A Special Interview with Dr. Russell: Got The Shot

Dr. Jim Russell is a local physician in the Rutland area who specializes in emergency sports medicine and has a long-standing history in our community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Russell worked closely with essential businesses to help them manage outbreaks and answer challenging questions about health, safety, and vaccinations that have come up throughout the ever-changing course of the pandemic.


  • A Special Interview with Dr. Russell: Got The Shot

Listen to the full episode with Dr. Russell here, or scroll down below to find the question and clip that interests you most.


What is the advice for healthy individuals who still have not gotten vaccinated?

  • Get vaccinated. It is your best opportunity to avoid severe symptoms, hospitalization, and ultimately death.
  • If you have family members at home who are older, have medical problems, or are immune-compromised, you should absolutely get vaccinated.
  • Modify your behavior and think of others even after you've been vaccinated so that everyone is safe. 

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Do masks work and should we still be wearing them?

  • Quality well-fitting N-95 particulate masks decrease virus transmission by more than 30%. Cloth masks and bandanas are much less effective but are better than wearing no covering when social distancing isn't possible.
  • People who wear masks are also more likely to adhere to other safety precautions such as distancing, unnecessary travel, and attending events with unknown people.  They are also more likely to observe good personal hygiene including hand washing, covering a cough or sneeze, and avoiding unnecessary personal contacts like hugging or handshaking. 
  • The three most effective measures to avoid getting any communicable respiratory diseases (Covid-19, cold, and influenza) are: Avoid risk-taking behavior, get vaccinated, and wear masks in public. 
  • Mask wearing is still recommended for vaccinated individuals in situations involving a higher risk exposure such as indoor public activities, and for 10 -14 days after exposure to a Covid positive individual. As an alternative, vaccinated individuals may get tested 5 days after exposure to Covid, and if the test is negative, the vaccinated person can discontinue mask-wearing. 

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What role do booster shots play in the future of the pandemic and how will their distribution play out over the next couple of months?

  • Booster shots will change the course of the pandemic if enough people get them. 
  • Looking ahead, building new boosters will help us evade variants that may be more transmissible or cause severe disease, or are able to circumvent the current vaccine.
  • Covid vaccine booster shots for all front line workers are available today — and new data says you should get one immediately.

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How does the Covid-19 vaccine technology affect your body once you've received the vaccination?

  • Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines were developed in research labs in 1985 initially for cancer treatments and have been proven a safe and effective vaccine for rabies, Zika, and influenza viral infections. This type of vaccine was fast-tracked by federal funding for Covid-19 vaccines in 2020. 
  • Adverse effects of the vaccine are recorded in a worldwide database which includes detailed observations of over 1 billion doses, making it the most-studied vaccine ever.
  • Most side effects are short-lived (muscle aches, mild headache, fever, and general fatigue) and last only 24-72 hrs. 

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Are the vaccines safe for women who are pregnant or planning to start a family?  

  • Research has demonstrated that Covid-19 vaccines do not affect fertility, cause birth defects, or adversely affect the course of pregnancy, fetal development, or breastfeeding. 
  • Covid-19 infections in unvaccinated pregnant women do increase the risk of pre-term delivery and more serious illness and hospitalization, including the need for respiratory assistance (ventilator). 
  • The risk of unvaccinated individuals developing complications from a Covid-19 infection during pregnancy far outweighs any risk from the vaccine. 
  • The American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists strongly recommend women of all ages get a Covid-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.

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