February 6, 2021

Super bowl of vaccine appointments

We are still in limbo, waiting for the vaccines, but the US is not the only country with issues. Vaccine rollout varies by country with notification, scheduling, and priority variable. Each state is different too. Washington state has a different priority list than our neighbor Oregon does. Believe me, I feel pretty helpless when I can’t help my own patients who are highest risk get the vaccine. For many, it feels like winning the lottery when you get an appointment. Here the rollout has had successes and failures, including some hospitals prioritizing donors. The health department put a big warning stop to that action and then moved to open up more shot clinics in neighborhoods most affected by the pandemic.

The challenge after getting the first is setting up the second shot. Sometimes it is easy and other times finding the second one is a full time job. That is why I was happy to read about a couple in Florida who are volunteering to help elderly people arrange their immunization. in lower income, higher risk areas.

After I got my first shot, I was given my vaccine card and I posted a photo of it online for a hot minute until a friend reminded of the risk of data mining and fraud, so I pulled it down. Be careful no to do the same thing.

In the meantime, whether you have your first vaccine, the second dose, or are waiting, we all need to realize that full immunity takes time. That means we all still need to be careful and protect ourselves from infection. Super Bowl parties are tempting but dangerous, especially with the new, easier to spread variants that are already present. They are in many ways the epitome of super spreading events: people together, unmasked to eat and drink together, yelling for their teams, and speaking loudly for several hours. Best advice: stay home so you can be there next year.

In the meantime, double down on mask wearing. Masks really do work, more data supporting their use in this MMWR report from the CDC that shows decreased hospitalizations and deaths after masks were mandated in several states. I love this graphic presentation from the New York Times about how masks work to prevent the wearer from spreading SARS-CoV-2 and also protect the wearing to some extent.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, persistence pays- your shot will come.

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.