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October 16, 2021

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Putting all your eggs in one basket?

By Karen Kier, Pharmacist on behalf of the ONU HealthWise team

Some of you may be familiar with the idiom “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  The expression is interpreted as a person that invests or commits all their energy or resources into a single opportunity or goal at the risk of losing everything.  We were often given this advice to make sure that we had a backup plan or a plan B so that if the original goal did not come to fruition, we had an alternative. (When you say plan B to a healthcare professional, we often think of the commercially available product for emergency contraception known as Plan B®.)  

However, numerous studies have looked at the impact that backup plans have on one’s overall success. The Harvard Business Review discussed several studies looking at this issue including a respected study from the University of Wisconsin. The study confirmed that those students who were given a plan B or backup plan were less likely to strive for the goal established in the study. The study concluded that having a backup plan can diminish one’s ability to succeed.  Other studies have shown that participants will have a shift in mindset without recognizing it when given a backup plan. It is not always obvious to the person that the shift has occurred.  

How does this apply to COVID-19? Right now, our major emphasis is getting individuals vaccinated to protect them from illness, hospitalization, critical care units, and even avoiding death. As the death toll in the United States has reached a catastrophic 700,000 people, are we being distracted by backup plans that are altering our mindsets? Do we have too many eggs in our baskets? 

Disinformation about using certain therapies that have little to no value for managing COVID-19 such as hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and ivermectin are a distraction. The inability of the scientific community to defend the evidence published in peer reviewed medical journals versus the social media fallacies about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines, is a distraction.

The latest information on COVID-19 booster shots, including the emergency use authorization for Pfizer and the submission of Moderna’s booster data on September 1, 2021, to the FDA is another egg in the basket. This week, it was reported that Moderna submitted data to the FDA that would require ½ of the first or second dose to be given as a booster-another egg in the basket. The Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 booster vaccine results from Israel indicate that the side effect profile of the third dose appears to be identical to the second dose and has a good safety profile - another egg. What is our backup plan if our vaccination rates do not improve for conquering this pandemic?

The backup plan includes therapies with scientific evidence that can improve outcomes when someone gets infected with SARs-CoV-2. How will these newer therapies change the mindset of individuals if they know therapies are out there to manage infections? Are they thinking backup plan rather than prevention with a vaccine? Merck, with its partnering pharmaceutical company, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, submitted data to the FDA about their new oral capsule to treat COVID-19 infections. They applied for emergency use authorization for an oral antiviral drug called molnupiravir. The clinical data submitted showed the drug reduced the rate of death and hospitalization from COVID-19 to one-half when compared to a placebo (no drug). This is impressive data in the fight to treat infections. When counting our eggs, one needs to consider that the drug was not 100% effective in preventing death and hospitalization. Although no one therapy or vaccine for COVID-19 is 100% effective, the COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing serious illness and death exceeds this investigational therapy. Experts fear that this new oral antiviral egg in our basket may further deteriorate our efforts to improve vaccination rates. The question becomes whether this backup plan will deter our success in the fight.

As scientists and healthcare professionals, we strive to have many eggs in the basket for treating any disease state or condition. We want backup plans and alternative therapies to help as many patients as possible. However, our best plan of action is to prevent these disease states and conditions from ever happening. That is why a vaccine is our first choice to prevent disease when possible and only have to use the backup plan when our other options have failed.  Portugal has achieved a vaccination rate of 85% and the country’s death rate is nine times lower than the United States. Our goal would be to put all of our eggs in the prevention basket.

Feel free to call the ONU HealthWise Pharmacy or talk to your health care professional.  ONU HealthWise is offering walk-ins for COVID-19 and flu vaccines.  We still want to take calls and provide the best information possible.  Call the pharmacy to get more information on getting vaccinated. 

ONU HealthWise Pharmacy