Carvings September 2, 2021

Upcoming presentations at Osher and OASIS plus a freebie

Osher Lifelong Learning at Cal State San Marcos campus. Register at csu.edu/el/olli/howtoregisterhtml or 760-750-4020

A day in the life of a Renaissance physician     Wednesday      September 15 1:00  $45 for the series

A day in the life of a California Gold rush physician                 September 22

A day in the life of an ancient Egypt physician                         September 29  

Temecula campus Immunizations: the good, the bad and the future   Friday, September 10, 9:30 $15

OASIS Adult Learning Center, Grossmont in La Mesa. Google San Diego OASIS or call 619-881-6262

Baby Boomer blindness                         Thursday          September 16   2:30      (Online only – no cost)

Probiotics, the germs that keep us alive Monday           September 20   1:00      in-person or online  $12

Wine in the time of Jesus    A brief presentation at St. Thomas More church, Parish Center. Lower level   

                                          1450 S. Melrose, Oceanside     Tuesday, September 6   7:30 p.m.  No charge 

In the news

Is it the end of the beginning?

            The pandemic that began about 21 months ago has been more deadly than any in this century and most of the previous one. Medical science has been rocked by the unpredictability of this virus and humbled by recurring waves of infection and deaths. But there have emerged some hopeful signs that we are, indeed, at the end of the beginning.

            Effective vaccines were developed in a nearly miraculous brief span of time, building on discoveries of more than 30 years ago (the mRNA vaccines), with even more new technological advances on the way that promise longer-lasting immunity, simpler storage requirements and elimination of the need for booster doses.

            Vaccine side effects can be serious, even fatal, but after more than five billion doses of vaccines administered around the world, the medical community is both surprised and gratified that the rate of such adverse effects is lower than what most had expected. From the birth of vaccines at the end of the 18th Century there has never been one with zero side effects. But let’s pause for a moment to recognize what is really happening. It’s quite possible, though impossible to prove, that serious symptoms from the mild artificial infection (the vaccine) are signs that the natural infection would have resulted in grave illness or death.

            Persons with allergic conditions are justifiably anxious about what might happen if they receive a vaccine but a study in Israel should provide significant comfort. Among 429 persons deemed to be at high risk because of multiple drug allergies, previous anaphylactic reaction to any drug or vaccine or a condition called mast dell disorder only two percent had an allergic response. Six had only minor symptoms (skin rash, cough, swollen tongue) and only three had an anaphylactic response that was controlled by treatment. To repeat – all were at high risk to begin with.

 “Breakthrough” infections are also not as deadly as had been feared. As I noted in the post on July 15th, there are several reasons why vaccines fail. Further, among those who suffered an infection after full vaccination, few have died, and those who did are overwhelmingly in high-risk groups that are older and afflicted with three or more comorbidities such as heart disease or diabetes. CDC data show that nearly a third had immunosuppressive conditions.

Another positive finding: in a study from Israel, persons who become infected after vaccination are found to have “significantly higher levels of antibodies afterward” than vaccinees who were not later infected.

Will this SARS-CoV-2 virus ever go away? Not likely. And it will continue to mutate. The biggest fear is that some future mutation (we’ll probably have to come up with more than the Greek alphabet, which has only 24 characters) will evade vaccine-induced immunity and be even more destructive. Call me a Pollyanna, but I don’t expect either of those things will happen. And if they do I believe that we’ll be able to handle them.

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