Art Wallace, M.D., Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Anesthesia School of Medicine, UCSF Chief of the Anesthesia Service Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco

COVID-19: Vaccine Protection and Deaths among US Veterans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Art Wallace, M.D., Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Anesthesia School of Medicine, UCSF Chief of the Anesthesia Service Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco

Dr. Wallace

Art Wallace, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Anesthesia
School of Medicine, UCSF
Chief of the Anesthesia Service
Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: I have spent the last 30 years working on perioperative risk reduction, developing medications and approaches to risk reduction. Part of this work utilized epidemiologic analysis of medication patterns of use to test if they are associated with reductions in morbidity and mortality. This work analyzed data in the VA Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW) which provides access to the VA, best in the world electronic health care record system, VISTA.  With the COVID-19 pandemic I realized that the analytic techniques we had utilized for perioperative cardiac risk reduction could be used to search for medications to reduce the risks for acute COVID-19 infection.

We identified four classes of medications that reduced the risk of death in acute COVID-19 infection. We then turned our attention to medications to reduce the incidence, severity, and duration of long-term sequelae of COVID-19 infection also known as Long COVID or COVID Long Hauler Syndrome. One of the questions that people were asking was what was the effect of vaccination on Long COVID? We began that work by looking at the effect of vaccination on COVID infections and found the dramatic decrease in efficacy of vaccines with the spread of the Delta Variant. We published this work to notify the public and public health community of the decreased efficacy of the vaccines in the face of the Delta variant and reiterate the need for secondary public health prevention measures such as masks, social distancing, vaccination, and boosters.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response:The main findings are very simple. Vaccines prevent death when compared to being unvaccinated, if you are unvaccinated, please get vaccinated. If you have been vaccinated, please get a booster. Despite getting vaccinated, we must maintain our vigilance and public health measures of masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, etc.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Please get vaccinated. Please get a booster especially if you received the J&J vaccine. Please wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing measures. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The VA at present, has the best computer system in the world with VISTA/CPRS. The current VA VISTA electronic health care record system is a national resource that can be used to provide real time, up to the minute, nationwide data for public health emergencies. The Veterans Health Administration has four missions: Healthcare, Research, Education, and National Defense. The VISTA/CPRS system makes providing nationwide, coordinated, high quality, evidence based, health care easy, efficient, safe, and a pleasure for patients and clinicians. The VA VISTA/CPRS computer system also provides the largest, most complete, easy to access, up to date, nationwide database for healthcare research which has been essential for our work on identifying medications to treat COVID and the long-term sequelae of COVID. The VA VISTA CPRS electronic health care system is an essential tool for research, pandemic response, in addition to high quality health care delivery.

Citation:

SARS-CoV-2 vaccine protection and deaths among US veterans during 2021
Journal Science Article
Barbara A. Cohn; Piera M. Cirillo; Caitlin C. Murphy;
Nickilou Y. Krigbaum; Arthur W. Wallace
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abm0620

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Dec 9, 2021 @ 3:39 pm

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