After the strenuously prolonged Covid pandemic that lasted almost two and a half years, we are all tired of the subject, let alone getting yet another shot for the bug. However, that complacency by default can be dangerous as last summer there were about 40,000 deaths in the USA due to the still dangerous virus in our midst. The problem has been compounded by the incomplete rates of vaccination in the USA.
In a New York Times article, David Leonhardt said: “the situation is especially tragic because most of these Covid deaths could have been prevented—if only more Americans had received vaccine shots, including booster shots for older people and others with vulnerable health.” Even though the pandemic has lost its impetus and few patients become sick enough to need an urgent hospitalization, the rate of infectivity is still way too high in the non-vaccinated and the under-vaccinated.
In August 2022 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer and Moderna companies to introduce the bivalent boosters, which not only protect from the ancient strains but also from the BA5 and other new variants; the were officially introduced on September 28, 2022. Most experts recommend people over 50 years old, and especially those with chronic medical conditions, to get a booster shot if they had not had one this year yet. The case for booster shots gets trickier for people under 50 years old because they are at much lower risk of contracting a serious Covid infection and, they might have had a bad experience with the initial shots and want to avoid taking time off work to recover. However, if they get infected, they might disseminate the virus to more vulnerable members of their families or need more days off work to get well.
David Leonhardt added: “the most effective way to reduce Covid deaths, however, does not involve boosters. It involves persuading more unvaccinated Americans to get their first shot. Their risks are far higher than the risks facing the unboosted. Unfortunately, public health officials acknowledge that they do not know how to increase that number very much. About four-fifths of the unvaccinated—a group that is disproportionately Republican—say that they will definitely not get a shot…” For the past few years, there has been a bitter Red-Blue or Democrat-Republican schism in the USA, whose sharp and explicit differences have seeped into all societal levels.
When we enthusiastically studied for so many years, and with great familiar and financial sacrifices, our Master and Doctoral degrees of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City, we did not have the slightest idea that those precious diplomas would put us squarely in one of the two socio-political camps of the USA. As Friedrich Nietzsche, a brilliant yet controversial philosopher, has sagely said:
“Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups it is the norm.”
Note. This picture of Friedrich Nietzche was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
We will get a second booster shot before the wintertime sets in, as we are worried that the laxity of our safety measures may favor the Covid dissemination. Even if an infection does not reach the level of gravity to warrant a hospital admission, it still puts you at increased risk for the physical/psychological effects of Long Covid, which are quite significant for certain patients. Amongst these we should mention gastrointestinal, cardiological, mood effects, etc. The featured image was taken the first time we got the Pfizer vaccine in Jackson South Medical center in Miami in January 2021.
Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.
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