A doctor with CMDA is very encouraged by efforts to get a COVID-19 vaccine and explains why it is important that people consider getting it.
Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA, who serves as senior vice president of bioethics and public policy for Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), says he is probably most encouraged by the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines.
"They are literally right around the corner, and there is even some thought that the Pfizer vaccine might even be approved by the FDA with an emergency use authorization that would allow them to start giving the vaccination to, for instance, first responder healthcare professionals and others before the end of the calendar year," Dr. Barrows continues.
He tells One News Now he believes the vaccines are "very safe."
"They've been shown to be safe … at least with tens of thousands of individuals so far, and I think it's excellent news," Dr. Barrows adds.
Some people do not want to get a vaccine. Many wonder why anyone would get a vaccine for something people have a "99 percent chance of surviving," and Dr. Barrows asserts there are several reasons.
"Number one, there is an entirely different mortality of the COVID virus if you look at the age and the risk factors of a person," he begins. "So one of the reasons would be that even though you might be middle age and in your 40s and in perfectly good health, you no doubt will be coming around people that are not necessarily so."
That could result in family members, neighbors, or fellow churchgoers getting the virus and ending up in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Another reason is what Dr. Barrows describes as the unknown factors that, for example, cause people who are otherwise in good health to end up very sick in an ICU.
"I happen to know a very active member in New York City that is still in the ICU," he explains. "It's a female physician in very good health, in her late 40s. It looks like she's going to survive, but you just never know how sick you're going to be."
A third reason involves what Barrows describes as "long-term morbidities from this virus."
"There's been some preliminary investigations into how the virus will impact cardiac function, for instance, or brain function," he states. "We are just beginning to learn about this, and this is even in people who are not necessarily hospitalized."
So he believes that third reason is one that will become more important, "because we're going to find out that more and more people are going to have longstanding complications from the virus, even though they were not necessarily hospitalized."
As for the use of aborted baby cells, a concern many people have with many vaccines, Dr. Barrows says it is important for Christians to understand that the four leaders in Operation Warp Speed -- Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson -- all "unfortunately" made some use of fetal cell lines in the development of their vaccines.
"The Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine only used fetal cell lines in an animal study confirmatory step, but they're not going to be using fetal cells in an ongoing production of the vaccine," the bioethics policy analyst explains. "So when we hear about millions and millions of doses of vaccine that will be produced by these pharmaceutical companies, we can be very glad that neither Moderna nor Pfizer are going to be using fetal cells for the ongoing production."
The same cannot be said about the AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, however, as those two used fetal cell lines from abortions decades ago to help develop the vaccine. They will also be using those fetal cell lines in the ongoing production in their vaccines.
In terms of which websites he reviews and recommends for research on the topic, Dr. Barrows prefers the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as well as the websites for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Charlotte Lozier Institute.