Monday, June 21, 2021

Dr. Wai Fan Lam, MD, Ph.D., Gynecologist SMMC

There is a lot of discussion in the community when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccination. In this article, I will address the most common questions and misconceptions so people can make their own balanced decision with regards to getting vaccinated.

 Covid-19, the current state of affairs

The Covid-19 pandemic is raging since 2020. Worldwide 151 million people have attracted the virus, 3.5 million people have died. The real death rate is probably much higher and is estimated 3 times higher at 10 million casualties.

The treatment of hospitalized covid patients is getting more effective and standardized. The treatment consists of inflammation reduction using corticosteroid, prevention or treatment of pulmonary embolism and antibiotics.

Another important progress is the Covid vaccines. In fact, vaccination is the only way to return to a normal life without dramatic death tolls.

Should you get vaccinated if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

Worldwide already 700 million people have received at least 1 COVID-19 vaccine dose. Almost 350 million people have received the full vaccination of 2 doses. The large numbers of vaccinated people provide valuable information on the safety and efficacy of vaccination.

It is interesting to note that already 100.000 women have received the vaccine during pregnancy or during breastfeeding. In a study with 35.000 women, the (minor) side effects for the mother are not different than for non-pregnant women. Furthermore, there are no side effects observed for the baby. The outcome for the baby is the same in vaccinated and non-vaccinated women. 

On the other hand, if a woman contracts COVID during pregnancy, her chance of being seriously ill or dying is 4 times higher than a non-pregnant woman. Therefore, new CDC advice has been given recently to vaccinate women during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. CPS has already implemented the new recommendation. Pregnant women are always treated with extra care when it comes to introducing new medication and treatment. The fact that the COVID vaccine is found completely safe even in this vulnerable group, will hopefully convince more people to take the vaccine.

Vaccination hesitancy

There is widespread skepticism toward COVID vaccination. As stated, already 700 million people have received 1 vaccine dose and 350 million people have received the full vaccination of 2 doses. This is an impressive amount of people who have been vaccinated. Yet severe side effects or death related to the vaccine are very scarce. In the USA, 4.434 deaths are reported that may be related to 259 million vaccinations (which is 0.0017%). But after further investigation, none of the deaths turn out to be a consequence of the vaccination after all. As we know that the chance to die from Ovid is 2% and the chance to die from vaccination is practically zero, the fear for the vaccine is thus totally ungrounded.

A frequently heard argument is that vaccination can’t prevent one from contractingCOVID. This is true, but the argument is totally out of perspective. The chance of a vaccinated person being infected with COVID is 0.01%. A non-vaccinated person has a 30% chance of getting COVID if someone in the household is positive. In other words, vaccination makes COVID infection 3.000 times less likely!

In case a vaccinated person gets COVID, the vaccination protects the person of getting severely ill or being hospitalized. The chance to die from COVID after vaccination is also much lower. For comparison, in the people older than 65 years: if 100 not vaccinated people are hospitalized for COVID, only 6 vaccinated persons will be hospitalized. As such, the protective benefit of vaccination is very clear.

Unfounded fear

It is worrisome that so many people are repeating the same, unfounded, fear for vaccination. Since birth, we have been vaccinated for diseases like polio, measles, whooping cough, tetanus among other diseases. These vaccinations however are widely accepted. But with the COVID vaccination all of a sudden, a large number of the population is hesitant to get it. All negative news about vaccination gets huge attention, whereas the ever-continuousCOVIDcasualties are accepted as normal.

 Social media and disinformation

Social media seems to play an important role in spreading fear and vaccine hesitancy. There is a lot of fake news and unchecked claims posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Two-thirds of all misguided information about vaccination can be traced back to 12 people. They have been named the ‘Disinformation Dozen’. They deliberately spread fake facts about vaccination largely because of financial reasons. Sadly, most of them are still very much active on social media.

As the third COVID wave seems to be coming over St. Maarten at present, hopefully, more people will choose to get vaccinated. People should understand that besides their own safety, vaccination will also prevent others, like their loved ones, to get infected. Mass vaccination is the only way to end the COVID wave.

Herd immunity

Herd immunity, which is the protective effect for spreading when most of the people in a community are vaccinated, will only take effect when at least 70% of the people is vaccinated. At this moment, approximately 40% of St. Maarten has received at least one shot. The sooner the people get their full vaccination, the sooner we can get back to a normal life. That is what we all want. But therefore, everybody has to participate and contribute to the vaccination program. In that perspective, it is in fact anti-social not to get vaccinated. Hopefully, we can break through the vaccination hesitancy. Saba has done it. Aruba has recently done it. Hopefully, St. Maarten will follow soon.

SXM Radio Online


June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — Oprah Winfrey and Hearst Magazines are teaming up for interviews that pair young Black journalists with elders who include civil rights activists, celebrities and others sharing some lessons learned in life. The project, “Lift Every Voice,” will be featured on Winfrey’s website and in magazines like ELLE, Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Runner’s World and Winfrey’s own O Quarterly. Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, Andre De Shields and the activist Claudette Colvin are among the people featured. While some material from earlier Hearst television stories is used, the interviewers are drawn primarily from the ranks of historic Black colleges and universities, with most of the portraits taken by Black photographers just starting in the field. In one example, 94-year-old community activist Opal Lee, from Fort Worth, Texas, talks to Mariah Campbell, a journalism student at Texas Southern University, about efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Winfrey said she was inspired by her own memories of knowing poet Maya Angelou when Winfrey was young, and how Angelou stressed the importance of sharing stories from the time she grew up.

June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Philharmonic will resume subscription performances in September following a historic 18-month gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic, presenting a shortened schedule of 78 concerts in a season shifted from Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall while the orchestra’s home is remodeled. The Philharmonic said Tuesday its season will open Sept. 17 with music director Jaap van Zweden conducting the orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov in Anna Clyne’s “Within Her Arms,” Copland’s “Quiet City,” George Walker’s “Antifonys for Chamber Orchestra” and Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 4. That concert, the orchestra’s first regular event since March 10, 2020, will be the first of 50 at Lincoln Center’s 1,086-seat Alice Tully Hall, a venue more typically used for chamber music and recitals. There will be 28 concerts in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 1,233-seat Rose Theater, located at Columbus Circle, less than half a mile from Geffen Hall, plus four concerts at Carnegie Hall, the orchestra’s home from 1891 to 1962.

June 15, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Rita Moreno emigrated with her mother from Puerto Rico at age five. By six, she was dancing at Greenwich Village nightclubs. By 16, she was working full time. By 20, she was in “Singin’ in the Rain.” In the documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” Norman Lear says: “I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever met in the business who lived the American dream more than Rita Moreno.” In the decades that followed, Moreno won a Tony, a Grammy, an Emmy and an Oscar, for “West Side Story.” (Her entire acceptance speech: “I can’t believe it.” ) With seemingly infinite spiritedness, she has epitomized the best of show business while also being a victim to its cruelties. That has made Moreno, who co-stars in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming “West Side Story remake, a heroic figure to Latinos, and to others. “I have never given up,” she said in a recent interview by Zoom from her home in Berkeley, California.

June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — The tragedies of Brian Wilson’s life is a rock ‘n’ roll story well told. The postscript — that he’s a survivor nearing age 80 who appears to be supported personally and professionally in a way he never really had before — is less familiar. Despite some uncomfortable moments in “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road,” that important update is the point of the documentary that premieres Tuesday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The film’s heart is a series of drives around Southern California, where Wilson and Rolling Stone magazine editor Jason Fine talk, listen to music and occasionally stop at restaurants. There’s a comfort level between the two; Fine is a journalist who has become a friend. Wilson, the creative force behind the Beach Boys, has dealt with an abusive, hard-driving father, the mental illness Schizoaffective disorder where he’d hear voices berating and belittling him, and band members often resistant to where he was going musically. Add in years of drug abuse, a quack psychologist who effectively held him, prisoner, for a decade and the younger brothers who died early, and it’s a lot to endure.

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June 16, 2021 WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday installed an energetic critic of Big Tech as a top federal regulator at a time when the industry is under intense pressure from Congress, regulators and state attorneys general. The selection of legal scholar Lina Khan to head the Federal Trade Commission is seen as signaling a tough stance toward tech giants Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. Khan was sworn in as FTC chair just hours after the Senate confirmed her as one of five members of the commission on a 69-28 vote. Khan has been a professor at Columbia University Law School and burst onto the antitrust scene with her massive scholarly work in 2017 as a Yale law student, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” She helped lay the foundation for a new way of looking at antitrust law beyond the impact of big-company market dominance on consumer prices. As counsel to a House Judiciary antitrust panel in 2019 and 2020, she played a key role in a sweeping bipartisan investigation of the market power of the tech giants.

June 15, 2021  BRUSSELS (AP) — The deal the United States and the European Union reached Tuesday to end their long-running rift over subsidies to Boeing and Airbus will suspend billions in punitive tariffs. It will ease trans-Atlantic tensions. And it will let the two sides focus on a common economic threat: China. But the breakthrough still leaves some trade friction between the U.S. and the EU unresolved. Most prominently, President Biden kept in place import taxes that President Donald Trump imposed on European steel and aluminum, a move that infuriated some of America’s closet allies three years ago. For now, Tuesday’s truce in the Boeing-Airbus dispute goes a long way toward repairing a huge commercial relationship — $933 billion in two-way trade last year despite the pandemic — that came under enormous strain during the Trump years. Among other things, the former president angrily charged the Europeans with using unfair trade practices to sell more products to the United States than they bought and of shirking their responsibility to pay for their own national defense.

June 15, 2021 -A day after her interview for a part-time job at Target last year, Dana Anthony got an email informing her she didn’t make the cut. Anthony didn’t know why — a situation common to most job seekers at one point or another. But she also had no sense at all of how the interview had gone, because her interviewer was a computer. More job-seekers, including some professionals, may soon have to accept impersonal online interviews where they never talk to another human being, or know if behind-the-scenes artificial-intelligence systems are influencing hiring decisions. Demand for online hiring services, which interview job applicants remotely via laptop or phone, mushroomed during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains high amid a perceived worker shortage as the economy opens back up. These systems claim to save employers money, sidestep hidden biases that can influence human recruiters and expand the range of potential candidates. Many now also use AI to assess candidate skills by analyzing what they say.

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