Debunking vaccine myths

The inside story from local doctor involved in clinical trials

Written by Amy Palser

A Wichita doctor who has conducted hundreds of clinical research trials says the Covid vaccine has gone through the same rigorous testing and trials as other vaccinations, and he has full confidence in both the process and the results.

“People have lost faith in the vaccine process,” said Dr. Terry D. Klein, a family physician at Family Medicine East in Wichita. “Part of the media rhetoric is increasing that trepidation, as evidenced by questions I’ve received in the clinic such as, ‘Will this change my DNA?’ or ‘Will I become infectious?’ or ‘Will I develop deformities?’ It demonstrates the apprehension of the public toward the safety of this vaccine.”

Klein, who also is a partner in AMR (The Alliance for Multispecialty Research), an industry-leading clinical research company with four locations in the Wichita area, said he has been debunking myths left and right about the Covid vaccine. “The fears regarding the safety of the vaccines have come from a couple of different sources,” he said. “One is the media’s comment that the vaccine had to be rushed, and the implication that if it’s rushed it doesn’t have as much oversight or established safety. But I know for a fact that the safety measures put into vaccination developments in any year have been done this year with this vaccine. Even though they’re moving through the studies rapidly and studies aren’t happening for as long of a time, the safety measures haven’t been compromised.”

Klein said that over a thousand Wichitans already have received the vaccine in the clinical trial. With four research sites in the city, Wichita is “probably a little bit unique in that we have a more robust research presence,” he said. “AMR has administered both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to hundreds of patients in this area. We have over 1,000 people who will be enrolled in the AstraZeneca study. We also have a Merck study. We will have seen and given the vaccine for all the developing companies.”

Klein said he wants to emphasize that the live virus is not given in the vaccination; patients cannot get the virus or give the virus by taking the vaccine. According to AMR, the novel coronavirus genetic makeup was recreated in a way that allows the body to recognize it as a foreign agent and then build up antibodies to attack that same DNA code.

Klein said he wouldn’t hesitate to take the vaccine himself or to administer it to his family members, he said, but he has already had a bout with Covid and has the antibodies. “There’s nobody in this community who doesn’t want antibodies to this virus,” Klein said. “This is the path to get antibodies without going through the illness to get it.”

Pfizer was granted emergency use authorization Dec. 11, which allowed general vaccinations to be given in a tiered system, starting with doctors, nurses and others on the front lines of working with Covid patients. “The last people who will get the vaccine are our healthy patients,” Klein said.

Those who don’t want to wait to get the vaccine can take part in ongoing clinical trials. “We’re still having healthy receivers enroll now so they can get the vaccine,” Klein said. “You get the vaccine and you get the secondary benefit of helping the community. The safety we’re seeing in our trials with the Covid virus is like what we’ve seen with any other developments of vaccines, including influenza, RSV, and many others.”

To apply to take part in AMR’s continuing Covid vaccination clinical studies, call 316.689.6609 or visit heartlandresearch.com.

 
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