On August 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 and older. It is also available under emergency use authorization (EUA), for individuals 12-15 years old.
On the same day, a news conference was held by doctors in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida urging the community to get vaccinated amid a statewide surge of COVID-19 cases.
Dozens of doctors from across Palm Beach County described the exhaustion, burnout, and struggle they’re all facing as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to surge in South Florida.
The delta variant continues to fuel the rapid spread of coronavirus cases in Florida, and now emergency rooms and ICUs are overwhelmed and overcrowded with COVID patients.
“Many of these patients have decided not to get vaccinated, but when they’re hospitalized, they tell us they wish they had,” said Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a neurologist and director of the stroke program at Jupiter Medical Center.
“These people are dying. It’s real, it’s happening, and the only way we know to prevent it is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Elhaddad.
Medical professionals have been on the front lines in the fight against COVID for a year and a half, but they said this time around the virus is deadlier.
“Doctors are mentally and physically exhausted. I personally held hands with nurses and physicians. I have friends who talked about leaving healthcare — we’re exhausted, ” said Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a neurologist at First Choice Neurology and director of the stroke program at Jupiter Medical Center.
Yesterday, Florida reported 26,203 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since the pandemic.
About mRNA Vaccines
The CDC reports that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) reduce the risk of infection by 91 percent for fully vaccinated people. A study also shows that mRNA vaccination benefits people who get COVID-19 despite being fully or partially vaccinated.
mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.
First, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.
Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infections. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is those vaccinated gain this protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.