Dr. Jeremy DePugh has heard a lot of people compare the COVID-19 vaccine to the flu shot. He compares it to a bulletproof vest.
“I’ve had friends, family members, even patients who say, ‘Well, maybe it’s like the flu shot. You know, the flu mutates and it’s not always effective,” he said. “What I tell people is, let’s say you’re about to go into a gunfight and I hand you a bulletproof vest. Would you put it on? There’s a chance the person across from you will shoot you in the arm or leg or head, but you’d still wear that vest to protect yourself.”
With an efficacy rate north of 90%, it’s an apt comparison, but unlike a bulletproof vest the COVID-19 vaccine actually protects more than just the person wearing it. That’s part of why Dr. DePugh advocates for it so strongly.
“If there’s any reluctance to get vaccinated, we should just look at the facts and go by the science,” he said. “It is a safe vaccine. It did follow all of the appropriate measures and cleared clinical trials. It was quicker, but that’s because we were in a pandemic and the government realized that.
“Operation Warp Speed was an effort to speed up clinical trials. Trials take a lot of logistics and money to fund, and a lot of time it’s the drug companies that have to put that money up front. With the aid of the government, a lot of those expenses and hurdles were able to be shortcutted.”
In addition to the logistical advantages, the COVID vaccine was also aided by scientific advances.
“We already had a head-start on this virus before it became a pandemic,” Dr. DePugh explained. “We knew the code for the virus and that helped speed up the process.”
He doesn’t just advocate for the vaccine, which is administered in two doses given roughly a month apart, he has already received both injections. He described the shot as being painless and did not experience any unusual symptoms. While some side effects are common and expected, he only experienced a sore arm – and it lasted less than two days.
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being offered only to specific occupations and age groups, with the criteria slowly expanding over time. Eventually, it will be open to the general public. Dr. DePugh understands some of the concerns associated with the vaccine, but he encourages the public to consider the science and follow his example.
“People shouldn’t feel worried it came out so quickly. They should be thankful that it did,” Dr. DePugh concluded.
In other words, don’t be afraid to put on that bulletproof vest.