Undervaluing the teaching of social sciences and humanities in the Sri Lankan university system – The Island


by Dr. BJC Perera

MBBS(Cey), DCH(Cey), DCH(Eng), MD(Paed), MRCP(UK), FRCP(Edin), FRCP(Lon), FRCPCH(UK), FSLCPaed, FCCP, Hony FRCPCH(UK), Sweetheart. FCGP(SL) Specialist Consultant Pediatrician and Honorary Senior Researcher, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

In an article by The Island journal, titled “COVID-19 VACCINS FOR CHILDREN: THE LATEST MEDICAL INFORMATION” published on January 10, 2022, I mentioned in passing some of the pieces of misinformation and misinformation regarding some of the side effects that are believed to occur after COVID vaccines . In this article, I intend to address more scientific information that debunks some of the misinformation and misinformation being spread to discourage people from taking COVID-19 vaccines by many sources, as well as confirmed anti-vaxxers.

Some apprehension has been expressed in some quarters regarding the mixing of different vaccines for the booster dose, as several different vaccines have already been used in Sri Lanka for the first and second doses. When the same vaccine used for the first and second dose is given as a booster, it is called a homologous booster while a different vaccine used for the booster dose is called a heterologous booster.

In a research article published in the famous New England Journal of Medicine most recently, both homologous and heterologous booster vaccines had an acceptable safety profile and were immunogenic in adults who had completed a two-dose primary COVID-19 vaccination schedule at least 12 weeks earlier. The increase in pre-boost levels of binding and neutralizing antibody titers after boosts was similar or even greater after heterologous boost than after homologous boost. In fact, the reactogenicity was similar to that described in previous research evaluations of mRNA-1273 [Moderna]Ad26.COV2.S [Johnson & Johnson–Janssen]and BNT162b2 [Pfizer-BioNTech] vaccines and did not differ between heterologous and homologous boosters. These results fully justify the general use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose in Sri Lanka.

There is a generally held argument that a booster dose is unnecessary and may even cause harm. It’s a complete mistake. We know for sure that immunity tends to wane, starting about four months after the second dose of the initial primary regimen. The booster dose is given to boost, increase, and improve immune status against COVID-19. In a very recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), at a single center in Israel, healthcare workers who had been previously vaccinated with a two-dose series of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine, given a booster dose, compared to no dose, was associated with a significantly lower rate of COVID-19 infection. The study results tend to suggest that receiving three doses of mRNA vaccines, compared to being unvaccinated and even receiving only two doses, was associated with protection against Omicron and Delta variants. . However, the results showed less protection for Omicron than for Delta. An important finding of this study is the fact that after the booster dose there was protection against recipients who also contracted the disease. Certainly, this is excellent news.

At present, there appears to be considerable reluctance and reluctance on the part of younger members of our population, particularly young adult males, to take the booster dose of the vaccine. Apparently, this is mainly due to various messages released to the public through nebulous communication channels, including social media, regarding the booster shot causing reproductive health issues. Reproductive health is something very precious to every human being and any suggestion of interference with reproductive abilities is likely to have a lasting effect on the inner self of most people. One of these rumors is that the booster dose could produce infertility or sub-fertility in recipients and the other is that the booster interferes with the sexual prowess of individuals, especially men. We can now say, based on solid evidence, that there is no scientific basis for either claim.

Vaccination against COVID-19 did not affect fertility outcomes in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to a study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York, USA, compared the rates of fertilization, pregnancy and early miscarriage in patients of IVF procedures (“test tube baby”) in those who had been vaccinated against those who were not vaccinated. FIV patients who received two doses of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine had the same outcomes as unvaccinated patients. This is a large study to examine fertility and IVF cycle outcomes in vaccinated patients. The study found no significant differences in response to ovarian stimulation, egg quality, embryo development or pregnancy outcome between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients. The researchers concluded that the findings that vaccination had no impact on these outcomes should reassure those who are trying to conceive or are in early pregnancy. IVF procedures are performed in an artificial scenario and if vaccination has no effect in such situations, there is no real reason to believe that it will be otherwise when fertilization and pregnancy result from the natural process. breeding.

COVID vaccines and the curse of…

Many young people, especially men, believe that it is sex and sexual prowess that makes the world go round. If there is something like a COVID vaccine that is even remotely linked to a disruption in the reproductive aspects of manhood, they will even travel many miles to get as far away from a COVID vaccination center as possible. As medical professionals, we can understand very well the psyche of these young people. However, we must look with a yellow eye to the anti-vaxxers who have capitalized on these totally unfounded fears of young people.

Does the COVID vaccine of any type interfere with sexual prowess, fertility, and the ability to reproduce? Let’s examine the evidence. None of the COVID-19 vaccine makers listed issues related to sexual health, erectile dysfunction, impotence or infertility in their reports. Data from clinical trials of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines show that the injections may cause pain or swelling where you received the vaccine. Other side effects may also include nausea, vomiting, headache, chills, fever, etc. But there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines can damage the reproductive system in both men and women.

Additionally, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has not published any information linking COVID-19 vaccinations to sexual problems. The VAERS system is a national tool that monitors adverse reactions to all vaccines in the United States of America. The raw data is publicly available and a summary is reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Currently, the CDC is monitoring several possible complications of COVID-19 vaccines and will continue to review all aspects of these issues.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect sperm count or male fertility? At present, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines can impact sperm count. Two small studies have looked at sperm count after COVID-19 vaccination. A study from the University of Miami looked at sperm count before and after vaccination against COVID-19. The study looked at both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and found no difference in sperm production. Another study, which has yet to be published, showed the same results. The CDC also states that the COVID-19 vaccination is safe and does not affect fertility in men, or even women for that matter.

Yet despite all of this, there is growing evidence that COVID-19 infection and certain types of disruptions in sexual prowess are linked. This is a crucial aspect of this controversy. COVID-19 DISEASE is now well known to cause sexual dysfunction in men as a manifestation of “long COVID syndrome”. As for the possible effects of the disease itself on women, we do not have enough evidence at present. The bottom line for men is that if you get the disease itself, you are more at risk of being subjected to all these sexual disturbances. For the millions of young Sri Lankan men who are still unvaccinated, you may again want to consider the consequences if and when this very aggressive virus finds you.

One of the reasons for vaccine hesitancy is the perception among many that COVID-19 injections could affect male fertility. Global research does not support this claim. There is no evidence that the vaccine harms the male reproductive system. But ignoring the vaccine and contracting COVID-19 could very well do just that.

The clarion call of the hour for the people of our country is to take the vaccine, regular doses as well as the booster. In addition, proven maneuvers such as avoiding crowds, maintaining the required distance from people, wearing a face mask correctly and washing hands regularly, should be continued as a contribution to prevention efforts. community prevention. In the light of all these scientific connotations, there is no doubt as to the absolute necessity of taking the booster doses of the vaccines available. If we are to overcome this scourge of a virus, it is essential that at least 70% or preferably 80-90% of the population is properly vaccinated. We have good evidence that after two doses of the primary vaccination regimen, immunity against all forms of the virus causing COVID-19 tends to decline, starting approximately four months after the second dose. Booster doses have been very clearly shown to elevate and improve the immune status of recipients quite quickly.

The take-home message from all of this validated information is the advice to disregard all the negative publicity being talked about by anti-vaxxers, especially on social media, and only consider proven scientific evidence.


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