My friends, I’ve written on many occasions this year about COVID-19 vaccines and how important they are to our economy and future as a nation. Never one to speak in weakness, I made sure to get both doses of my (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine as soon as I qualified. Done.
You all know I had COVID-19 (as did my whole household) back in October 2020. Despite challenges, blessedly, we seem to have come through it ok.
I have always said that the data we presented here in Straight Talk will be complete, honest and as transparent as possible so my fellow Louisianians can have the latest, smartest and best information available as we move forward. Avoiding another COVID-19-like pandemic is a very high priority for me, and as it should be for all of you. AND, you know that I’ve explained why mass vaccination is our only viable long-term solution.
But I also know many of you have not yet chosen to get vaccinated. This is a personal choice for everyone that I can respect, if not agree with. And, I recognize that there are some people (children younger than 12, people with certain medical conditions) who truly cannot get the vaccine.
On Wednesday, June 24, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) met to review a lot of information reported from around the country about side effects from the various COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC collated all of this information into one set of coherent data that we can analyze.
Much of what you’ve heard about problems with vaccines were reported directly into a wide-open, public database the federal government set up – the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System – where anyone can make a report. While the access is a good thing to get more information from more people faster so health officials can look into reports, the downside is there was no actual investigation or science behind some of these complaints, which led to rumors and unnecessary alarm. Now, that we are getting actual science about COVID-19 vaccine side effects, I want to make sure you hear them here first.
The Heart of the Matter
The CDC and other federal health officials were looking into reports of heart inflammation (called myocarditis or pericarditis) among younger people who got the vaccine. They wanted to see if there appears to be a link between this side effect and the COVID-19 vaccines. FYI, only the mRNA type of vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) were associated with people who reported this side effect, not the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
So, what did the data show? You can read the CDC committee’s findings here, but I’ll do the numbers:
Of 12.6 million people under age 21 (that’s the population of three Louisianas) who got COVID-19 shots and were studied carefully for bad outcomes, they found 323 cases of heart inflammation that they believe are associated with getting the vaccine. That’s 323 cases in 12,600,000 people.
For perspective, in a typical year in the U.S., 3.1 million people develop heart inflammation from various causes – viruses, infections. Although this is not an unusual or rare condition, given the recent arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines and these reports of heart inflammation coming in from younger, mostly healthy people who got the jab, you can understand why the CDC and health officials needed to investigate these claims very closely. While the CDC cannot say with 100% certainty that these 323 cases were caused by any vaccine, they are close enough to call those cases potential problems.
So, what happened to the 323 people? Most (295) got treated with medication and hospital observation and were released with no bad or long-term effects. Nine of them were admitted to ICUs, and five of the nine are still hospitalized as of this writing. None of them died. We are waiting on data on the other 19 people and their outcomes, but we know none of them are in the hospital.
Low Risks of Vaccine vs. High Risks of COVID-19
We take such reports very seriously, of course, because of our commitments here at Straight Talk to a transparent relationship with you and full vaccination of Louisiana’s population.
As humans going through our daily lives, we assume a certain amount of risk every day. Since most of these cases of myocarditis happened to people under the age of 21, I thought it prudent to see what risks those folks take on a day-to-day basis and how that compares to the risk of being vaccinated.
Out of the 12.6 million vaccinations we discussed above, five resulted in serious cases of heart inflammation. That’s not good and something we want to track very carefully. But we also want to put that into perspective.
For example, in that age group, a person was:
- 842 times more likely to die in a car wreck than get a serious case of heart inflammation from a vaccine
- 771 times more likely to commit suicide
- 675 times more likely to be murdered
- 133 times more likely to drown
You can see from these numbers that the risk from the vaccines is very tiny compared to other, more common risks for this age group.
I’m not trying to minimize horrible tragedies or scare you. But, having a vaccinated population is CRITICAL to avoiding another year like 2020. So it is VITAL that when we hear stories about possible side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, we put these risks in perspective. The current crop of vaccines is overall very safe and very effective at preventing you from getting COVID-19 or spreading it to others, which is why vaccination is very important.
And here at Straight Talk, you ought to know by now we have nothing to hide.
By the way, if those 12.6 million young people had NOT been vaccinated, do you know the possible result?
Government estimates in the same report say we avoided 14,000 hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 cases because of those vaccinations, with 9,000+of those occurring in people over 60, even though they WEREN’T the ones getting vaccinated! That’s because these younger folks are at a high risk of spreading COVID-19 to their older, more vulnerable family members.
You don’t have to just take it from me – you can read the statement from CDC and other leading health officials, who concluded that the risks of COVID-19 are far, far greater than the lower risks of getting the vaccine.
I know I’m a broken record by now, but – COVID-19 is not going to just go away on its own, and I want you to hear solid data about the vaccines that can prevent it here first.
The Straight Talk is, the COVID-19 vaccines are VERY safe, and the data – even on rare side effects that can happen – keeps showing this is true.