As the founder and leader of Lam Vascular & Associates, Dr. Russell Lam was among the first healthcare workers in Dallas to receive the COVID-19 vaccine just before Christmas. He received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the campus where our flagship office is located. A second dose will follow in a few weeks.
Here, he answered a few questions about the experience.
Why did you want to be among the first people to get the vaccine?
I felt as a healthcare worker, it was my responsibility. I’m grateful to join the thousands of healthcare workers across the country already electing to ‘opt-in’ to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We opt-in because of our family, our friends, our patients, and most importantly, we opt-in because we believe in science.
Did getting the vaccine hurt and did you experience any side effects?
Getting the vaccine hurt no more than getting your annual flu shot and I didn’t experience any adverse side effects at all.
How does the vaccine work?
Generally speaking, the COVID-19 vaccine helps our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get sick with it. After vaccination, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes (two types of defensive white blood cells) that will remember how to fight the virus in the future. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination.
More specifically, the vaccine contains material from the virus that causes COVID-19, which gives our cells instructions for making a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build those T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus if we are infected in the future.
Will you encourage patients to get the vaccine?
When the vaccine is available for widespread distribution, we will encourage our patients to get it, when it is appropriate for them. Most of us have witnessed firsthand the suffering brought on by this pandemic and wished for it to end. We hope that in the days and months to come, our patients will choose to join us in this fight as well.
Do we know when the vaccine will be available to the general public yet?
In Texas, the vaccine is currently being offered to healthcare workers, followed by senior citizens with medical risk factors and first responders at this time. Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when the vaccine will be available for the general public, but that may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.
The CDC has outlined the benefits, safety protocols, processes and procedures around the COVID-19 vaccine here.
Offering Hope for Tomorrow, Today
As we step into 2021, we’re all hoping for a better, brighter, healthier future. As the nation and the world work to contain and eradicate the COVID-19 world health pandemic, we are proud to do our part at Lam Vascular & Associates.
If we may serve you at this time, please reach out.