With eagerness and a sense of relief, we rang in the New Year this past week and said goodbye to 2020, a year of travail, frustration, and divisiveness. Much of the reason for such hardship in 2020 was, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. It took the lives of friends and loved ones, shut down businesses and schools, and made “social distance,” a household phrase. As we enter 2021 however, there is reason for optimism as a COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the brightest minds in science and medicine, has begun to be administered.
It is important to remember that we are very much in the early days of the vaccine program, and there are still some obstacles to overcome. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) represent an unprecedented global research and development effort. In the coming weeks and months, most of us will have to be patient as the vaccination effort is implemented. Supplies of the vaccine are limited; shipping and storage, especially for the Pfizer vaccine, which requires ultra-cold storage, is complicated. New York State has charted a methodical distribution protocol – prioritizing the people most at risk of exposure (including front-line health care workers) and people most at risk for complications (nursing home and group home residents).
This means most of us will have to wait, as doctors, nurses, EMTs, nursing home staff, and theelderly and other vulnerable populations receive the first doses. In the meantime, we are wise to prioritize credible and reputable news sources. Unsourced and unverified social media posts and videos do not provide reliable health information for you or your family. The best sources for health care information are always your doctor or other health care professionals. I encourage you to follow updates provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), FDA, New York State Department of Health, and our county health departments. These agencies are committed to providing accurate and timely information that will keep the public informed on the latest developments regarding the vaccine and virus. As we wait our turn to receive the vaccine, we must continue to follow common sense recommendations, such as wearing masks, washing our hands, keeping a safe distance from others as much as possible, and staying home if we feel sick.
The past year has been extremely trying, and there isn’t a person who hasn’t been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. The development and implementation of the vaccine, however, is proof that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. Public health professionals and the medical community are hard at work with testing and prevention efforts, while looking ahead to wide-scale vaccinations in 2021. I extend my sincere thanks and admiration to them for their relentless efforts and dedication.
Finally, I encourage everyone to keep up their personal efforts in preventing the spread and I extend to you and your family my best wishes for health, happiness, and prosperity in this New Year. As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 716-634-1895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.