My my how time seems to slip away from us. COVID 19 is still in full swing and my foray into health care is still in its infancy. The USA is report 4,000 deaths daily and Colorado still recommends that the public is safer at home. 5% of the us population is vaccinated which means of the 300,000,000 who call this country home only about 15,000,000 vaccines have been administered. While substantial, its a woefully small portion of our population. To be counted in that 15 million is also a remarkable experience. I completed my COVID vaccine series over a week ago which according to the Moderna manufacture of my vaccine that I have acquired as much immunity as I’ll be getting from that stiff poke in the arm. According to data from the CDC the vaccine is approximately 94.1% effective in folks who have no history of having had COVID. Compare this to the flu vaccine which is evaluated every year and which usually ends up being around 40-60% effective. The effectiveness of the Moderna and other available vaccines is quite remarkable. However, while this is all good news I have to ask myself what this really means in terms of my daily life in and out of the hospital.
I’m no longer working on a hospital floor and instead working in a trauma and wound clinic off the main campus at Boulder Community Health where I predominantly see immune compromised individuals which chronic wound issues and a few trauma based wounds. At work our practice is the same, we take temporal temperatures (off the forehead) as people arrive and ask a few questions to help insure the folks we are seeing are COVID free. The questions while important in narrowing down possible symptoms aren’t nearly as important I think in knowing whether or not folks are maintaining social distance and being mask compliant. The things that work better than anything are washing our hands, staying six feet apart, and wearing a mask when in close proximity to other folks.
To have achieved individual immunity feels great, however it doesn’t quite relieve my COVID stress. There is a vaccine and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But, people who are inline for the vaccine will get COVID and some will die before they have had the chance to reach a point of meaningful immunity. Folks who knew about the vaccine have already died. Family members are watching preventable deaths on a daily basis. The tragedy of having a solution and yet still falling victim to this virus cannot be understated. However, there has been other solutions this entire time. Hygiene, masking up, and social distancing. This solutions are just as important to saving lives now as they were last March when life changed in the US. They might even be more important now simply from social perspective knowing that medical help is just around the corner.
Life moves on, the vaccines are rolling and people are feeling a sense of relief from this whole plagued episode of life but it is far from over. I urge you as someone who is working in health care, tended to COVID patients, has friends who are on the front lines everyday to STAY VIGILANT. There is no need for further loss of life.
Front lines don’t just count as emergency rooms or COVID floors in hospitals, they are grocery stores, gas stations, schools, restaurants, gyms, they exist any place where a person comes face to face with another person outside their immediate circle. We put ourselves in harms ways more often than not simply because it so easy to slip up. I’m not asking you to change your life in a dramatic way. But I will ask and urge you to be vigilant about washing your hands, wearing your mask, and staying six feet apart whenever possible. The end is insight, lets not lose anyone else. Especially those who have made it this far with us.
If you have questions about the data that I used or information you can find answers: