Gar N. Chan, DDS, INC

Ask an Expert: Why Are There Varying Reports of How Well Vaccines Work?

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on March 2nd, 2021 at 9:20 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following information was prepared by Jessica Yi. This blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

Ask An Expert

The FDA granted an emergency use authorization to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over the weekend after experts concluded that the vaccine is highly effective. But reports of just how well the vaccine works have varied from 66 percent to 72 percent to 85 percent, causing some confusion.
“They had several different endpoints and they had studies going on in different countries. So think of it as a kind of table,” explained Dr. George Rutherford, Director of the Prevention and Public Health Group at UC San Francisco.

Johnson & Johnson tracked how well its vaccine worked at preventing asymptomatic infection, mild to moderate disease, critical and severe disease and death, as well as the results in the U.S. versus worldwide.

“So that’s why you’re seeing so many different percentages,” he said.

The vaccine was found to be 66 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 across the world, and 72 percent effective in the U.S. When looking at severe cases only, it was 85 percent effective.

Importantly, no one in the clinical trial who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has died from the virus.

“I tend to think of this as being between 80 percent to 85 percent effective, and that kind of gives us the benefit of the doubt for looking just at the U.S. data,” said Dr. Rutherford. “Because they recruited a lot of patients in South Africa where these other variants are.

Dr. Rutherford added that people should not worry too much about the varying levels of efficacy reported between the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“You don’t know it until you put them out there together and really race head to head, and so these vaccines were NOT compared head to head,” he explained.

For example, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial was somewhat later in the pandemic after variants started to become more prominent.

He said as the vaccine is distributed widely, more data will be compiled to look at how the vaccines perform under the same conditions.

Many public health experts have said that all three vaccines available in the U.S. will significantly reduce your risk of becoming hospitalized or dying because of COVID-19, and people should take whichever vaccine becomes available to them.

For more information, please contact Gar N. Chan, D.D.S., Inc. at Office of Gar N. Chan, D.D.S., Inc. Phone Number 408-847-1234 today!

For Your Protection – The Air Doctor

For the past several weeks  visitors to our office may have noticed a slight humming noise emanating from a white box sitting on our reception room floor.  This unit is known as the Air Doctor and it helps to remove and filter the following:

  • Smoke  (0.1-1 microns)
  • Bacteria (.02-0.2 microns)
  • Viruses (0.1-1 microns)
  • Pollen (10-20 microns)
  • Mold (10 microns)
  • Dust Mite (50 microns)

The Air Doctor Filtration unit is now being used in our dental office to further protect our patients and staff from air borne contaminants.

AirDoctor’s UltraHEPA™ Filter

is 100 times more effective than ordinary HEPA filters, capturing 100% of some of the most dangerous ultra fine particles as small as .003 microns in size.  

Wishing Our Wonderful Staff A Happy Valentine’s Day !

Our staff is deserving of being called “Sweet” because of all the wonderful ways they treat our family, friends and each other.  Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan, Renee, Dayna and Sandra!

And not to forget our very special Cyndi for all that she does to support and encourage our patients towards healthier habits and patterns. Happy Valentines, Cyndi!

Ask An Expert: Should You Get A COVID Vaccine If You Are Immunocompromised?

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on January 11th, 2021 at 9:20 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following information was prepared by Jessica Yi. This blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

Ask An Expert

While the FDA has approved both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for widespread use, neither were testing in individuals who are immunocompromised, a normal practice in clinical trials for new drugs.

“Efficacy is the big question,” in deciding whether or not immunocompromised patients should still get the vaccine, explained Dr. David Cohn, chief medical officer at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Cohn told KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert” the issue is not whether or not the vaccine is safe for these patients, but if their immune system will mount a response to the vaccine in the intended way.

“It’s that level of immune response that’s going to protect somebody from developing this severe infection if they were exposed to the virus,” he said.

“But here’s the important point: we know that patients that have COVID-19 and cancer or who’ve been treated do develop an immune response. That means that these patients will still develop some level of immunity or protection from the virus.

“What Dr. Fauci has stated – and many have followed – is that some level of protection is better than none.

Patients who are taking medications that impact their immune system in some way should consult their doctors about when to schedule their vaccines.

“We want to time a vaccination, if it’s possible, at a place where somebody has the highest possibility of an immune response,” Dr. Cohn explained.

There are always some risks associated with getting a vaccine, particularly for those with a history of severe allergic reactions, and patients who are on other medications should consult their doctor before getting vaccinated.

However, he said the advice in most cases will be to get the shot.

“There’s very few conditions in which we would not recommend that somebody be vaccinated against COVID-19, and I would just make the comment that this is certainly a time of hope where we can begin seeing some light at the end of what’s become a very, very long tunnel.”

CPR Certification Renewal

Every two years dental professionals are required to be certified in CPR as part of their licensure renewal. This year Dr. Chan requested the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support (BLS) course be taught on site in our office to all staff members to build consistency, coordination and teamwork. After passing our on-line coursework, Eric Colfer, HeartShare Instructor, observed us as we practiced CPR on AMA approved manikins in both adult and infant sizes with electronic feedback to ensure that we achieved the correct depth and rate of chest compressions for effective CPR.

Saving Lives

What Is CPR?
CPR is short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Everyday CPR saves lives and it can be learned by anybody.
In cases of drowning, choking, heart attack and other instances where a person’s blood supply to the brain is interrupted because of the inability to breathe or when the heart stops pumping every second counts and CPR can afford a person those seconds to keep permanent brain damage from setting in.

Why Would You Need To USE CPR In A Dental Setting??
Those who work in dental offices will rarely (if ever) have to deal with life-threatening emergencies. But sometimes, at-risk patients such as the elderly and those medically compromised will undergo procedures that will aggravate pre-existing conditions, or will have adverse reactions to anesthesia. Among the possible emergencies that a dental staff may encounter, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the among the most likely to result in the death of a patient.

Treating sudden cardiac arrest will require a coordinated effort on the part of staff in order to effectively activate the “Chain of Survival” required to afford the victim the best chance of recovery. For the first responder, this will include rapid activation of EMS personnel, rapid defibrillation, and early application of effective CPR. These steps must be initiated as quickly as possible, and thus requires premium, frequent training for the entire office staff. This means keeping everyone up-to-date on their CPR certifications, and training the staff as a cohesive unit, rather than everyone learning separately.

What Is An AED?
AED stands for Automatic External Defibrillator, an electronic device used for monitoring abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias. It helps in checking heart activity and it can also be used as “defibrillator”.to help restore a normal heart rhythm.

Our office has an AED unit. Our wonderful staff keeps it charged in the event it is needed. Fortunately, throughout the years, we have never had to employ it.

An AED or automated external defibrillator is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and is able to stop the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.

We did it!

Ask An Expert: Is it safe for vaccinated people to socialize with each other?

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on January 21st, 2021 at 9:20 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following information was prepared by Jessica Yi. This blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

Ask An Expert

It has been over a month since COVID-19 vaccines became available, and more than 15 million Americans have now received at least their first dose.

With vaccination rates slowly but steadily rising, is it safe for people who have been vaccinated to gather with one another?

“This is a very complicated topic just because there is so much uncertainty around it,” said Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security on KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert” program.

While clinical trials have shown that both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are about 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic cases, the trials did not regularly test all of their participants, so it is not proven that the vaccine protects you from getting infected at all.

“We think that probably transmission will be reduced in vaccinated individuals, but we don’t know for sure,” said Dr. Rasmussen. That also means that there is no data to show that the vaccine can stop people from infecting others.

“My suspicion is that that potential for transmission will be greatly reduced, and that’s based on some limited data we have from clinical trials as well as data that has been obtained from pre-clinical trials in non-human primates, or monkeys.”

This is why people who receive vaccines are still supposed to follow the same safety precautions as the general public, including wearing masks in public and avoiding gatherings.

Additionally, the vaccine does not reach its full efficacy until sometime after the second dose and is not 100 percent effective.

But Dr. Rasmussen said because the vaccine greatly reduces risk, it may be relatively safe for vaccinated people to gather in small groups if everyone has received both doses and there is no contact with unvaccinated people.

“If everybody’s vaccinated, we do know that these vaccines are highly efficacious at reducing disease,” she said. “You can probably start dipping your toes into the pool of resuming normal social interactions again, as long as everybody’s vaccinated and you’re in a sequestered environment…if you haven’t seen your parents in months and you’re all vaccinated and it’s been two weeks since your second shot, it’s probably okay to get together.”

“What I think would be bad advice at this time would be to suggest that vaccinated people can get together with a group of their vaccinated friends and go bar hopping or go out into the public space not wearing a mask.”

Dr. Rasmussen added people who have been vaccinated should still follow normal safety precautions anytime they could come into contact with someone who is not vaccinated.

Ask An Expert: What happens if you miss your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on December 22nd, 2020 at 9:20 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following information was prepared by Jessica Yi. This blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

Ask An Expert

At least 70,000 Californians have already received their first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and Moderna has also begun shipping out its vaccine this week.

Both vaccines will require patients to return for a second shot within a few weeks of getting the first dose. Pfizer advises patients to get the second dose in 21 days, and Moderna after 28 days. Getting the second shot increases the vaccine’s effectiveness and may also prolong immunity.

In the case of the Pfizer vaccine, efficacy increased from around 50% to 95% after study participants got the second dose.

“Ideally you want to get that second shot in that timeframe because that’s what’s been studied,” explained Dr. Roshni Mathew, Stanford Pediatrician and Infectious Disease Physician on KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert” early Tuesday.

However, the logistical challenges of getting patients to return in exactly 21 or 28 days for another dose of the vaccine will be significant, especially with the current levels of demand.

But Dr. Mathew said even if you do not get the second shot within the exact window, “that’s fine, you should just move forward…the CDC says that if you do get delayed for some reason and you have to get the second shot way further down than that specific time limit, you should go ahead and get that second shot, no need to repeat.”

The current guidance is based on the methodology that was studied and has therefore been proven, but vaccine experts have said there is no reason to think the second dose won’t be effective if it is not received in a narrow window of time.

Some of the other vaccine candidates that are still undergoing trials may not require two doses, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.