As hindsight is officially 2020, we look forward to forgetting the hardships of the past year and anticipating the excitement of 2021. We are not out of the woods yet, however, when it comes to conquering the devastation caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak.
For many of us, the reality of the COVID outbreak in the Spring of 2020 did not hit too close to home, yet the current surge is very different. Most of us have either been infected by the coronavirus or have known someone close to us who has. Many of us, unfortunately, have also lost someone close to us and that void can never be filled.
Researchers at some of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies should be commended on their unprecedented speed at bringing now two vaccines against COVID-19 through clinical trials and the FDA approval process for use in this country.
This is nothing short of a modern miracle. In fact, vaccines are heralded as among the most important and impactful medical breakthroughs in the history of humanity. So many deadly diseases – cholera, Hepatitis B, diphtheria, influenza, malaria, measles, mumps, rabies, rubella, pneumonia, shingles, varicella (chickenpox) have been overcome by the development of specific vaccines against them. I remember having chickenpox as a child, and now my own children have never even heard of it!
While it is natural to be skeptical of any new medicine that comes on the market without long term safety data, vaccines are nothing new. Improved development and delivery techniques now allow us to develop, test, and administer these agents in millions of people in a short amount of time, but their track record dates back for decades.
In fact, you could argue that vaccines aren’t technically even medicine, but a way to trick your body into thinking it has seen a virus previously so that if it does see the real thing, it is equipped with everything it needs to keep you from getting seriously ill.
In order for us to move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it will take more than mask-wearing and social distancing. It will require the large majority of the country to receive one of the newly-approved vaccines. Our hospitals and medical systems are overwhelmed with COVID patients and over 350,000 Americans have died from its effects.
Many of us who contract COVID will never even know we have it, yet we can spread it to so many other people in whom it may be devastating or even fatal. The vaccine will break the chain of this wildfire-like spread of this deadly virus. Those of us who have received the vaccine will likely not get ill but we still may be able to spread the virus after the second dose in 3 weeks. Both products may make your arm feel a little sore or perhaps make you feel a little under the weather for a day or two – these are both signs that the vaccine is working and aren’t considered side effects.
In the short term, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue well into 2021. It is natural to be fearful of something new. Vaccines, however, are nothing new. Unless we all band together and feel proud of our country’s accomplishments, the pandemic will continue for longer than any of us want. Nobody has died from the COVID vaccine, however, so many hundreds of thousands have died from this horrible disease. We are fortunate to have access to a weapon that can defeat it. So when it is your turn, do not be afraid and get vaccinated. More information about the COVID-19 precautions at our facility can be found here.
For more information about the available COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC’s informational site, ask your physician or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.