By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health
The vaccine. It is here. It is safe. It is free. And it is available. It is so available, that there is no longer a wait list in Clayton County.
All anyone in the county needs to do is call (563) 245-2064 and they can be directed to a pharmacy or clinic and receive a vaccine. It is easy and it is free.
There can be side effects to the vaccine. Side effects like fatigue, body aches, chills and fevers.
They can last 12-48 hours. The biggest side effect is relief. Relief that we have another layer of protection. Another way to protect those we love and care for.
I have spent the last year going back and forth to work and home. I have avoided large group gatherings.
I have worn masks, washed my hands and socially distanced.
During a normal month, I may sign four death certificates. During the surge in Northeast Iowa, I was signing them daily, sometimes up to four a day.
I have watched patients and friends die from a disease that has no cure. There are treatments to help support the body and help in fighting the disease, but no proven cure. There have been many treatments, new and old, that have been tried and studied, around the world. We keep looking.
According to John Hopkins weekly report there have been 141.5 million cases and 3.0 million deaths worldwide. There have been 564,000 deaths in the United States.
Eighty percent of the time, the COVID virus has a mild effect. Twenty percent of the time, it is not mild. Roughly, ten percent of those with COVID will need hospitalizing and supportive care.
Two percent of the time the virus is deadly. We thought we could predict who would fall into that 20% category, but learned quickly, we could not. Basically, everyone is at risk.
A smoker is somewhere around 200-400 times more likely to develop a blood clot, than is someone that gets a COVID vaccine. Most of us have been getting vaccines our whole lives without issues.
As we have journeyed through the past year, it has come to my attention that if one has not been inside a medical institute during a surge, they may not have the same perspective as someone that has.
I share my experiences of the past year, not to be used as a scare tactic, but to give perspective.
This past year has changed me. It has changed us all.
The quickest way to take our life back, for the economy to recover, for businesses to return, for families and friends to gather is for everyone to get the vaccine. It is our best shot. It is America’s best shot.
Please, get yours NOW.
It is quite simple. If you love, care for and/or respect the people and family members you spend time with, you will get the vaccine to protect them and yourself.
The vaccine. It is here. It is safe. It is available. And it can save lives.