Local doctor recommends getting vaccine


For The Madera Tribune

Dr. Bakht Roshan.

As of Thursday, residents eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine opened to residents 50 years old and older and eligibility opens up to anyone 16 years or over on April 15.


With three vaccines available to residents, Madera Community Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Bakht Roshan said that any one of the vaccines will do the job and people should be getting it.


‘It boils down to what is your choice,” he said. “Do you want one dose or two doses? You should take whatever is available. They are all the same. They help produce immunity in the human body and help us fight the virus without getting critically ill or symptomatic.”


Roshan was a guest on The Madera Tribune’s podcast and talked about the three vaccines and urged residents to get them if they are eligible. He also recommends people to keep wearing their masks and stay diligent about their surroundings.


“So much is going around us,” he said. “We have the vaccines and it’s great and exciting news. There are variants around. Some might be able to escape the vaccines. You also know a large part of the population have not been vaccinated. You have to be very careful. We should not give up the habit of social distancing or wearing masks. When more people are vaccinating and are safe, then we can start easing restrictions. This time, we should be very careful. We are only three months into vaccinations and we still have to see how it does against the variants.”


The hospital honored the many people who have passed away from COVID-19 after a year of battling the disease.


“This last year has been difficult and busy for us,” Roshan said. “We had our first patient in March, 2020. We just completed a year. We were busy and it has been quite an interesting year.”


Roshan points out that the vaccines are out there and are a way of fighting the disease and, hopefully, getting rid of COVID-19.


“The vaccines are very effective and a nice way of turning the tide,” he said. “These vaccines are RNA vaccines, others are inactivated viruses and others carry the vaccine in the human body, which is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Johnson and Johnson uses a vector and a virus that causes a mild disease. It has been programed in a way it won’t cause the disease. It will carry the virus in the vaccine and create an immunity.”


The RNA vaccines are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and require two doses.


“The mechanism is, you have taken the specific part of the virus and it has been programed in a way that when it is injected in the human body, it adds the cells to produce more cells with similar RNA, which will create antibodies for the COVID.” he said. “They are different vaccines. They both produce immunity. It protects them against COVID-19. They are excellent vaccines.”


Roshan said that the Pfizer vaccine had a 94-95 percent efficacy rate with two doses. The Moderna vaccine is about 95 percent efficacy. People who received either of the vaccines will be fully vaccinated after about two weeks.


“One thing people should remember, is that the vaccines are effective. We should not worry about this,” Roshan said. “All of these vaccines have proven they will prevent people from getting critically ill, which is the purpose of the vaccination. Whichever vaccine is available, go for it.”


Although the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one dose, the efficacy is a little below the other two.


“This is fully capable of preventing people from becoming critically ill, If it prevents that, it’s equally good,” he said.The COVID-19 data is dropping down to where Madera County is now officially in the Red Tier. Roshan credits this to more and more residents receiving the vaccine and people are more aware of COVID.


“It’s a combination of people getting the vaccine and also knowing how to fight the disease,” he said. “We started vaccinating in the third week of December. A lot of people are still not vaccinated. Some people have become more cautious or careful. That has helped bring the numbers down. Part of the decrease is the surge and the other part is the vaccine. People have become cautious.”


Roshan sees the summer as a time where we may get to a somewhat more normal, but he also reminds that people still have to be diligent.


“Predicting when this will end is very difficult,” he said. “The virus has proven us wrong many times. The vaccines have shown us some light at the end of the tunnel. This is hopeful news. The CDC is reporting 90 percent efficacy in the world. It’s almost as effective in the real world as in the trial. This is all good news. We have reason to be hopeful. By summer, we should be more confident and have more of our life back. We have some time to go for that.”

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