Q&A: Covid-19 vaccines
Wareham Board of Health Chair Dr. Amy Wiegandt facilitated an impromptu covid-19 vaccine question and answer session on Aug. 26.
Originally, she was on the School Committee’s agenda to weigh in on whether or not the board should implement a mask mandate for Wareham schools. But, after the state issued its own mask requirement (see Page 13), the discussion shifted toward covid-19 vaccines.
Wiegandt — who practices in Wareham at Wiegandt and Associates, located at 2621 Cranberry Hwy. — fielded several questions about the covid-19 vaccines from School Committee members.
Wareham Week compiled those questions and Wiegandt’s answers for readers. Some questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Some people have raised concerns that the process of approving the covid-19 vaccines was “rushed.” What is your opinion about whether the vaccine approval process was rushed?
A: I think it was appropriately rushed because we have a pandemic going on. But none of the steps were missed. If you look at all the scientific data — all the steps that the FDA requires for every vaccine, all of them were done to go to the next step.
Part of the reason they were able to get through the processes faster is because there was financial aid from the governments — lots of financial aid from the governments. Whereas with other vaccines, we haven’t had that.
Q: What percentage of the Wareham residents who have recently contracted covid-19 were unvaccinated?
A: Over the last month or so, about two-thirds of reported cases of covid-19 have been diagnosed in unvaccinated individuals.
Q: Does the town have information on the Delta variant? Are the vaccines working against the Delta variant?
A: Right now, in the United States, over 90 percent of covid-19 cases are the Delta variant. The tests that we have are able to pick up the covid virus that we have out there in the community.
The virus may, at some point, change a bit so they’ll have to change the test. It may also change enough so that the vaccine may have to be changed a little bit, like the flu vaccine.
Currently, the vaccines are still working against the Delta variant.
Q: Does the Board of Health have an opinion on mandatory covid-19 vaccinations going forward?
A: Yes, I think it’s a great idea. I think people should be vaccinated. I think the same way we wear seatbelts to keep ourselves safe — and there’s a mandate — I think we know it’s a safe vaccine. It does not alter your DNA.
It’s the same as polio back in the 50s. Vaccines are old. We’ve had them for a long time. Our science is much better now than it was back in the 50s. I would agree with a mandate.
For additional information about the available covid-19 vaccines, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/ or talk to a trusted healthcare provider.