Friday, January 15, 2021

"GET THE SHOT!" - Taking the Covid Vaccine (part 1)

NYCRA NEWS and PREVENTION101 continues its mission to share the viewpoints of experts, renowned educators and health advocates in the spirit of expanding public knowledge. For this series, we connect with healthcare worker Dr. Michael Schulder, a leading Northwell Health neurosurgeon in Manhasset, NY.  He is one of the first to share his insights and his personal research on the safety and efficacy of the recently deployed Coronavirus vaccine.  Dr. Schulder also addresses his views on public skepticism about the vaccine over some of the unknown factors of the coronavirus.  He shares his confidence in the science and the preventive strategy of the vaccine as well as its social impact on the global stage.

Transcript by: Dr. Michael Schulder

As of now, there has been no requirement to take the Coronavirus vaccination.   I chose to “get the shot” because it is my belief that you can't practice any kind of medicine (neurosurgery included) if there's not some element of trust in the peer review process (or) in the general research process.  This process has been overseen by academic organizations and by governmental organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So we need to accept this as a baseline allowing for the fact that though human errors may occur, those errors tend to flatten out over the course of large studies that involve a much larger number of people. That's what makes those results credible. 

When vaccine trial results had been reported, it involved tens of thousands of people over months, clearly reporting no major side-effects. I believe the randomization to these trials was done on a 2:1 basis, where two thirds or of people got the vaccine. If there were going to be major safety concerns, we would've known about it for sure, because it would have happened during these trials. This is equally true if the randomization was 1:1.

The underlying science of the messenger RNA (or mRNA) based vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna is understandable and makes sense. The descriptions of the safety of the vaccines are credible and I'm relying on all those things for safety. Regarding efficacy, it is natural to have some skepticism because the idea of a 90- 95% infection prevention rate sounded too good to be true. Many of my colleagues and I have many curbside conversations about this sort of thing. If it was going to be as good as the flu vaccine, meaning an est. 70% infection prevention rate, that's still pretty darn good, especially if societally, it gets us ultimately to herd immunity. Either way, this is really why I and many people who work in my field signed up to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Yes, you still need to mask up and social distance! The vaccine is not an invisible shield -- and it's only part of the ongoing process that we need to do to finally suppress the virus and get out of the pandemic. Even if it is 95% efficacious, it's still not enough... it's still 5% non-efficacious.  Antibacterial antibiotics don't work 100% of the time. If you're one of those 95 out of a hundred people for whom it's going to be effective, you won't get infected or develop the COVID-19 illness. But nobody wants to be in that 5%.

What we don't know is whether you can still transmit the virus; that's still an unknown.  But in advance of you getting vaccinated, we don't know if you're going to be one of the people who still gets infected despite the vaccine.  Our societal goal is not to use the virus to prevent infection in everybody. It's to create herd immunity like the smallpox, polio and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines that have made those illnesses no longer a public health threat to the general population -- (and) get us to the point of eradicating it. The CDC states that “the goal is to make coronavirus like the common cold… it'll be around… you might get some seasonal illness from it, but it won't be a pandemic”--  and it won't be life-threatening in the way that it has been over the last 10 months.

I posted my message in social media in response to the many billions worldwide currently affected by this virus socially, economically and physically.  I urge my colleagues to get vaccinated and to get the word out there that it's safe and it's effective and everyone should do it ASAP.


STEPHEN A. CHAGARES, MD FACS- Cancer Surgeon/ General,Laparoscopic, Robotic Surgery
“A popular concern from people is contracting the virus from this vaccine; NO, it's a piece of RNA, and not a live virus. For this m-RNA virus, the vaccines that we have out now are extremely effective- over 95%.  And for that other theory that 'they rushed the vaccine'... this vaccine came about when the government elected to fund over 125+ labs at once- researching and developing a working vaccine.  They collected all that data, totaling about 62.5 years’ worth of science bunched into six months. And now that we can duplicate genetic sequencing, it's really helping to plug it in. So that even in the future, as other viruses come up, the companies are now able to plug that new RNA, whether it's M-RNA -- they'll be able to plug that in and put out a vaccine even quicker because now they have the technology to do it."

"As a surgical oncologist predominantly taking care of patients who have cancer ...I believe it's important that all healthcare providers be advocates and be transparent about their experiences.  I would like to encourage my patients to get the vaccine but also those in communities where there's a lot of medical mistrust and they may not have the resources to learn about it. Currently, I am seeing a big drive in the healthcare community, probably 80-90% of physicians are getting the vaccine! I know in Texas are enthusiastically receiving it because they want to protect their immunocompromised patients, whether they be patients who are actually on immunosuppressive or getting chemotherapy, or they're elderly patients, diabetics who otherwise would have risk factors. Healthcare providers are definitely stepping forward and getting vaccinated more than I thought..."  [The info provided in this statement is published - 3/17/2021]

ELLEN MATLOFF- Genetic Counselor/Founder - My Gene Counsel, LLC
"(As of) today, more than 65M Americans have now received at least one dose of 1 of the 3 Covid-19 vaccines that currently have FDA approval in the United States (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J). That means that approximately 21% of all Americans have now received at least one vaccine dose. Yes, many people remain concerned to get a vaccine when their turns comes up in line. These concerns are understandable, and we should be empathetic to people feeling these concerns, since all 3 vaccines were developed in less than one year. However, we need to balance the risks of the vaccine against the risk of getting Covid-19, spreading it to friends, family and others, and developing long-hauler effects from Covid-19 that may last weeks, months, or may be permanent. "  [The data provided in this statement is based on the date of this entry - 3/15/2021]

REBECCA NAZARIO, MBA -  VP of Consultative Care /The Medical Group of  ChristianaCare
 Getting the vaccine is a key way that we can protect ourselves, our families, our community and our colleagues. The vaccine is safe and effective. Although its development happened quickly, it went through all the same kinds of testing and rigorous approval that any vaccine does.  I posted my selfie on LinkedIn "getting the shot" because there's so much apprehension out there... especially in our minority communities.  As a Cuban American I know there’s a lot of the mistrust and fear is based on rumors that run rampant through our communities, not the science.  I strongly believe we can lead through example, and a picture is worth a thousand words! My goal is to be a small drop that creates a lot of ripples that ultimately instills more confidence. (see complete article)

"Due to the many risks in outpatient care, I hope that my receiving the first dose and publicly promoting it will encourages cohorts, colleagues, patients and others to follow suit in registering to receive theirs.  Pfizer, Moderna and so many others are reputable Biotech/Pharm companies with a long history of success in their respective field.  This vaccine stands for so much today in the eye of public health and science. With the advancements in science, the opportunity to push forth with mRNA vaccines for other diseases and viruses sheds light on future health. With early work showing a 94/95% success rate, that demonstrates and presents an opportunity for those at risk for getting ill, or those at high risk due to comorbidities of getting ill a sense of hope and resolution..." (see full interview)

* Opinions expressed in this VIEWPOINTS section are supportive comments about the contents of this article and are solely those from the contributors credited.

The ARDS / Covid-19 Connection?
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (aka: Acute Lung Injury / Noncardiac Pulmonary Edema) is a serious lung condition that causes low blood oxygen where fluid builds up inside the tiny air sacs of the lungs (alveoli).  This condition disables air from properly entering the lungs and moving enough oxygen into the bloodstream and throughout the body. [4]   
Experts from Yale Medicine state that "when the virus that causes coronavirus disease enters the body, it frequently attaches to cells in the upper airway... When this occurs, COVID-19 can lead to ARDS, typically setting in about eight days after the onset of initial symptoms. Certain risk factors increase the likelihood of the development of ARDS in people with COVID-19, including advanced age, diabetes, and high blood pressure". [5]

Covid-19 Resources: WHO (and HOW) to Believe 
"In our complex information age, what we choose to believe defines us." The explosion of materials about the Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the relationship between digital media and public readership. Today's web searcher is inundated by a tsunami of information, such that selective and intelligent searching, fact-checking and source-validating (or vetting) has become a major necessity in the daily course of education through the web.  

The widely promoted prevention protocols (of masking, distance and hand hygiene) have conditioned us all toward proactive health consciousness- driving us to want to learn more and stay in touch with the current pandemic updates.  Public health agency sites like and the are some of the top sources for these updates, offering a comprehensive list of resources and the latest proven information on personal safety, care, prevention and treatment solutions. 

Meanwhile, medical experts and societies have also joined this worldwide coalition for public awareness and info-sharing. One such association is the IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America), a 50+ year old community of public health experts allied with major groups like the American Federation for Clinical Research (AFCR), the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), and the Association of American Physicians (AAP). The ISDA formed a branch called the Covid-19 Real-Time Learning Network, featuring a complete, well-maintained resource forum for the general public and the medical community. (see: link)  This type of institutional resourcing brought full access to expert information, empowering the proactive researcher to a wider level of understanding- from current health news, updates on Covid safety guidelines and infection prevention.

Michael Schulder, MD, is vice chair of neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He is director of the Brain Tumor Center at Northwell Health's Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery, co-director of the Center for Stereotactic Radiosurgery and program director of neurosurgical residency training at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, where he is a professor of neurosurgery. A practicing neurosurgeon for more than 30 years, Dr. Schulder is expert in a full range of brain surgery techniques. His particular areas of focus include image-guided brain tumor surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery and functional neurosurgery.


All research and testing programs undergo an evolutionary staging of its data-gathering and problem solving approach. In the case of testing for the physiological effects of Covid-19, researchers have employed standard medical diagnostic protocols from genetic/blood testing to biopsies to all available medical imaging devices) to gather all necessary data.  These protocols independently and in concert provide the necessary answers leading to treatment, prevention and early detection.  (See Feature article)

What's REALLY in the Air?  - Reviewing the Presence of SARS-Cov-2 Recent headlines show evidence of Coronavirus pathogens in hospital air supply and air passageways- creating a systemic hazard for the staff and patients under critical care. Reports showing "substantial controversy whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can be transmitted through aerosols.Initiatives are in full swing from health departments and hospital safety leaders to advance sanitization measures and decontamination initiatives in hospitals. Agencies indicate that without adequate environmental controls, patients with airborne infectious disases will pose a risk to other patients and healthcare workers. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)  expertise is essential for proper environmental management when planning control of airborne infectious disease outbreaks. (see feature).

Disclaimer: The NY Cancer Resource Alliance publishes subscription based non-commercial news articles, educational reports and feature coverage for web distribution in the healthcare and cancer communities. All contributors are volunteers and submissions are provided to us at the discretion of the writer., and The HealthNews section of NYCRANEWS are free public educational programs published by The New York Cancer Resource Alliance (NYCRA) - a self-funded network of volunteers comprised of caregivers, accredited medical professionals, cancer educators, publishers and published experts, patient support clinicians and non-profit foundation partners whose united mission is to bring public education and supportive resource information to the community of patients, survivors and any individual(s) seeking answers about cancer. NYCRA is an exclusive, non-commercial private network originally established on the LINKEDIN digital society and is supported in part by the AngioFoundation whose mission is to share informative materials to the community. For more information, visit: Our VIEWPOINTS section shares editorial perspectives supporting the main topic(s) in is issue and the contributors credited may expand on the current topic, sharing other views that may or may not align directly with said topic, such that the publishers of this newsletter does not necessarily agree with, share or endorse.