Letter: Huge benefits of vaccine outweigh low risks

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The week of Jan. 12, hospitals throughout our region were overwhelmed by staff shortages due to COVID, with ERs full of patients and surgeries being canceled. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported more than 1,100 deaths thus far in Western North Carolina due to COVID — and the Mountain Xpress publishes a lead article that local medical providers aren’t paying enough attention to side effects from COVID vaccination [“Side Effects: Local Handling of COVID Vaccine Troubles Breeds Medical Mistrust,” Jan. 12].

What awful timing. Vaccination is the single most effective tool to protect us from this deadly viral plague. It is not totally free of side effects, but the good it does far outweighs the risks. If your readers choose not to get vaccinated because of this article, their risk of having and spreading severe disease is hugely increased.

One of us (Dr. Margaret Word-Sims) is a dementia consultant whose work took her to numerous health facilities over these past two years of the epidemic. She has seen tragedy upon tragedy — patients dying, isolated from their families, staff overwhelmed by sadness and overwork, staff dying.

For her, the vaccine has been a godsend, allowing patients and staff some protection against this catastrophe. Not just for patients, but for all of us, especially those with vulnerable friends or family.

The other (Dr. Winfield Word-Sims) is a kidney specialist whose work involves caring for many people with immune compromise. He has seen several die. He has seen patients with long, drawn-out disability. His work also involves taking part in family conferences in which dialysis and other life support measures are offered to patients whose bodies are shutting down from COVID. Almost all of these conferences are about patients who have not been vaccinated. They are unbelievably sad occasions, all the more so because the tragedy could have been easily avoided.

Yes, some people get side effects from vaccination. Usually, they are minor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphatically states that the vaccines are safe and effective. The VAERS data cited in this article is misleading, as it is unfiltered and a great many things are thrown together that do not belong together — as is pointed out by the CDC.

We who have been up close to this tragedy say without hesitation: Get the vaccine. For yourself, for anyone you care about, for our society. The risks are low, the benefits huge.

— Margaret Word-Sims, M.D.
Winfield Word-Sims, M.D.


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12 thoughts on “Letter: Huge benefits of vaccine outweigh low risks

  1. Brian Peterson

    Except mRNA inonoculations are not the ” single best tool against this deadly viral plaque”. Because if your under under the age of 65, eat healthy, exercise, and keep your vitamin d and zinc levels up, it is not a deadly viral plague to begin with, but rather a mild cold. Further more, it has become clearly apparent that these “vaccines” have zero effect on preventing transmission or contraction. Thus if it doesn’t prevent you from getting or spreading the virus, and your healthy and thus won’t have serious complications, there is no reason to take a drug that offers you no benefit and only possible adverse reactions. The vaccinate at all cost narrative has failed, and big pharma M.D. drug dealers are not informed sources on the subject anymore than your local garbage man.

    • aaaaaa

      “Thus if it doesn’t prevent you from getting or spreading the virus, and your healthy and thus won’t have serious complications, there is no reason to take a drug that offers you no benefit and only possible adverse reactions. The vaccinate at all cost narrative has failed, and big pharma M.D. drug dealers are not informed sources on the subject anymore than your local garbage man. ” Or not informed any more than some conspiracy theorist commenting on an article by 2 doctors?

      Seriously Brian? Define mRNA and how it works without copying and pasting some article that you don’t understand. Tell me what is in new improved Lemon Pledge and how it affects your body. How about Round Up? Bayer 3-in-1 rose care? How about the preservatives in Ding-Dongs? I don’t think you have any understanding about how all these different substances affect your body in the short or long term. Be quiet, listen to people educated in this field and try being part of the solution, not part of the problem.

      • Brian Peterson

        Lol, perfect response. I make the factual assertion that mRNA vaccines have proven ineffectual at preventing the contraction and transmission of a endemic corona virus and you respond with the typical condescending ” you don’t understand, defer all logic and reason to the perverbial expert class, cause…there the experts” hahaha. Let me ask you, do you know how an internal combustion engine works? Now if a salesman told you there car could run on air as you were stranded on the side of the road out of gas would you believe him because he’s the “expert”? But the again, you probably “trust the science”

        • aaaaaa

          Brian, I do agree that you made the assertion that mRNA vaccines have proven ineffectual at preventing the contraction and transmission of a endemic corona virus. I don’t agree that your assertion is factual. How did you arrive at that conclusion? You either know lots about human biology and how an mRNA vaccine works or you listened to someone whose opinion you trust. You understand that the medical community, including the two doctors who wrote this letter, disagree with you? Who did you get your information from? Joe Rogan? Paul Rand?

          And yes I do, as you say so derisively, ‘trust the science’. Science is the study of how our world works and when I am dealing with something that I don’t have knowledge of, I do trust, as you say’ the proverbial expert class’……those that have studied the science of a particular area of our world. When my truck is having problems, I trust the technicians at the dealership who understand an internal combustion engine and all the associated technology. When my old house needed to be rewired, I trusted a licensed electrician who understands how electricity works. My background is in horticulture….when I run up against something I am not familiar with or don’t understand, I trust articles from places like Clemson, NC State, UGA and Ohio State. When my dog needs a checkup, I take her to the vet. And yes, when I have a health issue or want to know about Covid, I listen to the experts in the medical community.

          I hope your political issues don’t blind you to the science of covid vaccines and I hope you don’t get sick…….but even if you do, you should be comforted by the fact that the exhausted, overwhelmed, dedicated and burnt out doctors and nurses that might be reading your comments and rolling their eyes in exasperation, will care for you.

          • Brian Peterson

            I’ve had covid twice, a mild cold at best. And how did I come to that conclusion ?? All over the world “fully vaxed” are making up at least 50 % of cases. Israel is up to there fourth shot and currently has the highest case rate on the planet. The big pharma companies you’ve trusted your life to publically admit these drugs have little effect on the omnicron variant. They don’t even claim these drugs prevent transmission or contraction, only that they lessen the severity of complications. You don’t trust science, you trust a narrative. And the narrative has proven to be false on every measure for two years. Lockdowns, paper masks, school closures, small business closures (because viruses don’t spread in buisnesses big enough to hire corporate lobbyists), and now mass vaccination. Every single policy has failed. So keep following the big pharma funded science, put your little paper mask on, take your booster every year for the rest of your life, and it won’t make one difference, you’ll still get covid. If your elderly or immuno compromised, sure get the shot, it’s one tool at your disposal. But don’t try to force people who take care of there health to take a drug they don’t need because of your selfish neurosis.

    • Feel the Burn

      So many studies showing nature immunity is better than the vaccine, the latest being the John Hopkins study. But you can’t argue the point with the vaccine nazis even though the science shows otherwise. I believe the common folk are finally seeing the ill effects of this catastrophe.

  2. KW

    “….And how did I come to that conclusion ?? All over the world “fully vaxed” [sic] are making up at least 50 % of cases. Israel is up to there [sic] fourth shot and currently has the highest case rate on the planet.”

    So many interesting and incorrect assertions here that contradict a well-written commentary by two well-informed physicians. Here are just a few that can be easily dismantled within seconds:
    1. “Fully vaxxed” people do NOT make up “at least 50% of all cases.” Per the CDC, unvaccinated people are at 5x greater risk of being infected with COVID-19. During April 4–December 25, 2021, a total of 6,812,040 COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated persons and 2,866,517 cases among fully vaccinated persons were reported among persons aged ≥18 years in 25 U.S. jurisdictions; 94,640 and 22,567 COVID-19–associated deaths among unvaccinated and fully vaccinated persons, respectively, were reported by December 4. (Source: MMWR, CDC, January 28, 2022 / 71(4);132–138)

    2. Israel does NOT have the “highest case rate on the planet.” That distinct honor goes to the United States, whether you choose to look at total cases, total deaths, total patients recovered, total new cases, or active serious, critical cases. In fact, Israel is not even in the top 5 nations for any of those categories, making this claim patently false in every sense. (Source: Johns Hopkins University of Medicine)

    Although the previous commenter accuses others of “trusting a narrative” rather than “science,” it seems that much of the data upon which their faulty argument depends has been conjured from thin air and/or imagination.

    Evidence-based, informed decision-making with the help of your physician should take precedence over the politicization and polarization that has infiltrated the public discourse surrounding COVID-19 and vaccines in general. We should focus on nurturing our abilities to critically analyze health information for ourselves and identify when sources cannot be considered reliable. This means looking towards experts in the field and away from politicians and TV personalities.

    Thank you, Drs. Word-Sims, for sharing your professional expertise and firsthand experiences to better inform the general public about this topic.

    • Brian Peterson

      Oh my god, I’ve met a fellow sophist! I will respond to your absurd comments when sober time allows. In the time being, put your cloth mask on, and keep six feet apart, unless your at Walmart of course. .

    • Brian Peterson

      So a simple Google search brought up hundreds of articles on Israel having one of the highest case rates in the world despite being one of, if not the most vaccinated countries in the world

      And yes, you are trusting in a failed narrative. and there are countless highly qualified experts, some who work at NIH and other agencies, who are publicly asserting that mass vaccinating healthy people during a pandemic is a huge mistake, and only vulnerable population should be receiving these. You just haven’t heard that because there is a narrative, controlled by the big pharma/media complex that suppressed any view that countered the ” vaccines are the only answer” lie. They intentionally suppressed the efficacy of therapeutic drugs, the importance of vitamin deficiencies, at the expense if hundreds of thousands of lives.
      And this trust your physician mantra, my god, we live in the information age, we all have access to the same data. There not vaccinologists, there not immunologists, there not experts in virology. they write out prescriptions for a living, and have a vested interest in pushing big pharma drugs as they are compinsated for doing so.

      • Peter Robbins

        Which leading experts think mass immunization against covid is a bad idea? The top five will suffice.

      • Susie-Danzen

        Brian – there’s good news on the horizon. All the recent midterm polling data suggest that the Pandemic needs to be over with, and that, quite frankly, the hand has been overplayed. By spring and into summer we’re gonna see an easing of all the mask mandates and covid related measures.

        With all due respect to the doctors that contributed their opinions here, it’ll be a politician that decides when this pandemic is over with. And again, the polling data suggest it needs to happen in pretty short order!

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