In part five, the panel answers a question from a viewer about how long the COVID-19 vaccination will protect people from the virus. They also discuss if things such as preexisting conditions will affect any kind of side effects from the vaccination.
ERNEST C. JACKSON: My question to the doctor is this-- what are the factors that will determine how long that vaccine will protect us from COVID-19?
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: So Dr. Essien, do we have any idea how long the vaccine will protect us?
UTIBE ESSIEN: Yeah, so that's such an important question and Dr. Johnson shared a little bit of this earlier around how we're still learning. It could last for the next six months. It could last a year. It could last for 10 years, like some of the vaccines that exist already. But at this point, we don't yet know how long immunity will last.
We don't yet know what are some of the factors, like Ernest asked, that would be able to make the vaccines last longer than others. And so we're appreciating the patience of our community members as we all learn together. But what we do know, again, is just this really severe or impressive amount of immunity that we get from getting that vaccine, which is why we're really encouraging everyone to get out there and get the shot once they have a chance.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: And Doctor Dr. Johnson-Moore, let me ask you this because we heard so much early on about pre-existing conditions in our community, things that made us a little more vulnerable to this virus. Are those things that we should take into consideration when it comes to the vaccine? Things like high blood pressure, things like obesity-- are those things that need to be considered when it comes to the vaccine?
RHONDA JOHNSON-MOORE: They need to be considered in terms of risk of COVID infection and severity of illness and increased likelihood of dying. We must always remember what vaccines do. Vaccines help prevent illness, period. They give us prevention.
Right now, there's no cure for this virus. We're in year two of this pandemic and this is a disease for which there are very few treatments and no cure. So all's we have is prevention. Those are those hand-washing, six feet apart, and wearing a mask, and the other tool of prevention is the vaccine. So people who have conditions, preexisting conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, immunosuppression, HIV-- these people should get vaccinated because they're at higher risk of dying from COVID-19.
We must remember this is about survival. At the end of the day, we need to think about living-- living past this epidemic, getting back to our living our best lives. That's-- whatever that is. We want to get back to living our best lives and the way back is through vaccination.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: And Dr. Gloster, we've got about a minute before we take a break here. But I mean, here's the other reality-- we can talk about masks and distancing and all this other stuff, but we're all up against what-- pandemic fatigue. We're all tired. And now people are talking about double-masking. How do we push through this pandemic fatigue?
JEROME GLOSTER: Well, personally, I think-- and I share this with the other panelists-- I have a level of encouragement given the things that are happening now. The fact that there is a vaccine, the fact that, you know, there is an outlook that says cases should begin to go down and we should at some point in the future this year at least see things to be better. And there even are some know, perhaps optimistic predictions that by next fall, who knows, there might be a possibility where a lot of these restrictions will be lifted.
But at the very least, what-- I like to, you know, see that glass half full. The fact that if cases are going down, vaccine is getting out there, therefore, less death, less disease, OK, we're getting better. Even if we're still wearing masks, we're getting better.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: Just be patient. Just be patient.
JEROME GLOSTER: Exactly.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: OK. We'll take a break. We'll be right back.