Vaccines Can Prevent Farm Downtime This Fall

Vaccines Can Prevent Farm Downtime This Fall

The COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy are testament to the science behind its development and farm groups are urging farmers and ranchers to trust the science, just like they do for their animals and crops.

Last month, a group of more than 30 agriculture organizations penned an open letter to their members, encouraging rural residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine. With kids heading back to school and fall calving season and harvest on the horizon, getting the vaccine protects your family, and your farm from downtime.

Dr. Scott Stienecker, infectious diseases physician and healthcare epidemiologist from Fort Wayne, Indiana, says getting the vaccine is your best protection against the highly contagious delta variant.

“It is very interesting when you look at delta virus, the amount of virus excreted by this infection is nearly 1000 times more than the amount that we recovered with alpha virus. So, a booster vaccine can really help boost that amount of initial protection and help you from getting that initial COVID infection. Having had the previous vaccines will still prevent you from developing the serious signs and symptoms of COVID infection, and although you may get sick, you’re more likely to have more like a cold, then you are to have a serious disease or require hospitalization.”

Dr. Sienecker says the delta variant is attacking younger people, including children.

“And we really see the amount of damage and diseases far higher. We think in part because it’s so much more transmissible, we know that physical distancing is still very helpful, wearing a mask is incredibly helpful in terms of reducing that risk also washing hands is so very important. But the vast majority of cases between, 93 and 97 percent that have occurred, have been in those people without vaccination. So, it’s so very important for those who are in vaccinated to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Sienecker says any side effects of the vaccine far outweigh symptoms of COVID-19 and only last for a day or two. And the science behind the vaccine has existed for decades.

“This is a fascinating technology that has been around now for a couple of decades, and it’s been used in some other kinds of illnesses, such as the Ebola vaccine, and it’s been shown to be very effective. When SARS CoV 1 came around, the vaccine was already in production at that time, though never made it to market, and was put on the shelf until SARS CoV 2 came out. So, there was a lot of background work already done. Our government did a great job by cutting a lot of the red tape, go straight to build large batches and will take care of all of that red tape. But none of the critical steps necessary to assure vaccine safety were shortened or skipped.”

Dr. Stienecker says the safety and efficacy of the vaccine is shown in the numbers.

“71 percent of adults have received one of the COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, and that’s more than 195 million people here in the U.S. But when you look globally, we’re talking nearly 3.4 billion people have received a vaccine of one form or another. And that’s just a tremendous number of people that would allow us to detect whether or not there are significant safety issue. The messenger RNA vaccines are without a doubt the most effective, safest vaccines ever created, ever, in the history of the world.”

Finally, long-term COVID issues can include fatigue and brain fog. Dr. Stienecker says more than 600 people have been referred to the long-haul clinic at his hospital in Fort Wayne.

“And it appears that these symptoms are going to last a long time, possibly even years, leading the potential for long-term disability. It’s looking like 10 to 20 percent of the workforce is going to be out with Long Haul COVID. The most important things we can do right now to protect ourselves against this are going to be masking, handwashing distancing, and then most importantly, get your COVID vaccine. remember, just about the time this peak is going to wind down, we’re expecting influenza to hit hard. So, it’s a really good idea, get your flu shot now, because not only are we expecting flu to hit hard, but we also see that the flu vaccine appears to have a protective effect against COVID as well.”

Visit with your doctor to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine and visit vaccines.gov for more information.