As healthcare professionals, we are all aware of the dangers of COVID-19 and the effects it has had on our businesses, daily lives, and even loved ones. Despite closing our offices, social distancing, and wearing masks, the numbers continue to rise. Luckily, thanks to the hard work of numerous scientists, there are two vaccines available in the US! At January’s SDCOS board meeting, the board members and I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Jennifer Tuteur and Dr. Denise Foster from the San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency to discuss all things COVID and vaccinations. I am going to use this newsletter to relay some important information they shared with us regarding the vaccines.
Both vaccines available (Moderna and Pfizer) are mRNA vaccines, which means it is not the live virus. This is new technology but both have proven to be safe and effective! Studies have shown a 95% efficacy in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, or death if infected by the virus. San Diego’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of the population by July 1, 2021 in order to create herd immunity against the virus. Optometrists and your office staff are able to be vaccinated now by going through the county. You can visit the San Diego County’s website (www.coronavirus-sd.com) to register yourself and your office staff for the vaccination. They are trying to make it easily accessible by offering the vaccine through county health vaccination events, “super stations”, mobile vaccination teams, hospital-based sites, clinic-based sites as well as through pharmacies. Even though there are many different sites, appointments are filling up fast because the city is limited by the number of vaccines they receive as well as by the number of volunteers they have to administer the vaccine. As optometrists, we can help! This is one of the main reasons AB 443 was passed, and yet another reason why being a COA member and participating in Legislative Day is so important! We now have the ability to help distribute the vaccine to the population! If you are certified and interested in volunteering to help administer the vaccine, you can register here: https://www.healthcarevolunteers.ca.gov.
If you have not yet gotten your vaccine certification, there are still ways for you to help prevent further spread of the virus:
- Get vaccinated
- Social distance and wear masks even if you have been vaccinated
- Restrict non-essential travel to <120 miles, even if you remain in state
- Enable CA Notify (app) on your iPhone or android phone to help the CDC track the virus
From December 10, 2020 to January 13, 2021, San Diego county went from 100,000 to 200,000 cases of COVID-19. We have confirmed community spread of the UK variant which has been found to be 50% more contagious. Luckily, the vaccine appears to be effective against all new strains that are being identified. The vaccine is not recommended for everyone depending on other health conditions (recent COVID infection, pregnancy/nursing, immune deficiency, etc…), but if you have no contraindications, the San Diego County of Health & Human Services Agency recommends being vaccinated to prevent further spread and keep you, your patients, and your loved ones safe. Stay safe, and I hope to be able to see all of you in person in the near future.