Dr. Fred Walters knows just a few months ago there was skepticism about a COVID-19 vaccination being ready by the end of the year.
But he’s done a lot of research and is so confident about it that he and most of his Bainbridge Pediatrics staff received the first round of shots recently. They will get a booster in 21 days.
“A few months ago we didn’t have as much information about the studies,” he said, adding there wasn’t enough communication between the science and medical communities, let alone out to the public.
He said he is pretty plugged in to the scientific community, gets regular feedback on research results, and attended webinars with the University of Washington and Department of Health.
“Studies are really, really reassuring” about high effectiveness and safety of the new vaccines, he added.
Walters said many doctors are getting the shots and showing photos of them on social media.
“They want to convey to their community and patients that they strongly believe in the vaccine,” he said.
Walters said his staff had a discussion about getting the vaccine, but getting one was completely voluntary.
Dr. Molly Linhardt said the shot itself didn’t hurt, but her arm was sore the next day.
She said she “couldn’t wait to get the shot” after she saw studies about it. “If we want to stop this pandemic this is the way to do it in a quicker way.”
The four providers and eight staff at Bainbridge Pediatrics had other minor reactions, too, like fatigue, but most noticeable was the sore arms, kind of between a flu and tetanus shot, Walters said.
The doctor said some of their patients have had COVID but none seriously since they specialize in children and teens.
Walters said their patients won’t be getting vaccinated until spring or summer because they are low risk and “studies haven’t been done.” He said their clinic is preparing to provide 4,000 vaccinations.
The doctor said most people will get the vaccine from their doctor or pharmacy, but it will need to get out to the public on mulitiple fronts.
“The pipeline is narrow at the moment, but it will widen,” he said.
Walters mentioned that the Food and Drug Administration has approved two vaccinations for use under the Emergency Use Authorization – known as Pfizer for those 16 and older and Moderna for those 18 and older.
Until you get one, the pediatrician reminded everyone to continue coronavirus protocols.
“These vaccinations will help to mitigate and ultimately resolve the current pandemic. However, until this occurs, it is critical that everyone continues to wear masks, practice social distancing and follow the CDC guidelines regarding isolation or quarantining when ill or exposed to COVID-19.”