The FDA’s vaccine advisory meeting is today where it’s probably all but certain that the committee will vote to move Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine across the Emergency Use Authorization finish line to begin the largest mass vaccination campaign since polio vaccinations began in the mid 20th century. If you’re following me on Twitter, you know I have been excited by the breathtaking pace of science working to conquer the novel coronavirus.
Vaccines have been top of mind, which even led me to writing a 12-page paper about BioNTech as a final project in one of my classes this past term at school. The last 10 months have led to today, the first step towards an exit from the pandemic.
My excitement has been met with some skepticism from the vaccine hesitancy world. So with that, I will say very clearly and concisely… yes, I will get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is my turn to do so.
My cystic fibrosis will not stop me, nor will it prevent me from receiving a vaccine.
Vaccines sort of maintain this strange misnomer that because they are injected they are somehow more toxic, dangerous and powerful. It is pretty clear that none of those myths are true.
Yes, all medications carry side effects, and so do most of the things we eat. Can you name the active and inactive ingredient list in a PopTart or an Eggo Waffle?
Do you have any idea where the vitamins you bought from the grocery store come from (you will be horrified to find out [but if you do, you can read China RX])?
Cipro and Levaquin maintain the dreaded black box warning from the FDA for their severe side effects, yet we take them without a second thought because the trade-off with an aggressive bacterial infection is significantly worse.
It’s hard to say when my turn will be to get a vaccine, but the CF Foundation has been advocating on our community’s behalf. Earlier this week, the CFF sent out this notice to CF clinics which has been forwarded on to most patients (I received this via my clinic at Dartmouth):
“As vaccine development progresses, the CF Foundation continues to engage federal and state decision-makers to ensure they understand the needs of the CF community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has made interim recommendations to the CDC to prioritize health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities for the first phase of vaccine distribution. Once a vaccine is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, the ACIP will make further recommendations to the CDC on appropriate use, allocation, and distribution for each COVID-19 vaccine. States will play a significant role in making final determinations on who will receive limited supplies of vaccines among their populations. We are sending letters to officials in all 50 states highlighting the importance of prioritizing people with CF for access to COVID-19 vaccines and recommending that states leverage CF care centers in their distribution plans”.
It will be up to all of us to carefully determine what medications we use, why we use them and how we use them, but in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations are our clear exit from this hellish nightmare. It will be up to all of us to do our part to build immunity to this god-awful virus, and vaccinations will be the only way to do it.