HealthWatch: Local experts sort out the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19

Health Watch

GREEN BAY, Wis., (WFRV) – With a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, talk of a highly contagious Delta variant and a new school year just around the corner, a lot of people are on edge right now.

 Two local medical experts spoke with Local 5’s Connie Fellman to sort out the very latest information and pinpoint what you need to know about COVID-19 right now.

“So far, more than 12 months into it, the vaccines continue to be highly effective in holding the immunity,” said Dr. Raul Mendoza.

As the Medical Director of Pulmonology at Aurora Baycare Medical Center, Mendoza has been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one. Mendoza says he sees the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine everyday.

“I have seen zero,” Mendoza said, showing the hand signal for emphasis, “zero patients that have been vaccinated end up in the hospital with COVID – 19.”

When it comes to the Delta variant, Mendoza says it is six times more contagious than the initial strain, which makes getting vaccinated more important now than ever. Even if you’re among the rare seven to ten  percent who get the vaccine, but still end up with the coronavirus, Mendoza says the vaccine is what will save your life.

“The current vaccines we have right now,” he said, “pretty much guarantee you will not die. You will not end up in the hospital.”

Aurora Baycare Pediatrician, Dr. Donald Beno agrees. 

“The vaccine is very safe,” Beno said.  “It’s extremely effective.” 

In fact, Beno says getting vaccinated is the best way parents can protect their children…. even those too young to get the vaccine themselves.

“The parents and older siblings being vaccinated definitely helps protect the younger child,” Beno explained.

As the upcoming school year approaches, Dr Beno shared the very latest recommendation from the top docs when it comes to children.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released their statement saying all children, regardless of vaccination status, should be masking in school when indoors full time.”

Beno points to what we’ve learned over the past year about the importance of simple hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing.

“Those are always going to be things that worked for COVID 19 and frankly, all the other viruses that we just didn’t see all winter long because people were doing those things,” Beno pointed out.

Dr. Beno says Pfizer may have an approved vaccine for children five years and older as soon as this fall.  

As far as a booster shot, Medoza says we’re not there yet, a booster vaccine doesn’t exist at this time.  The reason, he says, we are hearing more about it now is because companies are working to develop a third shot, in case it may be needed. However, to illustrate the vaccine’s efficacy, Mendoza pointed out that in the medical field, a vaccine is considered “highly effective” if it protects patients 50 – 55% of the time, like the flu shot.  The current COVID 19 vaccines are considered 93 – 96% effective, which he says is unheard of.  Mendoza says what the public needs to be focusing on right now, is that getting more people vaccinated is what will finally end this pandemic.
If you’d like more information, call Aurora Baycare at 1-866-938-0035 or email: healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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