there's a 5% chance, only 5% chance. So if there were a hundred people lined up, five of those step forward, there's a 5% chance that I could get symptoms versus a hundred percent that I would get symptoms that might make me end up on a ventilator and I don't want that. I'd rather get those smaller symptoms such as fever and chills and cough, loss of smell. You know, … the more problematic symptoms such as shortness of breath because COVID-19 disease is no joke: inflammation, cytokine storm; COVID-19 disease causes inflammation throughout the body like no other. And that's why people are having to be placed on ventilators. They can't breathe and it's unfortunate. And one of the presenting symptoms may be shortness of breath because the inflammation has already taken over. So I have the vaccine and I think because I have a 95% reduced rate of having symptoms associated with COVID-19 disease, I think I'm in a good place.
Julia’s Question: And this essentially is what's going to help mitigate the spread. Can you explain even that term, just so people understand what does that mean?
Basically I would consider that what can we do to lessen the spread? And those are the things that we probably have heard over and over. The Centers for Disease Control has made it clear that some of the things that we need to do are to social distance. Stay six feet apart; limit your exposure to others. You know, the good hand washing mitigates, staying home when you're ill mitigates, wear a mask. As a matter of fact, there's been recent talk of double masking when you're out; disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and then of course consider the vaccine.
Follow the guidelines of The Centers for Disease Control Prevention. And lastly, if you think you have COVID-19 disease, and you're having shortness of breath and other issues, go to the emergency department; people are frightened and they're staying at home. People are dying at home, and we don't want any of that; we don't want anyone to die, but do what you can to mitigate the spread, slow the spread by following those guidelines that I just mentioned.
Julia’s Question: I think my last question just has to do with COVID-19 testing after you've taken the vaccine. Is that necessary?
KL Answer: Well, it's after you've taken the vaccine, you need to do both doses. So that way you have been vaccinated the way the science has meant for you to be vaccinated.
Now, there's no information out there right now if receiving the vaccine will prevent you from getting COVID 19 disease. And there isn't anything out there right now that's saying that the two doses that you received will serve you for a lifetime.
Some people are getting the rapid test after the second dose, they're waiting two or three months to see if they still have the antibodies or that army that's inside to make sure they still have coverage. So right now, some of the science is just not there; we just have to really consider getting this vaccine.
People of color: We are dealing with these comorbid conditions, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma … By getting the vaccine, you're just giving yourself that much more of a chance to survive if you were to get COVID-19 disease. So I really, really recommend it.
In the United States, only 12.1% in the US had received the first shot. And 4.7 in the United States has received the second shot. So there are still shots that are out there vaccinations are sitting on the shelf. And as long as they're on the shelf, they're not doing anyone any good. We have to get the vaccine in the arm and I'll tell you, make your appointments. Keep calling, call around…when you get an appointment, please keep the appointment.
Get out there, get the information because knowledge is power. And just consider getting the vaccine. I know that I have, everyone in my family that has chosen to get the vaccine, has the five positions. They have all gotten there, and I know many more that have gotten their vaccine. I just pray that you all reconsider. If you're not getting it, just reconsider.
Julia’s Question: Any final thoughts, any final words of encouragement, any inspirational words that you can help maybe drive it home for somebody who still on the fence, trying to figure it all out?
KL Answer: The biggest encouragement that I have, I read recently read-- I don't know who said it, but your biggest commitment is yourself. So with that said, I just want you to make the commitment to life, make the commitment to making decisions that affect the here and the now; your family needs you, your community needs you.
And we want people to show up in record numbers to get the vaccine. And again, if you are a African-American, and you have those other comorbid conditions, or even if you don't, please consider. We need to make sure that we don't lose not one more life because of indecisive, just not making the decision to receive the vaccine.
I'm not here to convince you because it's your life, it's your health. But what I am here is just to give you the information and to let you know that I've done it. And if it's good enough for me, It's good enough for you.