SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On Friday, as COVID cases spiked in Utah and around the country, a group of medical experts at U of U Health hosted a FB live to talk “myths and misconceptions” about COVID and the vaccines.
The event comes in the wake of news about the Delta variant: according to an internal report from C.D.C. the Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox.
And, though positive cases are rare among the vaccinated, those who are fully vaccinated but still get COVID can transmit the virus as much as someone without the vaccine.
Andy Pavia, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at U of U Health, said Friday there’s a series of new studies suggesting the Delta variant isn’t just more transmissible.
Now, he says, it appears Delta is connected to higher rates of hospitalization and severity among those who are infected.
The vaccines are an effective line of defense against all variants, officials said over Facebook Live, but Pavia cautioned against getting just one dose. Delta, he said, is different.
“Against the older strains, one dose did okay. 50-70% protection,” said Pavia.
“One of the dangerous things about Delta is that a single dose of vaccine doesn’t provide much protection,” added Pavia.
The panel addressed concerns about emergency use authorization as a reason not to get vaccinated. Pavia says these vaccines, with more than 340 million doses administered and 14 months of data, are proven.
He says the follow up and safety data around COVID vaccines is greater than almost any licensed vaccine. The issues holding back full authorization, he says, are bureaucratic and technical. The F.D.A. has a process and is bound by that, but the efficacy data has been there for months.
As folks typed questions for the panel, many of those inquiries centered around pregnancy. Do the vaccines affect fertility; should a pregnant woman get vaccinated; will vaccines hurt the unborn child?
Torri Metz, MD, is associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology with U of U Health. She says it’s understandable that these concerns exist. Early on, data didn’t exist around vaccinated pregnant women because they weren’t involved in the trials.
Now, she says, the data is clear: pregnant women should get vaccinated, even those who are “high risk.”
And there is no evidence to suggest vaccines affect fertility.
The vaccine components work on the muscle where you get a shot, and those components do not cross the placenta. What does cross the placenta, she says, are antibodies that can protect your child.
“When the baby is born, before they would be able to get any kind of vaccination, the mom’s antibodies that were made can protect that baby in that really vulnerable neonatal period,” said Metz.