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Dr. Norman Estin: Get vaccinated as soon as you can

By BY LOUISE ROCKETT - | Apr 2, 2021

WEST MAUI — According to the Department of Health on Maui, 23.6 percent (37,089) of the population have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; 10.6 percent (16,118) have completed two doses; and an additional 1,522 doses of single-dose Johnson & Johnson have been completed. In total, Maui County has administered 54,729 doses among a total population base of 167,416.

Dr. Norman Estin, medical director of Doctors On Call, has been on the Coronavirus front lines for a number of months.

“In terms of dealing with the Coronavirus here on Maui, we are now at the beginning of the end. The initial shock and subsequent devastating social and economic impact are both over, and we are working to figure out the best way to move forward out of the effects of the pandemic,” he advised.

“That means,” Estin explained, “ongoing almost universal rapid testing, isolation of cases when identified to prevent spread, and rapid vaccination of as much of the population as possible, as fast as possible. The purpose of that is to stimulate the body to create antibodies to fight off the virus when exposed and to prevent spread into large groups, clusters or outbreaks.”

There are now three approved vaccines in the USA; they are made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson, otherwise known as Janssen. The first two require two shots, the Johnson and Johnson only one.

“All three,” Estin noted, “are easy, painless, safe, very effective and increasingly available.” Estin is a steadfast advocate of vaccinations.

“People ask me,” Estin said, “which one should I get?”

“My answer is, whichever one you can, as soon as you can, because that is the only sure way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your family and our whole community.

“These are probably the safest vaccines ever made,” Estin added. “It normally takes ten to 12 years to create and manufacture a vaccine, and the whole world came up with these in just ten months! Absolutely amazing. We should be ever thankful and appreciative to the doctors and scientists involved.”

“The good news is that there are more on the way, Sanofi and Norovax will have vaccines out soon, and there will be more studies and testing to find out which ones are best for children, pregnant women, elderly people, those with complicated medical problems, etc. You can expect this subject to be in the news for years, as more research and studies are done. Meanwhile, we should all protect ourselves as soon as we can and as soon as it is our turn.”

“In short,” Estin observed, “we were very unlucky to have experienced the worst worldwide pandemic in 100 years. However, we were so incredibly lucky to have been able to create safe and effective vaccines so quickly that we will put all this behind us.”

The vaccine count is over three million people per day.

“Thanks to the thousands of medical people, staff and volunteers who are getting us on the road to protection,” Estin said.

To learn more about County of Maui programs, financial assistance and other information on COVID-19, visit MauiNuiStrong.net.

Details on vaccine distribution and supply are being regularly updated with new guidelines from the CDC and other authorities; visit HawaiiCOVID19.com/vaccine.

“It is important to know you are not alone, and there is help and resources available,” the website reads.

The County of Maui COVID-19 Call Center phone number is (808) 270-7855. It is open during normal business hours from 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For up-to-date and reliable information on the COVID-19 outbreak and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, contact Aloha United Way 2-1-1.

There are multiple ways to reach them from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.: call 2-1-1, text at 877-275-6569 (include your zip code), chat at www.auw211.org, e-mail at info211@auw.org or search their online database 24/7 at auw211.org/search.aspx.

Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Call the Immunization Branch at (808) 586-8332 or 1-833-711-0645.