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Alive and Well during a Pandemic

by Karlotta Zamora

Keep my grandfather alive and well. Get vaccinated and help others to get vaccinated. My 94
year-old grandfather is elderly and immunocompromised. He still lives at home and has
caretakers 24 hours a day. For the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, his visitors were
limited. I was not able to visit with him in person since I play sports and had a part-time
job. Even though he is fully vaccinated now as am I and the rest of our family, we are still very careful. Even a mild case of COVID could put him in the hospital, and leave him with severe long-
term illness, or even kill him. Our situation is not unique. Looking at the statistics there have been about 6,062,901 deaths from COVID-19 so far (2). Even now, we limit visits with my grandfather and always wear masks when we do see him.

The biggest barrier to reducing COVID transmission and reaching herd immunity is the refusal
by people to get vaccinated and wear a mask when needed. Some reasons why people may be
hesitant to receive a vaccine may be due to a fear of adverse side effects. Also, even though
this vaccine has been studied it has only been out for about 2 years. And 2 years is not a very long time compared to other vaccines which could scare people and make them even more hesitant to get vaccinated. Dr. Wen states that not enough has been done to stress the highly protective value of vaccine boosters (1). The Worldwide Health Organization (WHO), the Center
for Disease Control (CDC), and State Health Departments are tirelessly trying to educate and
convince more people to get vaccinated. The WHO uses its platform to educate worldwide and
especially in third world countries and to provide resources to protect against COVID-19
transmission. The WHO is convincing many world governments to donate vaccines to poorer
countries. focused on accelerating access to and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.
Together we are rapidly expanding supply to the continent (3). The World Health organization is
helpful because they use donations to help vaccinate third world countries that have little access
to healthcare like Africa which can help stop the overall spread.

Everyone in the world can do their part to reduce transmission, help us reach herd immunity, and
ultimately save the elderly and children from severe illness and death due to COVID-19. All it
takes is for those who are able to be vaccinated is to do it! Vaccines are readily available
now. If everyone who can gets vaccinated, people like my grandfather and my young cousins
would be better protected. We can educate others about the safety and importance of getting
vaccinated. We can help those who need transportation to get to vaccination sites.

We have managed to keep my grandfather well for the past 2 years and have kept him out of the
hospital for any reason. There is a national shortage of healthcare workers. The healthcare
workers and physicians who do work in hospitals are exhausted. More Americans need to be vaccinated. Dr. Leana Wen in a recent article in the AMA indicates that the biggest challenge facing physicians now is public health communication the biggest failure and the biggest mistake that still needs to be fixed going forward (1). She states that roughly two-thirds of Americans who could have obtained boosters did not.

March 13, 2020, was my last day of high school. Not because I was graduating but because
schools were suddenly closed to flatten the curve of the new Covid-19 pandemic which then
went to more weeks, to months, two a year and a half. My total senior year of high school was
spent online. We now know that there was no stopping the Covid-19 pandemic. Now we need
to find a way to live with it. Reducing transmission through herd immunity is our best hope for
new normal living.

Resources:

  1. Len Strazewski Contributing News Writer. “As Omicron Wanes, New Communications
    Challenges Arise for Doctors.” American Medical Association, 2 Feb. 2022,https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/omicron-wanes-new-communications-challenges-arise-doctors.
  1. “Coronavirus Cases:” Worldometer, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.
  2. “Who Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard.” World Health Organization, World Health
    Organization, https://covid19.who.int/.
  3. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-
    ncov/index.html.
  4. “Maryland Department of Health.” Coronavirus, https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/.

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