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Dr. Tom Walsh shares thoughts on COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Walsh vaccine

Community HealthCare System received an allocation of 150 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, December 17, for healthcare workers. Dr. Tom Walsh was the first associate to receive it. Dr. Walsh also took time to share his thoughts on the vaccine for those who are interested in learning more.

Why did you want to receive the vaccine?

I wanted to protect myself from the coronavirus.

What should people know about side effects?

The side effects are generally mild and gone in 24 hours. They are a sign that your immune system is responding appropriately.

Who should be more cautious about receiving the vaccine?

People with severe allergic reactions to previous vaccines or those who are allergic to any ingredients in the vaccine should be cautious. Pregnant or nursing mothers should also check with their personal healthcare providers.

Should people be worried about the fact that this is the first mRNA vaccine? What does that mean?

I would think not. mRNA is short for messenger RNA. This is a relatively new scientific process that has a very exciting future with applications for making vaccines, but also for treating many other medical conditions such as cancer. We will be hearing a lot more about mRNA in the coming years.

Should people be worried about the speed with which the vaccine was developed?

No. This horrible pandemic will give birth to many new technologies. The production of a vaccine using mRNA is just an example. New ways of thinking and treating diseases will arise. A lot of good things will result.

Why are you optimistic about the COVID-19 vaccine?

A 95% success rate for a vaccine is almost unheard of. The 5% who contracted the virus in spite of being vaccinated did not develop severe, life-threatening symptoms. The vaccine appears highly protective.

Why is it important for a large cross-section of the population to get vaccinated?

The more people who are immune to the virus, the more rapidly the pandemic will come under control. The term that is used is herd immunity.

What should people do until they are able to get the vaccine? How about after the vaccine? How long do we need to maintain COVID-19 precautions?

Continue mask wearing, social distancing, and good hand washing. Even after being vaccinated, we should continue precautions until the pandemic is under control.

What have you learned about practicing medicine during the pandemic?

“Expect the unexpected,” which is also a quote from a previous medical school professor.

What are you most looking forward to in getting COVID-19 under control?

Spending much less time refuting the misinformation out there on social media regarding the pandemic, mask wearing, and vaccine safety. More importantly, I am looking forward to getting a life back with family gatherings, dining out, attending sporting events, etc. Going forward, people need to realize that becoming vaccinated will play a very important role in this process.

Dr. Tom Walsh holds an undergraduate degree from Notre Dame University and a medical degree from the University of Kansas. He completed his residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. His clinical interest is family medicine. “I’m the definition of boring,” Dr. Walsh says, because he has had the same wife, Marcia, and the same job for more than 45 years. “I have been very blessed,” he says. Dr. Walsh and Marcia have three children, two daughters-in-law, a son-in-law, and eight grandchildren.


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  • MARTHA (KENNEDY) MILLER | Dec 18th 2020 @ 8:23 PM

    thanks for the INFO DR. WALSH

  • Deborah Stallard | Jan 22nd 2021 @ 7:49 AM

    Thanks for the input, Doc Tom!

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