December 6, 2020

Patience

The days in the Pacific Northwest are still getting shorter, the solstice isn’t for two more weeks. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing and is starting to show its face to those who are affected. The best treatment is using a light box for 30 minutes in the morning, with at least 10,000 Luxe which mimics outdoor light. For a while, Jamie and I fantasized about setting up a coffee shop that had the “happy lights” for people to use along with their daily dose of caffeine, a sure fire successful combo. The lights used to be expensive but they have come down in cost and are more affordable. We also have less interest in running a business like that, although we still roast our own coffee beans.

Luckily, we northwesterners were just gifted with several unexpected sunny warm days that will go a long ways to helping us get through the winter. Other ways to help with SAD are getting outdoors when you can and Vitamin D. The dark days are made even more challenging this year due to the pandemic since we are not able to have our usual parties and celebrations and indoor coziness with others.

Hopefully the news that vaccines really are coming and are effective can help. We need to keep in mind that the rollout will take time. Manufacturing hundred of millions of doses and distributing them are a logistics mountain to climb. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) met last week to prioritize who should get the vaccine first: health care workers and people living in nursing homes, followed in phases with others based on risks. Lots of questions are out there about the rationale for setting the priorities, along with how long it will all take.

I know that people wonder if they will have a choice of the vaccines, which is a good question and not easily answered yet. We need to know more about the vaccines that get approved and their distribution. You can use this New York Times calculator so see when you might be able to get one. It will depend on your age, where you live, your job and your risk factors. Knowing how long it might take, may help you cope and hang in there for a few more months. Or make you really depressed if you have to wait a long time. We all need to understand that it will take a while, although reports are that possibly 24 million may be vaccinated by mid-January.

Some people are questioning whether getting a vaccine is better than getting “natural immunity”. The only way to get “natural immunity” is to actually catch the virus. The vaccines have data showing a good response that is protective. Even if the vaccine ends up having rare serious side effects (for example 1 in 100,000) that risk is much, much lower than the 0.6 -1.0 % (estimated death rate out of hundred) chance of dying from COVID-19 or the higher risks of chronic symptoms from COVID-19 infections. All the data so far shows the vaccine is predictable and safe, while the virus itself can cause unexpectedly severe disease in young healthy people with no risk factors. I fear catching this disease more than I fear the vaccine.

And that fear of the vaccine, vaccine hesitancy, will be a big issue that will slow down our recovery. We need enough people to get the vaccine to slow transmission down. Now disinformation about the vaccine is being spread and we must continue to be wary of sources. This is a big enough concern that the Covid Collaborative and other groups, including the NAACP, are partnering with the Ad Council to have a Vaccine Education Campaign to counter misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.

Meanwhile, we must keep living our pandemic lives, looking for beauty and kindness and sharing it until we come out the other side.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and be kind.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/in-depth/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/art-20048298

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/members/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations-process.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/12/02/941610789/cdc-immunization-advisory-committee-member-on-distribution-of-coronavirus-vaccin

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/89871 choose vaccine

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/03/opinion/covid-19-vaccine-timeline.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/06/us/politics/covid-vaccine-timeline-california.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/05/health/covid-natural-immunity.html

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/covid-collaborative-announces-partnership-with-ad-council-on-50-million-vaccine-education-campaign-301178535.html