Two of the key areas that the ECCL focuses on concerning our vision, “To make the greater Estero area the best place to live, work, and play,” are Healthcare and Safety.  With this in mind, the ECCL considered a recent article published by Kaiser Health Newsworthy of sharing with our residents1.

An emergency physician, Dr. Eugenia South, who was one of the first people to receive a COVID vaccine, said afterward that she was in no rush to throw away her face mask.

Health experts say there are good reasons to follow her example. “Masks and social distancing will need to continue into the foreseeable future — until we have some level of herd immunity,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the University of Michigan. “Masks and distancing are here to stay.”

  1. No vaccine is 100% effective.

Large clinical trials found that two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines prevented 95% of illnesses caused by the coronavirus. While those results are impressive, 1 in 20 people are left unprotected, said Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The genetic material used in mRNA vaccines — made with messenger RNA from the coronavirus — is so fragile that it must be carefully stored and transported. Any variation from the CDC’s strict guidance could influence how well vaccines work.

  1. Vaccines don’t provide immediate protection.

No vaccine is effective right away; it takes about two weeks for the immune system to make the antibodies that block viral infections.

  1. COVID vaccines may not prevent you from spreading the virus.

While COVID vaccines clearly prevent illness, researchers need more time to figure out whether they prevent transmission, too, said Phoenix-based epidemiologist Saskia Popescu, an assistant professor in the biodefense program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

  1. Masks protect people with compromised immune systems.

Although the vaccines appear safe, “prior studies with other vaccines raise concerns that immunosuppressed patients, including cancer patients, may not mount as great an immune response as healthy patients,” said Dr. Gary Lyman, a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center professor. “For now, we should assume that patients with cancer may not experience 95% efficacy.”

Lyman encourages people to continue wearing masks to protect those with cancer and others who won’t be fully protected.

  1. Masks protect against any strain of the coronavirus, in spite of genetic mutations.

Global health leaders are extremely concerned about the coronavirus’s new genetic variants, which appear to be at least 50% more contagious than the original. So far, studies suggest vaccines will still work against these new strains.

One thing is clear: Public health measures — such as avoiding crowds, physical distancing, and masks — reduce the risk of contracting all strains of the coronavirus, as well as other respiratory diseases. The best hope for ending the pandemic isn’t to choose between masks, physical distancing, and vaccines but as Dr. Malani said, combine them. “The three approaches work best as a team,”

Ref: 1 Kaiser Health News Article By Liz Szabo Jan 15, 2021, https://khn.org/news/author/liz-szabo/

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