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Dr. Norm Estin: Get vaccinated, so life can return to normal

By BY LOUISE ROCKETT - | May 14, 2021

Dr. Norm Estin at the start of COVID-19 testing in September.

#HIGotVaccinated! is the battle cry of the newly immunized in Hawaii.

Dr. Norm Estin of Doctors On Call is lead crusader battling against the global pandemic in our corner of the planet using vaccination strategy as his sword.

“I’ve been working with the Hawaii Department of Health and Dr. Pang at the big vaccine clinics all over the island, especially at the University of Hawaii Maui Campus,” he told the Lahaina News.

At the same time, he is outflanking the spread of the viral enemy at three Doctors On Call clinics on island: Times Supermarket, Honokowai Marketplace; Kahului; and now in South Maui at The Shops of Wailea.

“We’ve been vaccinating as many residents as possible, focusing on the hospitality sector, so we can get the Maui economy up and running again,” he asserted.

Estin is cautiously optimistic about containment.

“As far as this whole pandemic is concerned on Maui,” Estin advised, “I’d say we are just past the beginning of the end. We’ve done a good job, but we can’t confuse progress with victory.”

“It is now clear,” the West Side doctor continued, “that science and medical knowledge have stood their ground. The general population is beginning to understand that the ONLY possible way to fight and prevent the spread of the virus and get our lives back to normal is with the vaccine.”

Vaccine shortages during the 2021 winter months were experienced; however, Pfizer and Moderna brands are now plentiful in multiple locations.

“They’re free, too!” Estin noted. “You DO need a second dose in three or four weeks. It doesn’t have to be at the same place you were given the first vaccination; though it DOES have to be the same brand.

“The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, placed on hold for about ten days over concerns about an extremely rare side effect (an unusual type of blood clot at a miniscule rate, less than one-in-a-million) is back and available for those who only want one jab,” Estin added.

According to the critical care practitioner, progress on a nationwide basis has been remarkable.

“About 40 percent of the country’s population has had at least one shot and over 30 percent are fully vaccinated. This is amazing, as the vaccines have only been available less than five months. Here in Hawaii and on Maui, the numbers are even higher,” he said.

Vaccinations are available from many quarters — doctors’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, churches and soon schools, Estin observed.

He stressed the importance of a second shot for the Moderna and Pfizer products. “Protection is not assured until the second dose; skipping it will prolong the pandemic statewide, and we’d really never return to normal.”

“Some are concerned there might be a mild reaction to the second shot (compared to the first one),” Estin explained, “and that is true. But it has never been serious or prolonged. I’ve personally supervised thousands of vaccinations and haven’t seen ANY serious problems.”

Estin is a vaccine advocate; he tackled many of the questions voiced by the those with questions.

“There are probably going to be NO long-term side effects. The reason is simple. In the whole history of vaccines, any potential long term or serious side effect has always been exposed the first six weeks of use. It has been nearly six months, and we haven’t seen any at all.”

Estin considered it “wishful thinking and a total fantasy to think there is any way to fight this virus or protect yourself other than a vaccine.”

“That is just the way it is with viruses, especially ones in the air. Wearing a mask and avoiding large groups will certainly slow down the spread. But nothing, I repeat nothing, will prevent you from catching it or prevent big outbreaks other than getting the vaccine.”

Some ask, “What about Covid mutations or DNA changes?”

Estin observed, “This is normal for viruses. The changed versions are called variants, and the problem is that some of them spread more rapidly and make people sicker than the original version. In addition, a couple of them are attacking younger people more than older people. Some infect with the so-called ‘Long Covid,’ where people are sick for years and may contract permanent ‘brain fog.’ Almost a third of people get this — believe me, you do not want to get Long Covid.”

“So far, the vaccines have been working against the variants, but this might change. Every health department around the world is monitoring this closely,” he acknowledged.

Estin is passionate: “If you haven’t already been vaccinated, the reasons are apparent. The vaccines are clearly safe and effective, having been used on hundreds of millions of people. EVERYTHING you do is safer if you are vaccinated — going out, going shopping, going to work.”

“Airborne viruses like this are highly contagious, and the burden of preventing this spread falls on us as individuals,” he continued.

“From a practical point of view, recipients will be issued vaccine cards allowing them to travel or attend sporting and entertainment events in the future.

“If vaccinated,” Estin further observed, “you will NOT have to quarantine if you are around someone who is positive.”

“We all want to protect ourselves and our families, as well as get Maui life back to normal. The more people who get a vaccine, the more quickly we can do that,” Estin concluded.