How covid-19 vaccines work (and they do)

This week I made a few short instructional videos for our nursing students on vaccines and COVID-19. This short video gives an overview on how vaccines work (in general) and more specifically, how COVID-19 vaccines that have recently been authorized for emergency use in the US work.

Another short video I made shows how we are using mass vaccination programs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The video discusses how mass vaccination programs protect our communities, an overview of the vaccine approval process, and why vaccines are not yet available to everyone.

Both of these videos cover two question I have been getting a lot recently, like:

No way. Why would I get a vaccine that was so rushed? ANSWER: these vaccines actually went through the same clinical trial development as any other vaccine, there are data from 30,000+ individuals vaccinated to strongly support its safety and efficacy. Phase 3 trial data show that if two doses of the vaccines are received, they are 94-95% effective in preventing COVID-19. These data also supported the safety of these vaccines. Common adverse events like pain or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, malaise and fever were reported by participants. The FDA considers risk vs. benefit when issuing emergency use authorization and the benefits greatly outweigh the risks at this stage.

I really want a vaccine. Why can’t I get one yet?! ANSWER: Administering hundreds of thousands of doses of vaccines in the community is a tough gig for anyone. This takes a lot of coordination and logistics. Until we have enough supply and enough providers able to administer vaccines, we have to prioritize those in greatest need. Our immunization policymakers makes these decisions based on expert consensus.

In summary, if you’re eligible, get your COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available!!

Flu vaccine may reduce the risk of stillbirth

This week, Clinical Infectious Diseases published my study on stillbirth and vaccination during pregnancy.  The study showed that women who received a seasonal flu vaccine during pregnancy had half the risk of stillbirth compared to unvaccinated women.

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Flu vaccine numbers show promise for new mothers

Recently I published an article in Women and Birth on maternal influenza vaccination. We looked at the number of women who are getting the benefits of influenza vaccination every year. We interviewed 2,000 new mothers and asked if they had received an influenza vaccine. We also asked them why they did or why they didn’t. The results showed that more women than ever are getting a flu vaccine while pregnant. In 2014, 40% of women received a flu vaccine during pregnancy, double the number in 2012. But a large number of women are still going unvaccinated. ​Why?

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