Get Vaccinated Now
Needless to say, the last year has been a bit challenging! We have been through the initial fears of the unknown, the lockdown, the surges. We have experienced an almost insurmountable influx of information from experts, politicians, and social media blogs; as well as no shortage of opinions from neighbors, friends, and family members. We have all experienced numerous highs and lows related to this pandemic. Recently, numbers started dropping, the vaccines were being rolled out, and we felt like it was finally time to put this behind us. Terms like "light at the end of the tunnel" and "return to some sense of normalcy", have become common catchphrases. We would all like this to be over with so we can just move on. Unfortunately, not quite yet.
As predicted, as well as seen in other countries, the UK B117 variant is on its way to becoming the dominant strain here in the United States. This variant has been shown to be more transmissible, as well as associated with a higher degree of severe illness and mortality. We should also be wary of the long-term effects of COVID-19 experienced by many. After enjoying a lull in cases here at Firelands Regional Medical Center, we have begun to see an uptick in cases in our community as well as hospitalizations. There has also been a trend here at the hospital, as with the rest of the nation, where a younger subset of the population (40-60-year-olds) is becoming ill from this disease and being hospitalized The fact that we are seeing less of the older population being hospitalized for this illness bodes well for the vaccines which have been mostly distributed to that age group thus far.
Fortunately, all three of the vaccines available work extremely well against this B117 variant. The only way we get to move on safely is to take advantage of these remarkable vaccines. This means everyone that is eligible, including the younger population. The Pfizer vaccine is currently available down to the age of 16 years old, and it is likely by Fall to be available to the 12-15-year-old age group. Make no mistake, this disease can cause significant illness in any age group. It is extremely unlikely that a vaccinated person will go on to be hospitalized, die from this disease, or even pass it on to others. Remember, getting the vaccine will not only keep you safe but will also protect those around you and have an impact on our entire community. If we really want to experience some “sense of normalcy”, then we must get as many of us vaccinated as we can, as fast as we can; for all our sakes.
Editor’s note: Erie County Health Department and Firelands Regional Medical Center will be hosting our next large joint vaccination clinic at Cedar Point Sports Center on April 22. Sign up at coviderieohio.com.
Scott Campbell, MD, FACEP
Chief Medical Officer
Firelands Regional Health System