PHOENIX — Doctors can tell if a patient battling COVID-19 is vaccinated or not just by looking at their lungs, highlighting their efficacy against the virus.
“The only people that are really getting sick are people that are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Sam Durani, the chief of staff at Deer Valley Medical Center. “[They] oftentimes require ventilation and oxygen, especially on some of these really profound X-rays that we are seeing.”
The scans of vaccinated patients with COVID-19 show more air flowing, with the larger part of the lungs colored in black, meaning there’s little to no damage, Dr. Durani said.
In contrast, the image of a scan from an unvaccinated person shows that the lungs are congested, which limits the oxygen flow throughout the body.
“If you have a vaccinated patient that comes to the ER with a breakthrough infection, that maybe have some shortness of breath and we do a CT scan, they’re not nearly as bad as the unvaccinated patients,” he said. “Even the breakthrough infections that end up getting pneumonia, their CT scans still were not as bad as the ones of unvaccinated patients.”
New CDC data showed the risk of dying from COVID-19 is 11 times higher for unvaccinated adults than those who have been inoculated. The agency has also reported that less than 1% of breakthrough cases have led to hospitalization or death.
The COVID-19 vaccine became available after Chris Paddock contracted the virus. He was hospitalized for a week, but even after 10 months into his recovery, his body is still experiencing side effects.
“Anything to do with breathing and energy level, [my tolerance] dropped,” said Paddock who used to frequently go on runs. “I can only go running for about 30 minutes and then I would start to get a little dizzy and that’s something that has been going on for two months now.”
Paddock said he now experiences shortness of breath and weakness, something that he believes would have been less severe if the COVID-19 vaccine would have been available back in December when he was infected.
“If I had access to that, got it, and then contracted COVID, I know it wouldn’t have been as severe as it was,” Paddock said.
Paddock is now fully vaccinated and after losing loved ones during the pandemic, he urges others to get theirs too.
“It’s important for people to get the vaccine shot, the first, second, and third,” Paddock said.
By seeing the images and the damage the virus can have in the lungs, Dr. Durani justifies the reason for people to get their dose.
“The vaccine is working extremely well and is keeping the virus from progressing to pneumonia or infiltrating the lungs,” Dr. Durani said. “When you get a dose you can get a little sick, but eventually your body recognizes it, it attacks it and you don’t get hospitalized, you don’t get put on a ventilator, it’s very profoundly effective."
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