Get Boosted and Save Lives
By Mike Lauf, President and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare
Healthcare is unique in that we are an evolutionary industry based on science, on discovery and on education. We rely on the latest verified, proven information at any given time to guide our diagnostic and treatment processes. Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly adhered to the latest scientifically-vetted treatment and prevention techniques, which have evolved over time, as we learn more and more about how to fight this virus.
We have been battling this life-changing pandemic for 22 months now. At first, we learned how to diagnose COVID, then how to treat it, then how to protect ourselves, and then how to refine all of it, when we received new information. In the beginning, we began to test in-house, which cut down on the time it took for us to not only tell patients if they were COVID-positive, but to also protect our staff. We began to do rapid testing in our Urgent Care Centers. We set up vaccine clinics on the fly to help save our community, which vaccinated over 55,000 people. We set up a consortium, so the rest of the county could get vaccinated, and we partnered with local, regional and state entities to better facilitate the vaccination process.
We all stood up and understood the importance of a life-saving vaccine and, when it became available, 99 percent of us within this organization received it. And what we learned along the way was that while the initial vaccine dose helped our body resist and at times prevent catastrophic cases of COVID, it was just the beginning.
The evolutionary process of the pandemic continues, and we now know that a booster vaccine will further enhance our ability to resist the worst of this disease. The latest research suggests that giving more COVID-19 booster shots would have a major impact on reducing hospitalizations and deaths. Data from a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund shows that by tripling the pace of booster doses, we could reduce the expected number of COVID hospitalizations by more than 35% and deaths by 30% through April.
If we can, as a community, as an organization, get our boosters, we know that our chances of ending up in the hospital with COVID, and our chances of dying from COVID, will improve – not just by 10 times, but often 15 and 20 times over. We know that by getting a third shot, whether we had COVID or not, is critical to how we will be able to fight this disease individually. It will help keep you safe, it will help you avoid the difficult symptoms.
We, as an organization, can do better with this. While 99 percent of us have received the first vaccine doses, only 35 percent of us have received the booster. This is not good enough; we need to lead by example for our patients and our community.
The vaccines were never designed to prevent us from getting COVID, but they were designed to help us live should we get it. I want to ask everyone to not only consider getting a booster but consider urging your family and friends to get it, too. It’s absolutely vital in this fight against another wave of the pandemic.
Boosting saves lives. It will protect you, it will protect your family, and it will protect your patients.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This pandemic will end. When, we don’t know. But by continuing to be vigilant, by continuing to keep ourselves safe, we have a good opportunity to make sure the pandemic ends sooner rather than later. Please come to one of our vaccination clinics this week or schedule a time with Occupational Health to receive your booster.
Thank you, as always, for your incredible commitment to your patients, this organization and this community.