GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The U.K. COVID-19 variant has made its way to West Michigan with a case in Kalamazoo and another in Kent counties.
This is happening as two more vaccines prepare to seek FDA approval behind Pfizer and Moderna.
There are two new vaccines on the horizon here in the US: Johnson and Johnson and Astra Zeneca – which use the more traditional technology of an inactive adenovirus as the vessel by which the DNA of the S protein is delivered to our cells for recognition and antibody development.
We spoke to Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Abha Varma Gupta about what we can expect moving forward in this pandemic.
Dr. Abha says they are still seeing patients dealing with the long-term effects of the virus.
"Still a concern and a very devastating one so please do not underestimate this disease and its long term ramifications. There are far many millions more living with the fallout of the virus than those who have lost their lives to it. When we think in terms of morbidity and not just mortality, the numbers of the chronically affected are in the order 2.5 million and more," she said.
We still do not know how long the vaccines will last in our system, Dr. Abha says. We also do not know if the vaccines will protect us against future variants and new strains. Just as we require new flu shot formulations, we may need the same for covid in the future. We do not know. But we have the technology to support development should it become necessary. That should be sobering news to all.
Dr. Abha says the good news is that Michigan is seeing lower numbers with a steady decline but that is not a reason to let up on efforts to distance and wear masks.
Restaurants are opening up and as the Governor recognizes the need to get back to in person school and resumption of businesses, do not let your guard down.
It is Black History Month- and the cruelty of science and experiments such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Syphilis Experiments is not a distant history. But the very populations that have been disproportionately affected need the correct answers and discussion regarding the efficacies of the two available vaccines. Talk to a caring doctor to have your questions addressed.
DeVos Place has partnered with Kent County Health Department to help roll out vaccines along with Mercy Health and Spectrum Health. Call 833-755-0696 or get on the website: Michigan.gov/covidvaccine.