While a few people have had negative reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, doctors at Jacobi and Montefiore stress everyone should get it.
Doctors Beth Nagourney of Jacobi and Barry Zingman of Montefiore recently spoke with the Bronx Times about the vaccine. Working in the neonatal intensive care unit for 22 years, Nagourney witnessed 25 percent of the pregnant moms get COVID, but be asyptomatic.
Knowing this and the devastation the virus caused the Bronx, she was one of the first at the hospital to receive it.
“I believe in science and medicine,” she said. “I believe vaccines will make a huge difference. I believe it’s essential. Hopefully by having the vaccine I won’t have to worry about infecting my patients, colleagues or family.”
According to Nagourney, if someone told her a few months ago the vaccine would already be ready she would not have believed them. But, she feels that since 45,000 people were tested, it was not approved too quickly.
The doctor also pondered if schools will require the vaccine for students and teachers.
Zingman, clinical director of infectious diseases at Montefiore Moses Campus and medical director of Montefiore AIDS Center, has been a doctor for 30 years.
He noted that many people are surprised the vaccine is ready so quickly, compared to most vaccines that usually take a few years to develop.
“I think there’s a big misunderstanding about the speed of the development of the COVID vaccines,” he explained. “The delays of the past have been eliminated because of the pandemic.”
According to Zingman, due to the pandemic people worked around the clock, studies for the vaccine took weeks instead of six months and the FDA responded much quicker than normal to approve them.
He noted that waiting years for data was not an option; otherwise thousands of more lives would be lost.
“I think evidence suggests that hesitancy about the vaccine is decreasing,” he stressed. “Overall the vaccine is well tolerated. If the people have side effects they are generally mild.”
In total, 138 people have been enrolled in the AstraZeneca-Oxford study at Montefiore and 10 to 20 people are volunteering daily to be part of it.
Two out of every three people are getting the true vaccine; the others are getting a placebo. This is a double-blinded placebo-controlled study
Of the volunteers who are participating: half are people of color; a quarter are over the age of 65 and a quarter are healthcare workers.
The doctor noted that anyone who thinks politicians are jumping the line to get the vaccine is wrong. These people like President-Elect Joe Biden and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are setting the example, he said.
“We should be happy they’ve done this,” Zingman stated.