With family get togethers during the holidays, it is best to check in, and check on family, friends, neighbors, and others. Take reasonable medical safety precautions, as advised by the CDC, public health departments, and medical professionals. Listen to the experts, not just the opinionated. (Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone is an expert).
Get your Covid vaccines, if you have not done so. Get your Cover booster, if due. Wear good quality face masks in busy places. Maintain social distancing and be patient. Frequent hand washing is a sound health practice, always. This is the “new normal” and it is time to gracefully accept common sense precautions to protect others, as you would want your family and yourself to be protected. The science can be confusing and is admittedly subject to change with time and evidence. One fact, However, that has been repeatedly supported by the evidence is that the vaccines keep most people from the most serious of outcomes and consequences of Covid and the Covid variants. Get tested with known exposure, with or without the vaccine, and, with or without Covid symptoms. Hopefully, free testing kits will soon become available. If America wants to Build Back Better, free at home testing should be readily available. Celebrate the victories and try not to be too distressed by the failures. Happy Holidays… in whichever holiday tradition gives you comfort, peace, and joy. Maintain your sense of humor. Honor your family and your family traditions. Be kind.
Thank you for reading my blog. Your feedback and stories are welcome.
The New England Journal of Medicine published an article presenting preliminary findings about the risks of the mRNA type COVID vaccines before or during pregnancy. The findings evaluated the data obtained through the adverse effects reporting multiple data collection systems: VAERS, v-safe, and the v-safe pregnancy registry. VAERS, www.vaers.hhs.gov, tracks the side effects and outcomes following the COVID vaccinations. The preliminary results indicate that the risk of the mRNA vaccines, (Moderna and Pfizer), during pregnancy, do not outweigh the risks of COVID 19, itself. See study abstract.
Generally speaking the COVID vaccine is strongly encouraged for everyone over age 16. Please note that this article is discussing the mRNA type (two dose) vaccines that are currently being given in the United States, (Moderna and Pfizer). This particular study does not include the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Further research available at www.nejm.org.
Always consult your own physician who will consider your personal health history and risk factors that should weigh in to your medical decisions including the decision whether to get the vaccine.
The success of the Covid vaccine is attributing to societal normalization in the USA. Every person who can get the vaccine, makes it safer for those who can not. Hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing significantly in older, medically compromised populations, in part, because they have received the vaccine in high numbers. Research indicates that the vaccine diminishes spread. Let’s make sure the next preventable Covid wave doesn’t generate a tsunami of pediatric cases or others genuinely unable to receive the vaccine. Global containment begins at home.
Best way to avoid COVID-19 is get a vaccine. Find a vaccine though the CDC Vaccine Finder:
Eligibility changes from state to state but make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as eligible. Remember to continue precautions before and after you get your vaccine: (wear face-mask, frequent hand washing, and maintain social distancing). Make an appointment to get your vaccine as soon as possible. Good search resources are the CDC, your county health department and your primary medical care provider.
SO MUCH TO READ, SO LITTLE TIME… IN THE EVER EVOLVING PANDEMIC: RECOMMENDED READ!
The New Yorker has published a series of articles written by Siddhartha Mukherjee under the heading Coronavirus Chronicles. The articles are worth the read. They are presented in multiple formats: print, audio, and on-line. The most recent article, The Covid Conundrum, compares the COVID-19 mortality rates, in different countries, noting unexpected outcomes. Why are some of the most wealthy nations facing some of the worst outcomes in dealing with the pandemic? It challenges some of the assumptions. I encourage you to check it out!
“While the virus has ravaged rich nations, reported death rates in poorer ones remain relatively low. What probing this epidemiological mystery can tell us about global health.”
Lives lost to COVID-19 in the US, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, are about equivalent to the population of Kansas City, (Missouri) or Sacramento, California.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Monday, all but matching the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.
The good news: What you do matters. Help is arriving…
Common question: What COVID-19 vaccines are available in the US?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency use authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccine might prevent you from getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 if you get the COVID-19 virus. A third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is in the approval process for emergency use authorization and will soon become available. The vaccine from Johnson & Johnson vaccine has the dual advantage of not requiring sub zero storage and requiring a single dose. As research continues and new variants identified, booster shots or vaccine changes may be required to acquire efficacy and immunity.
Trending locally in Kitsap County, Washington:
All counties in Washington state have now been advanced to PHASE 2 by Governor Inslee. This has allowed businesses and schools to inch incrementally toward normalization. In Kitsap County, children in the youngest grades have been attending school and older grade school children have just returned to school on Feb 22nd. Strict but reasonable precautions have facilitated reopening schools. Children and staff wear face masks indoors, distancing is provided between desks, number of children in a classroom at one time is limited. Face mask breaks are scheduled to allow students to have snacks outside. Parents and guardians attest to their students being symptom free, (as evidenced by absence of fever, COVID-19 symptoms), to assess exposure risk).
If you have already had the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the recommendation is that you can expect good immunity response after 10 – 14 days after the second dose. The current recommendations suggests, after vaccination, it still may be possible to carry virus and silently spread to unvaccinated. It will be important to continue precautions, of wearing face mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and frequent hand washing to protect yourself and others for this reason after your vaccination.
It is noteworthy that COVID-19 precautions have also had the benefit of lowering the incidence of other viral infections, such as influenza. Measures, like virtual meetings, working from home and participation in online forums have become familiar and commonplace. It will make sense to continue these post pandemic practices.
Trending in SEATTLE / King County, Washington
(Reported by KOMO) State and local health officials announced Tuesday that a variant of COVID-19, similar to what was found in South Africa, has been detected in King County, adding to the urgency to increase vaccinations in the region to halt spread of the virus and its effects. The variant, initially identified in South Africa, was identified Monday through genomic sequencing at the University of Washington Medicine Virology Laboratory, according to a written statement released by the Washington State Health Department.
There are two widely known variants so far, according to health officials:
B.1.351, was originally identified in South Africa in December and has been found in ten states in the U.S. At this point, it is not known to cause more severe disease and it is not clear whether it spreads more readily than other strains, state health officials said.
B.1.1.7 strain, first identified in the UK, seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.
State and local health officials said the discovery of the B.1.351 variant poses a new challenge for Washington.
“The detection of these COVID-19 variants in our state reminds us that this pandemic is not over,” said acting State Health Officer Scott Lindquist. “Despite the decrease in our case count, we are very concerned about the emergence of these variants and how it will affect future case counts. As a community, we need to re-double our efforts to prevent the spread of this virus and its variants by following public health guidance.”
If you do not have internet or need help registering for your vaccine: Call 360-728-2219 (English) or 360-728-2218 (Spanish)
COVID-19 Risks versus benefits:
So you got your vaccine, what now?
After you are vaccinated: Remember to continue wearing face masks, frequent hand washing and maintain social distancing to protect the unvaccinated. Follow the science and the science based facts. Adhere to advice by CDC, Health Departments and other trusted medical professionals.
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