Nurse’s Corner

Elaina Furlan

Welcome to the nurse’s corner! This is a new space where I will write about health. I hope you will find this helpful and informative. This space is for you! If you have a suggestion, want to know more about a specific health subject or health tips you can contact me.

Email:  |  School Phone Number: (314)267-8191 ext 104

New year, new hope!
Happy 2021! I am hearing a lot how everybody was eager for the ending of the year 2020, a year nobody will forget. Although this common desire and hoping, the simple fact of changing the calendar will not “magically” make things going to be better. Most of the time, the better future depends on us to act towards “the next right thing” (yep, I love Disney)!

For me, this new year is bringing hope and a light at the end of the tunnel, the end of COVID-19 is in our reach! Still, as I said, we need to act to make this happen. Like my 1st post here I talked about the mitigations to protect us from COVID. These didn’t change, continue using your masks, washing your hands, and keeping physical distance of other are the best way to stop the spread. But, by the end of 2020, a wonderful news was given to us, a safe and very effective vaccine was finally here and approved!

Vaccines are one of the great modern triumphs of public health. They have helped add several decades to human life expectancy and are one of the best tools for preventing disease, debilitation, and death. Immunizations with childhood vaccines prevent 2 to 3 million deaths every year. They are also one of the most thoroughly tested and safest products in history. The COVID-19 vaccine was not different.

Thus, in this post I’ll give you some information about the vaccine, so when your turn to take it arrives, you will be equipped to make the best decision for you and your family, with sound science and not fake news. Of course, there is a lot more that I didn’t post here, so if you have any question, or you want to know more about it, please don’t hesitate to contact me, I’ll be more than happy to talk about it. I’m here to care for your children and your family!

Nevertheless, always talk with your primary care physician before receiving any vaccine.

Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines provide 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. Both vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells follow the instructions and make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.  Next, your muscle cell displays the protein piece on its surface (showing off its work). Our immune system recognizes that the protein does not belong here and begins making antibodies.  After developing antibodies, our immune system has learned how to protect against future infection. 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.

Facts about COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines
• mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 – so they cannot give someone COVID-19! This is a scientific fact!!
• mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept – so they do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

The mRNA technology
The mRNA technology it’s not new. It was discovered over 30 years ago and has been studied for vaccine purposes for nearly two decades. In fact, scientists have been working on a coronavirus vaccine since the SARS and MERS outbreaks, but funding dried up. No funding, no scientific advancements. (Look at what we can accomplish when we fund science!). Early-stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been carried out for influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Recent technological advancements in RNA biology and chemistry, as well as delivery systems, have mitigated these challenges and improved their stability, safety, and effectiveness.

There has been complete transparency around ingredients. You can find the fact sheet posted online and in the reference section of this post. Good news for those that may have concerns or are vaccine hesitant, there are no aluminum, mercury, or food allergens. The only concern brough up so far by researchers is people with severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic reaction). If you already develop a severe allergic reaction against any vaccine, don’t take this one. No other concern was identified on the clinical trials or on the health care workers already receiving the vaccine. Again, talk to your PCP.

Side effects/immune response
Most commonly reported side effects are: injection site reaction (pain in the arm), fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever. This is called an “immune response”. This is the response we want without the infection, and it is a good thing! Besides, not everybody will have these side effects. I just had a mild pain in my arm, others reported no side effects at all, but that doesn’t mean the vaccine didn’t work, that just show how your individual body responds to this vaccine. I just want to make this clear, you can’t have COVID-19 from the vaccine, this vaccine contains NO VIRUS! These short-term, easily managed side effects are significantly less risky than taking your chances with COVID-19 infection.

The vaccine benefits outweigh the known risks of contracting COVID-19!
Short-term side effects and 95% vaccine efficacy > long term health damages from COVID-19 infection.
Therefore, please get vaccinated (again, talk with your PCP first) when the vaccine reaches your group! This will protect you, your family, your neighborhood, and will help end COVID-19 and put 2020 finally behind us! The sooner we get vaccinate and establish herd immunity the sooner we can remove our masks and hug our friends again. That’s my wish for 2021, a world with no masks and a lot of hugs!

I did my part and I’m feeling great! Once more, if you have any question, please contact me and I’ll be here for you!