Q&A: COVID-19 Vaccination

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Letter From: Carsen Seeber, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Tri-State Family Practice & Internal Medicine

Tri-State Memorial Hospital began administering the COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. Since then, we have given over 10,000+ doses to the community!

Recently, we were able to sit down with Dr. Carson Seeber, Chief Medical Officer and family practice physician at Tri-State Family Practice & Internal Medicine, to speak with him about his experience receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and how the pandemic has impacted his family.

Q: HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE?
A: It has been a challenging year for our community because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So many have
had to make sacrifices such as loss of employment and livelihood, the privilege and ability to be with family
and loved ones, and relinquishing a comfortable sense of normalcy. Many have experienced compromised
health, and in some situations, the loss of life. I have lost several of my patients to COVID-19, and many of my patients have lost loved ones to the virus. Discussions about the pandemic have become a focal point in my patient encounters, and psychosocial health, a significant component of Family Medicine, has been adversely affected in so many ways.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have noticed an increase in four clinical scenarios: depression, anxiety, insomnia, and musculoskeletal pain. I feel many of these scenarios are directly or indirectly related to this pandemic’s physical and emotional toll on our lives. It has been challenging to address these issues in unprecedented times.
In the Seeber household, my wife and I have had to find ways to keep our family healthy physically and emotionally throughout the pandemic. With the closure of schools in Pullman, my three children have not enjoyed face-to-face learning until March of this year. Many parents can relate to virtual learning challenges. These experiences have helped us appreciate our local teachers and educators.
We have, however, spent more time together as a family during the pandemic. Outdoor activities such as camping, skiing, playing board games, and enjoying family meals together resulted from the pandemic restricting and simplifying our lives.
It has felt like a much-needed “reset button” to help redirect our appreciation for the things in life that truly
matter.

Q: WHY DID YOU RECEIVE THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
A: The COVID-19 vaccine was the first offering of hope in bringing an end to this pandemic. Historically, inoculation has been our most important tool in eradicating and eliminating infectious diseases. It is interesting to note that two of our most significant generational pandemics, The Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Swine Flu of 2009, are H1N1 flu variants that we still immunize against with today’s typical seasonal flu shot.
Polio, measles, and rubella are examples of infectious diseases, which have been eliminated thanks to ongoing childhood vaccination efforts. Smallpox has been eradicated because of past vaccination efforts.

Q: DID YOU HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS AFTER RECEIVING THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
A: I experienced pain at my injection site for about two days after my first Pfizer vaccination. It was similar to a tetanus shot. I did not notice any side effects from my second dose.

Q: IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME RECEIVING A “BRAND NEW” VACCINE?
A: The mRNA technology in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is actually not really “new.” It has been studied for at least 25 years. More serious implementation of this technology as a means of vaccination has been taking place for at least a decade. The “new” part is that this is the first time we have used this technology to mass-produce a vaccine for use in the general public. There is an abundance of ongoing research with mRNA technology in medical science. Scientists are excited about the prospects of using this technology in treating medical conditions such as auto-immune disease and cancer in the future.

Q: IS IT SAFE FOR PEOPLE TO RECEIVE THE COVID-19 VACCINE IF THEY HAVE UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS?
A: Yes. There are no underlying medical conditions other than severe allergies or anaphylaxis to the
vaccine components that would exempt someone from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is strongly recommended that you talk to your healthcare provider if you have any doubts or concerns about personal medical conditions or allergies before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. You should not receive the vaccine if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.