“The FDA – as they do with all medications – reviewed the trial data that was available to them at the time, which had tens of thousands of patients in it. They looked at the safety profile, looked at the efficacy profile, and from all that they felt comfortable enough, with these three vaccine options we have right now, to say the benefit of having this available to the citizens of the U.S. outweighs any risk that we’re seeing in the trial. And now, we’re living out a trial of sorts in which millions of people have gotten these vaccines now nationwide, and the FDA, the CDC, they all have watching mechanisms in place to know what adverse effects are people are seeing with these vaccines, if any. So far, early indications are that it’s very well tolerated. I can speak from experience with what we’ve done here on campus in saying that people have tolerated the vaccine well in what I’ve seen with our vaccine clinic here on campus.
“People should know that the FDA didn’t just release this vaccine to be available to the public without having some sort of confidence that people were going to tolerate it well, that it was going to be safe and that it was going to be effective.
“I think it’s also important to think of the vaccine as our best proactive step to take in combating the virus. It’s been almost a year and half since we’ve seen our first patients here in Southcentral Kentucky with COVID. In those early days, I can remember a group of us meeting and trying to discuss the best way to care for these patients. We were learning a lot at that time, as was everyone else in the country, about the best way to care for these patients. Treatment guidelines have always changed over the years, but everything we’re looking at was more reactive. These folks have COVID, they’re exhibiting these symptoms. What can we do to help alleviate those symptoms? What can we do to help the virus not attack the body more? A vaccine, on the other hand, is proactive. By getting the vaccine, you’re saying, ‘I’m doing to something to try and keep the virus at bay.’
“Our best chance of ending this pandemic, and keeping the virus at bay, and preventing infection in the future is to get vaccinated so that we all have some sort of immunity built up and we’re not treating people in a reactive fashion after they’ve contracted the virus – but we’re being proactive in preventing the spread of it.”
Caleb Benningfield, PharmD