‘Benefit outweighs the risk’: Pharmacy professor weighs in on COVID-19 vaccine review

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With a vaccine just around the corner, many people are ready to be first in line to get it. But many others have a lot of questions first.

Kobi Nathan is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at St. John Fisher College. He said he can assure people the vaccine is safe but said he understands why people are skeptical. The vaccine production process has been a lot quicker than in the past, which usually take 12-18 months.

Nathan said committees made up of scholars relying on facts and science advise the FDA and CDC on vaccine production.

“The fact that these vaccines have come to the stage are a clear indication that the committees have determined that the benefit of taking the vaccine far outweigh the risk,” Nathan said.

He said the FDA requires patients in trials to be monitored for safety for a minimum of six weeks. The Pfizer and Moderna trials were monitored for eight weeks. He said effects they have seen are short term, including pain at the injection site, chills, fever, and fatigue which patients said goes away in hours or a couple days.

“What some patients have said in terms of experiencing side effects is exactly what we want to see; that’s telling us the body is doing its job in building up immunity.”

Nathan said he could see the majority being vaccinated by next summer but it will also take everyone’s cooperation.

“I think if all of us as citizens come together and do our part with the vaccine in place we’re going to round the curve much faster and we’ll get to a point where there’s enough immunity.”

Nathan also works at Monroe Community Hospital and said information for distribution should be coming down in the next few days.

He also said both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use mRNA technology which is also used in some cancer treatment. Both vaccines are not live vaccines.

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