COVID-19 Vaccine: Q&A w Angela Gonzales

Date: January 15, 2021

Presentation by: Sandy Stemp, Chief Operation Officer, Reena

Guests: Angela Gonzales, R.N M.N., Health Care Facilitator, Advanced Practice Nurse, Surrey Place
Guests: Sharon Magor, Marketing and Communication Manager, Reena

Once the genetic recipe for the coronavirus was published international research networks worked hard together as a team to develop the COVID-19 vaccines

The 2 vaccines currently being used are synthetic messenger RNA type vaccines and that mechanism has been researched for over 2 decades. It’s not a new mechanism, but the COVID-19 vaccines, which are messenger RNA vaccine, they are “new”.

Usually, Health Canada receives all of the research in one package and at one point in time. However, this process was unique where the research was submitted in real-time, as it came out. The review process for Health Canada was quicker this way.

We need to protect the people we are meeting and supporting and not transmit it to them. If we look at information from the news and reputable sources, like Health Canada, the only way to stop the pandemic is a worldwide vaccination program. The only way to have herd immunity in large numbers is by getting the vaccine. But meanwhile, we need to stop daily actions that could still transmit the virus to other people who are vulnerable

They are not competing but are collaborating to offer as many options as possible. The first 2 vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are labeled because we need to know which vaccine is which (much like every medication is labelled). Both use the same mechanism of messenger RNA but have slightly different ways for storing and administrating etc.

People should not be worried about the side effects of these specific COVID-19 vaccines in the sense that there are safety nets and processes in place. We need to pay attention to reputable evidence-based information vs. hearsay or social media.

You should check with your family physician or RPN (Registered Practical Nurse) about the safety of the vaccine in relation to your own specific underlying health conditions. The Ministry of Health consent forms list some of these conditions that you should check with your family physician or RPN about.

They appear now but may be changed in the future. For example, some women during the clinical trials did not know they were pregnant and received the vaccine. These women are being monitored through the international research network, and there is hope that from that data they may be able to change some of the conditions that are listed.

There are lots of other countries ahead of us. In mid-January 2021, more than 35 million doses have been given in over 49 countries. Thousands of people have received the vaccine, so there is lots of data that is supporting the safety of the vaccine and what might be considered a milder adverse effect.

The PPE is the external protection, but the vaccine would be the “internal” protection. When we receive the internal COVID vaccine, it will help us to not develop serious COVID-related symptoms and possibly death. We can still transmit on our hands, on our skin, on our clothing, so using PPE is helping to cut the chain of transmission. The vaccine is helping protect us specifically internally.