Oakland County's top doctor says vaccine is light at end of pandemic tunnel

Dr. Russell Faust says there is a reason to be hopeful in our fight against the pandemic.

"There is a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel and it's the vaccine," he said. 

Faust, Oakland County's top doctor, says the county is still in Phase 1a - vaccinating medical first responders. 

"If we can vaccinate 70 to 80 percent, if we can get  70 to 80 percent immunity in our population, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief," said Faust. 

Oakland County is ready to vaccinate 20,000 people a week - but doing much less now because of availability. 

The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna ready in less than a year - compared to the mumps vaccine, which took four years. 

"The government went around and funded these companies to pour all their resources into these vaccines," Faust said. 

Dr. Faust says drug trials showed a reduced infection rate for COVID-19 of 95-percent, making it eligible for production. 

"The adverse reaction rate for severe reactions in clinical trials and in the practical application is lower than virtually any other vaccine in history," he said

But not everyone is sold. 

"Right now there is an enormous number of people that have been offered the vaccine that have declined to 'wait and see how it goes,' and that includes frontline people in the hospitals," he said.

Faust has a message for the skeptics.

"I would rather have every side effect listed for the vaccine than get Covid," he said.

Most of us will not get the vaccine until after the holidays - and that has top health officials urging caution when it comes to gathering. 

"We had expected a massive surge after Thanksgiving," he said.

No surge then and hopefully not one now. Faust said to consider alternative celebrations outside.

"You're much safe outdoors you still to maintain distance and wear a mask but you have that ventilation," Faust said. 

The cases are trending down, and so are hospitilizations - the doc says, keep it up. 

"I'm begging everyone to remain vigilant," he said.