Coronavirus cases are rising in almost every U.S. state. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported 182,000 new pediatric cases last week, the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began.
Today, I got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Palms West Hospital, and I feel inspired. After almost 10 months since we started dealing with COVID-19, we have the much-anticipated vaccine, and we can see the end of this pandemic within reach. However, it is estimated that 70 percent of the population will need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection that it is unlikely the virus can spread and cause disease. While COVID-19 causes mild illness in some people, others can get very sick and need hospital care.
Slowing down or preventing the spread of the virus will save lives. We can stop the spread of this virus but only if we work together. We need to continue with mitigation measures: physical distancing, facial masking and frequent hand washing. Lastly, now that the vaccine is available, we encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine. While it is true that this vaccine was made in record time, it is also true that no step was skipped during its development, and the vaccine complies with all the safety and effectiveness regulations of the FDA.
The vaccine does not contain the virus, so you will not get the infection with vaccination. Most common side effects include fatigue, headache and fever — nothing compared to be battling the infection. Together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19… let’s do it!
Dr. Annette Santiago, Pediatric Hospital & Critical Care Medicine, Palms West Hospital