LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Benefits outweigh potential risk

According to the CDC, COVID is still a major cause of serious respiratory illness, with more than 200,000 reported deaths since January 2022. The vaccine could prevent 400,000 hospitalizations and 40,000 deaths in the U.S. over the next two years.

Safety of the COVID vaccine has been rigorously monitored since the emergency use authorization (EUA) in December 2020. The benefits of the COVID vaccine continue to outweigh potential risk. Serious reactions after vaccination are rare.

The National Law Enforcement Memorial & Museum has cited COVID-19 as the leading cause of death among these brave personnel. An infection increase of 65% in this group occurred from 2019 to 2020 of the pandemic — causation lies mainly in low vaccine uptake coupled with related change in the virus itself (mutations).
The SARS-CoV2 virus is still mutating — yet COVID vaccine holds up very well, even against multiple variants — unless there is a significant shift like Delta to Omicron in the winter of 2021.

The current vaccine targets XBB.1.5, a subvariant of Omicron that dominated the U.S. and the world from November 2021 until last year. The vaccine is also expected to protect against JN.1, the current dominant strain.
Tenth grade biology instructs the difference between DNA (made of genes) and RNA (of which there are several types and functions). RNA is not found in the cell nucleus, therefore, the term “gene therapy” is a misnomer. First there was MERS, then SARS, followed by COVID.

Pfizer-BioNTech began working in 2008 on immunotherapies for cancer and Moderna had achieved success with RNA in 2018. Vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which instructs cells to make proteins that trigger an immune response against COVID-19 envelope spike protein.

For those who do not wish to take an mRNA vaccine, the Novavax (protein-based) vaccine uses an older technology and a different mechanism — it directly injects the spike protein into the body, leading to the production of virus-fighting antibodies and T-cells.

Debbra Reynolds