What doctors wish patients knew about how well COVID-19 vaccines work – American Medical Association

by | Oct 21, 2022 | COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is in its second year and the Omicron BA.5 subvariant continues to drive cases in the United States, including among vaccinated people. But that doesn’t mean COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are ineffective. That seeming juxtaposition causes confusion among many patients. One physician vaccine researcher sets out to clear the air about how well COVID-19 vaccines work.

SARS-CoV-2 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna became the first two COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection or severe COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization and death.

The AMA’s What Doctors Wish Patients Knew™ series provides physicians with a platform to share what they want patients to understand about today’s health care headlines, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this installment, AMA member Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist as well as a vaccine researcher in New York City, took the time to discuss what patients need to know about COVID-19 vaccine and booster effectiveness.

Efficacy is defined by clinical trials, real world use
Efficacy is defined by clinical trials, real world use

“When it comes to vaccines, there are a few things that we look for. The most important thing for efficacy in vaccines is, of course, preventing the most serious complications,” said Dr. Parikh. “That includes death, hospitalizations and then—even if you’re not hospitalized—a lot of long-term complications that you can get from any given infection.

“So, that could be long COVID, for example, or blood clots, breathing issues and lung damage that can persist after the fact. There’s a whole list of them,” she added, …

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