Heard On WURD: Charles Ellison Interviews Dr. Nicolette Louissaint
Written by Ngakiya Camara on March 3, 2021
By Ngakiya Camara | WURD Radio
Dr. Nicolette Louissaint, executive director of Healthcare Ready, joined Charles Ellison on WURD’s Reality Check this past week to discuss vaccine initiatives and the overall future for the coronavirus. Focusing firstly on the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine– whose relatively low effective rate compared to the Pfizer vaccine has created much skepticism in the public sphere– Dr. Louissaint clarifies that the single-dose option is still, “86% effective at preventing severe illness,” or in other words, limiting the potential for hospitalization, intubation, and mechanical ventilation. This number beats the effectiveness of even the flu vaccine, which is a mere 42% effective, “on a great year,” according to Dr. Louissaint. Moreover, considering the current difficulty in rollout of multidose vaccines, the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine may be the next best option. In fact, because many institutions are still struggling to both distribute and track first doses, ensuring that the second dose is actually obtained and that those seeking their next vaccination are accounted for and thus scheduled properly has proved a challenge for health departments across the nation. Ultimately, having a single-dose with such a high effectiveness rate is nothing short of, “a big deal.”
However, no matter how much we’d love for a happy ending to the nightmare that this pandemic has become, getting vaccinated is not the end-all, be-all for this pandemic. In fact, as variants of the virus emerge, as well as the necessity for our immune resistance to be, “boosted,” every so often, receiving a vaccine may be a more frequent phenomenon than the one-time occurrence many have initially imagined. Moreover, vaccination does not automatically mean establishing an, “immuno force field,” that would prevent you from needing to wear a mask or social distance. Dr. Louissaint stresses that one can still contract and thus shed the virus even when vaccinated, and so we should still wear masks and continue following the safety protocol so as to limit other’s exposure to the virus. We could, in fact, be masked up as late as 2024, according to Dr. Louissaint– but this, again, depends on how closely people follow protocol, as well as how quickly we can get vaccines rolled out nationwide. And while, “subtle-mandates,” by employers to be vaccinated and follow protocol may prompt the general public to take this pandemic seriously, there will still be a resistant few who could prolong the reality of this pandemic. In the end, it’s up to healthcare officials– who remain unable to force vaccination amongst the public– to portray a compelling message that would encourage everyone to want to both be vaccinated and to follow safety guidelines. Such is the challenge that Dr. Louissaint and others at Healthcare Ready are working to create.
Check out the interview below: