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Health

Hearing loss, auto-immune diseases, side effects and the COVID-19 vaccine – KOAT New Mexico

All week long KOAT will be answering viewer questions on the COVID-19 vaccine from New Mexico’s top doctors and health experts. New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie CollinsNew Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase Chief Medical Officer for Presbyterian Healthcare Service Dr. Jason Mitchell QUESTION: What is the biggest concern regarding the COVID-19 vaccine given how short the clinical study was in compared to other vaccines?DR. MITCHELL: People have asked that a lot, was this vaccine studied enough? The truth is across the world, 1.4 billion vaccines have been given and in the United States alone, billions. This vaccine has been studied well. What are the big concerns? The normal side effects, fevers and chills. That’s just your body learning to fight COVID. Although you have the symptoms, it’s not going to kill you, it just feels uncomfortable. The other thing is the people that get allergic reactions, that’s rare, that’s why we keep you 15 minutes after.Know that this is a well-studied vaccine and a lot of people have gotten it. QUESTION FROM PEARLINE BENALLY: Is it possible to lose your hearing from COVID shots?DR. SCRASE: We researched that and didn’t hear of that. We did find some cases of people who lost their hearing because of getting the coronavirus infection, but we haven’t found reliable reports of hearing loss with the vaccine itselfThat’s something probably that future research, when we have another 10 or 20 million people vaccinated. But right now, it seems like likely to lose your hearing from a COVID infection than the vaccine.QUESTION: In order of us to achieve herd immunity is the responsibility on us to get vaccinated, if we can, in order to protect those who can’t?DR. COLLINS: Even if we can’t reach what’s called herd immunity, which speaks to the idea we may have to vaccinate every year, we really want to encourage people to get the shot. Because the more people who get vaccinated, the less chance this virus has to replicate and mutate.DR. SCRASE: Any time anyone in NM gets vaccinated, that lowers your chances of getting a COVID infection. When you get vaccinated, that lowers that chance of everyone in the state, by some small but measurable amount.New Mexico’s goal is to get 60% of those 16 and up vaccinated by July. QUESTION FROM KAREN ANDERSON WILKINSON: How is the vaccine affecting people with Auto Immune Diseases? I had both Pfizer shots and just don’t feel well now, three months later.DR. SCRASE: Because the vaccine operates on the immune system, and because people who have auto immune diseases are on drugs surprising the immune system, there can be conflicts there.However, unlike organ transplants, many people with one example of an auto immune disease like arthritis or lupus, under the supervision of their clinician can discontinue some of those immuno-suppressant drugs.Dr. Scrase says his best advice is that someone with an auto immune disease talk to their doctors about any drugs they’re taking and how they could interfere with the vaccine. QUESTION: Why are some people getting symptoms after their vaccines, and others are not? What symptoms should I expect? DR. COLLINS: Everyone’s different. Some people may have no reaction at all. Very little soreness, no fever. They’re still getting benefit from the vaccine. There are others who may be more reactionary, and so they’re going to have more of that, ugh, I feel like I have an infection, and they get better after a day or two. It just really depends on the patient.DR. SCRASE: I think immune response vary by genetics. Secretary Collins said women are three times more likely to have post vaccine symptoms than men. But they’re usually very, very mild. Older people have less symptoms in response to the vaccine than younger people.So what should you do if you feel like you’re having a serious reaction? Dr. Collins says if you have a high fever for more than four hours, then it’s time to call your doctor.Most people feel side effects for 24 to 36 hours. According to the CDC the most common side effects are a sore arm, feeling exhausted, headache and chills. QUESTION: Why do I need the second dose if I got the first? DR. COLLINS: Keep in mind that the authorization for the vaccines require two shots for you to get full efficacy. The full benefit. So, it’s like you wouldn’t go to the doctor and get a blood pressure medication and decide to take it one day a week. You would take it every day as prescribed. It’s the same way with these vaccines. They’re most effective if we take them as they’ve been prescribed, which is two shots for Pfizer and Moderna.DR. SCRASE: Also, you will be more protected if you get the second shot. Your family will be more protected, especially in New Mexico where we have more multi-generational families than almost any other states in America.QUESTION: What do I do if I lost my vaccine card?DR. COLLINS: You can go to vaxviewnm.org and pull up and print your immunization status.While you need that paper proof of your vaccine, it’s also a good idea to take a picture of your card as a backup in case you lose it. QUESTION FROM MELISSA MILLER: I have a history of DVT (Deep vein thrombosis), so I was concerned about the J&J vaccines causing even a few cases of DVT. However, I have also heard that DVT can be a symptom of COVID-19 so I don’t know what to do about getting the vaccine. And if I do get it, which one should I get?DR. COLLINS: She should get whichever vaccine is offered to her. And keep in mind the very few numbers of cases of J&J, there were very relative to the number of doses administered. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than you are to get a clot from the J&J vaccine.COVID itself is a vascular disease. So you’re prone to having manifestations of vascular dysfunction from this virus. So you’re more at risk from COVID itself than you are with any of the vaccines that are currently available.Health experts say when you look at the statistics, you’re more likely to get a blood clot with a serious case of COVID-19 than the vaccine that protects against it.QUESTION: Does the vaccine affect fertility?DR. COLLINS: The vaccines do not affect fertility. There is no data to support that.DR. SCRASE: Many of the things that people are worried about from the vaccine are actually more likely to get from getting COVID itself. There were some early reports about a year ago of a decline in male fertility in people who actually had a COVID infection.Dr. Scrase says if you’re thinking about what the vaccine may or may not do, the alternative of what could happen if you get COVID-19 could be much worse.QUESTION FROM CAROL ALLEN: I participated in the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine trial and received my second shot January 11. Should I get a single dose Pfizer vaccine in June or now for increased protection? Also, there’s no way to register with the state to indicate that I have been vaccinated since AstraZeneca has not yet been approved. DR. COLLINS: What we’re doing now with our online portal is we’re adding another option to indicate you’ve been vaccinated with AstraZeneca. That wasn’t there before, because we aren’t using that here in the States unless you’re part of a trial.To the point of now getting Pfizer in June, there’s no indication she needs to add Pfizer to her current regiment. She’s received AstraZeneca. Now we just need to watch the data and see about yearly shots, if that’s going to move forward.The option to checkmark you’ve had an Astra Zeneca vaccine is not on the state dashboard just yet, but the state says they are working on getting that option up very soon. QUESTION FROM CHRIS J CHAVEZ: What is the difference between the two Pfizer shots? Why are people getting symptoms on the second one. Is it just two of the same shot, but 21 days apart or is the second a stronger type of shot?DR. SCRASE: A lot of times, what we’re seeing with that second shot, is your immune system is responding. You may feel achy, maybe there’s discomfort in your arm. But it’s really a sign you’re responding appropriately to the vaccine.The vaccines are identical. It’s two doses of the same vaccine for Pfizer. Two doses of different vaccine but same vaccine for Moderna, both doses. So it’s just a stronger second response.Dr. Scrase says it’s common for vaccines to be two doses, saying the adult shingles vaccine is now two doses and most vaccines for kids when they start the vaccination process come in two doses. QUESTION FROM KAREN: Can you still get COVID even after you’ve had the vaccine?DR. JASON MITCHELL: That’s a great question, Karen, I want you to know the vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing you from dying or being hospitalized from COVID. That being said there’s a small percentage of people that could still get COVID after the vaccine, but it’s a mild case and wouldn’t case the serious things we are concerned about.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

All week long KOAT will be answering viewer questions on the COVID-19 vaccine from New Mexico’s top doctors and health experts.

  • New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins
  • New Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase
  • Chief Medical Officer for Presbyterian Healthcare Service Dr. Jason Mitchell

QUESTION: What is the biggest concern regarding the COVID-19 vaccine given how short the clinical study was in compared to other vaccines?

DR. MITCHELL: People have asked that a lot, was this vaccine studied enough? The truth is across the world, 1.4 billion vaccines have been given and in the United States alone, billions. This vaccine has been studied well.

What are the big concerns? The normal side effects, fevers and chills. That’s just your body learning to fight COVID. Although you have the symptoms, it’s not going to kill you, it just feels uncomfortable. The other thing is the people that get allergic reactions, that’s rare, that’s why we keep you 15 minutes after.

Know that this is a well-studied vaccine and a lot of people have gotten it.

QUESTION FROM PEARLINE BENALLY: Is it possible to lose your hearing from COVID shots?

DR. SCRASE: We researched that and didn’t hear of that. We did find some cases of people who lost their hearing because of getting the coronavirus infection, but we haven’t found reliable reports of hearing loss with the vaccine itself

That’s something probably that future research, when we have another 10 or 20 million people vaccinated. But right now, it seems like likely to lose your hearing from a COVID infection than the vaccine.

QUESTION: In order of us to achieve herd immunity is the responsibility on us to get vaccinated, if we can, in order to protect those who can’t?

DR. COLLINS: Even if we can’t reach what’s called herd immunity, which speaks to the idea we may have to vaccinate every year, we really want to encourage people to get the shot. Because the more people who get vaccinated, the less chance this virus has to replicate and mutate.

DR. SCRASE: Any time anyone in NM gets vaccinated, that lowers your chances of getting a COVID infection. When you get vaccinated, that lowers that chance of everyone in the state, by some small but measurable amount.

New Mexico’s goal is to get 60% of those 16 and up vaccinated by July.

QUESTION FROM KAREN ANDERSON WILKINSON: How is the vaccine affecting people with Auto Immune Diseases? I had both Pfizer shots and just don’t feel well now, three months later.

DR. SCRASE: Because the vaccine operates on the immune system, and because people who have auto immune diseases are on drugs surprising the immune system, there can be conflicts there.

However, unlike organ transplants, many people with one example of an auto immune disease like arthritis or lupus, under the supervision of their clinician can discontinue some of those immuno-suppressant drugs.

Dr. Scrase says his best advice is that someone with an auto immune disease talk to their doctors about any drugs they’re taking and how they could interfere with the vaccine.

QUESTION: Why are some people getting symptoms after their vaccines, and others are not? What symptoms should I expect?

DR. COLLINS: Everyone’s different. Some people may have no reaction at all. Very little soreness, no fever. They’re still getting benefit from the vaccine. There are others who may be more reactionary, and so they’re going to have more of that, ugh, I feel like I have an infection, and they get better after a day or two. It just really depends on the patient.

DR. SCRASE: I think immune response vary by genetics. Secretary Collins said women are three times more likely to have post vaccine symptoms than men. But they’re usually very, very mild. Older people have less symptoms in response to the vaccine than younger people.

So what should you do if you feel like you’re having a serious reaction? Dr. Collins says if you have a high fever for more than four hours, then it’s time to call your doctor.

Most people feel side effects for 24 to 36 hours. According to the CDC the most common side effects are a sore arm, feeling exhausted, headache and chills.

QUESTION: Why do I need the second dose if I got the first?

DR. COLLINS: Keep in mind that the authorization for the vaccines require two shots for you to get full efficacy. The full benefit. So, it’s like you wouldn’t go to the doctor and get a blood pressure medication and decide to take it one day a week. You would take it every day as prescribed. It’s the same way with these vaccines. They’re most effective if we take them as they’ve been prescribed, which is two shots for Pfizer and Moderna.

DR. SCRASE: Also, you will be more protected if you get the second shot. Your family will be more protected, especially in New Mexico where we have more multi-generational families than almost any other states in America.


QUESTION: What do I do if I lost my vaccine card?

DR. COLLINS: You can go to vaxviewnm.org and pull up and print your immunization status.

While you need that paper proof of your vaccine, it’s also a good idea to take a picture of your card as a backup in case you lose it.

QUESTION FROM MELISSA MILLER: I have a history of DVT (Deep vein thrombosis), so I was concerned about the J&J vaccines causing even a few cases of DVT. However, I have also heard that DVT can be a symptom of COVID-19 so I don’t know what to do about getting the vaccine. And if I do get it, which one should I get?

DR. COLLINS: She should get whichever vaccine is offered to her. And keep in mind the very few numbers of cases of J&J, there were very relative to the number of doses administered. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than you are to get a clot from the J&J vaccine.

COVID itself is a vascular disease. So you’re prone to having manifestations of vascular dysfunction from this virus. So you’re more at risk from COVID itself than you are with any of the vaccines that are currently available.

Health experts say when you look at the statistics, you’re more likely to get a blood clot with a serious case of COVID-19 than the vaccine that protects against it.

QUESTION: Does the vaccine affect fertility?

DR. COLLINS: The vaccines do not affect fertility. There is no data to support that.

DR. SCRASE: Many of the things that people are worried about from the vaccine are actually more likely to get from getting COVID itself. There were some early reports about a year ago of a decline in male fertility in people who actually had a COVID infection.

Dr. Scrase says if you’re thinking about what the vaccine may or may not do, the alternative of what could happen if you get COVID-19 could be much worse.

QUESTION FROM CAROL ALLEN: I participated in the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine trial and received my second shot January 11. Should I get a single dose Pfizer vaccine in June or now for increased protection? Also, there’s no way to register with the state to indicate that I have been vaccinated since AstraZeneca has not yet been approved.

DR. COLLINS: What we’re doing now with our online portal is we’re adding another option to indicate you’ve been vaccinated with AstraZeneca. That wasn’t there before, because we aren’t using that here in the States unless you’re part of a trial.

To the point of now getting Pfizer in June, there’s no indication she needs to add Pfizer to her current regiment. She’s received AstraZeneca. Now we just need to watch the data and see about yearly shots, if that’s going to move forward.

The option to checkmark you’ve had an Astra Zeneca vaccine is not on the state dashboard just yet, but the state says they are working on getting that option up very soon.

QUESTION FROM CHRIS J CHAVEZ: What is the difference between the two Pfizer shots? Why are people getting symptoms on the second one. Is it just two of the same shot, but 21 days apart or is the second a stronger type of shot?

DR. SCRASE: A lot of times, what we’re seeing with that second shot, is your immune system is responding. You may feel achy, maybe there’s discomfort in your arm. But it’s really a sign you’re responding appropriately to the vaccine.

The vaccines are identical. It’s two doses of the same vaccine for Pfizer. Two doses of different vaccine but same vaccine for Moderna, both doses. So it’s just a stronger second response.

Dr. Scrase says it’s common for vaccines to be two doses, saying the adult shingles vaccine is now two doses and most vaccines for kids when they start the vaccination process come in two doses.

QUESTION FROM KAREN: Can you still get COVID even after you’ve had the vaccine?

DR. JASON MITCHELL: That’s a great question, Karen, I want you to know the vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing you from dying or being hospitalized from COVID. That being said there’s a small percentage of people that could still get COVID after the vaccine, but it’s a mild case and wouldn’t case the serious things we are concerned about.

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