This summer, we had all hoped that we might enjoy at least some relief from the restrictions and fear associated with COVID-19. Alas, it was all too short lived. The lifting of mask regulations, summer holidays and lack of vaccination-induced herd immunity has left us vulnerable and now affected by the highly infectious and very dangerous Delta variant.
A preventable tragedy, unvaccinated individuals are at huge risk of infection with this very aggressive and lethal form of SARSCoV2. Indeed, it is in many ways a second pandemic; a newer, more ferocious pathogen ripping through the unvaccinated. Vulnerable among us are the immune impaired who may not respond to the vaccines and children who do not even have the choice for vaccination at this time. Although we are seeing cases of Delta in vaccinated persons, the vaccines are doing what we hoped and expected-to prevent serious illness and death in those infected.
It is the responsibility of all of us, including the unvaccinated, to protect those populations. Because many in our community at large are hesitating about vaccination, we will have to resort to less pleasant interventions such as masking and social distancing. We are going backwards at a time we when all so need to return to some sort of normalcy. This is not about one person, this is about all the people who surround us – our loved ones, our colleagues, our community, our country and our world.
The vaccines are safe, highly effective and will save your life. Please visit the MyTurn.ca.gov site to find a location to receive your vaccine today.
Kimberly A. Shriner, MD, Medical Director – Infection Prevention & Control, Huntington Hospital