By Rashad Milligan | April 16, 2022 – (www.rollingout.com) – Dr. Melissa E. Clarke is the co-founder of the Black Coalition against COVID, a lead member of the DC Health Department’s committee for the safe and equitable distribution of vaccines, serves as a medical advisor for the Leadership Council on Healthy Communities, and is the originator of their virtual health ministry.
Recently, Clarke spoke to deployment about the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of vaccines.
What is the role of vaccines in maintaining public health?
Excellent question. Overall, vaccinations are the safest way to expose your body to a germ, whether it’s bad bacteria or a virus, so your body can mount an immune response.
What does that mean? An immune response means that your body now has soldiers that are designed to specifically kill that particular germ, virus, or bacteria as soon as your body might be exposed to it. When you have an effective immune response, the virus has no chance to take hold and multiply in your body. There are only two ways to get antibodies: get infected or get vaccinated. So getting vaccinated is the safest of these two ways to build immunity and protect against a particular virus or bacteria.
In the context of a pandemic, where we have never been exposed to this particular virus, vaccination was the surest way to ensure that the majority of the population could be protected to slow the spread of coronavirus in the population and reduce hospitalizations and deaths. of COVID.
So if I get COVID and the vaccination, am I doubly protected?
Yes. Studies have shown that if you have an infection, your immunity drops, so your body’s ability to produce these antibodies eventually goes away over time, after about three months. In fact, getting vaccinated ensures that your immune response and your ability to produce antibodies, immediately when needed, are at their peak.
With a second booster recently released, can you anticipate how many more boosters should be unveiled?
There is no way to anticipate this. We followed the science. That’s one thing that I think hasn’t been emphasized enough in this pandemic, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Unfortunately, we had to learn as we went.
There was a decline in immunity. The vaccine still works to prevent hospitalization or death, but over time it does not work as well to prevent infection and that is why the booster is needed. As we go on, we say, “Well, how long is this going to be?” We are receiving more and more effective vaccines. There’s one in development that will look like some sort of nasal inhalation. This will further protect you against infections, as this is where the virus enters your body 9 out of 10 times, by inhaling it through your nose.