ID Care Physicians Preach Hope and Excitement After Receiving First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

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ID Care, the largest network of infectious disease specialists on the East Coast, is taking part in the first round of COVID-19 vaccines, marking a huge moment for the state of New Jersey.

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The data is convincing, the immediate safety data is clear. Dr. Ronald Nahass, President and Co-Founder ID Care

After awaiting the highly anticipated emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), two different COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in the United States, bringing renewed hope to millions of people across the country. In the state of New Jersey, healthcare professionals have started to receive their first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, including the physicians and medical personnel at ID Care, the East Coast’s largest network of infectious diseases specialists and a partner to many healthcare organizations across New Jersey.

Over the course of the pandemic, ID Care has been responsible for treating over 25% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state. As frontline healthcare workers with direct contact with over 8,000 patients, the arrival of the vaccines marks a huge moment in finally gaining an upper hand on the disease. Upon receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, Dr. Nazar C. Raoof of ID Care said, “After seeing the first case of COVID-19 in our area, this is an emotional moment for me.”

A rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has been ongoing for the past two weeks with healthcare personnel receiving the first doses, followed by non-healthcare essential workers, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and finally adults over the age of 65. The general public will most likely have to wait several more months before receiving a vaccine, but once they do, they can expect a positive experience. “Most vaccines are 2 doses, 3 to 4 weeks apart, and protection will occur 1 to 2 weeks after the second dose,” said Dr. Nahass, President and Co-Founder of ID Care. “Humoral immune responses at this point have been recognized for up to 6 months or longer, which is good news. We would like it to be longer, but not enough time has passed to know exactly how long it will last. However, we do know that the antibody responses with similar viruses such as SARS CoV1 and MERS may be present for up to three years.”

ID Care continues to be on the front lines of the COVID-19 effort and encourages healthcare workers to understand the value of immunizations and communicate the benefits to patients. “In the United States, over 300,000 people have died,” said Dr. Nahass. “In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to reach about 70-80% immunity as a population. At the moment, it’s estimated about 10% to 15% of the population has been infected, and in order to reach the herd immunity threshold of 60%, that means the infection rate would need to be five times as high. So, if you do the math, in order to get to that 75% immunity naturally, we would see about 1.2 million deaths. So that’s the power of a vaccine. It will help get us to that 80% number without incurring all the deaths.”

The ID Care team notes that the vaccines are safe and effective with now over 5,000,000 individuals in the US having received the vaccines over the past four month with no signs of life-threatening toxicity and side effects. In addition, the ability to develop the vaccines on such a short timeline is an effort that should be applauded, not feared. The clinical research team at ID Care has over 30 years of experience in the research and development of numerous vaccines and can assure the public that the FDA has used the same strict standards in reviewing the COVID-19 vaccines that it has used on other vaccines for decades. Despite the rapid development, no steps have been skipped. In fact, two independent advisory committees have reviewed the results – The Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPCA) that advises the FDA, and The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that advises the CDC– and both committees have deemed the vaccines are safe and effective. In relaying this information to the general public, Dr. Nahass has words of encouragement for healthcare organizations: “The data is convincing, the immediate safety data is clear. The new technology and the method of development have really provided a lot of comfort for me, and it should do the same for patients.”

While the pandemic is far from over, the majority of healthcare workers at ID Care have already received a COVID-19 vaccine and described the moment as a monumental achievement. “I feel privileged, excited, and relieved. It is a very proud moment,” said ID Care physician, Dr. Rebecca A. Marsh. “I feel like it's a bright light of hope in the middle of a very dark winter.”

About ID Care
ID Care is New Jersey’s largest network of board-certified infectious disease specialists – seeing over 200,000 patients a year and practicing in nine convenient locations and over 130 care facilities throughout the state (including hospitals, rehab facilities and sub-acute facilities). As clinical leaders, innovators, and researchers, ID Care provides patients with personalized solutions for a comprehensive range of illnesses and infections. Specializing in every aspect of infectious diseases — including HIV, hepatitis, pneumonia, tick-borne diseases, wound infections, travel-related illnesses, and others — ID Care physicians offer the most effective prevention methods, accurate diagnoses, and state-of-the-art treatments available today. For more information on ID Care, visit http://www.IDCare.com or contact James Padley, Chief Operating Officer, ID Care. He can be reached at 908-281-0221 ext. 107, or via email at JPadley@idcare.com.

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James Padley
ID Care
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