Dear Clinic Members,
Today’s newsletter is a short one, covering just two points.
- COVID VACCINES — the plans for timing and availability of the upcoming Covid vaccines are still being developed and rolled out, and we are closely following developments on this front. We will let you know more concrete details as they become available. Member Plus Family Health has requested an allotment of vaccines from the Department of Health, but they haven’t made it known yet when we will receive any. We also are unable to say yet which vaccine might be the one made available for us to administer to our patients.
The two front-runner vaccines at this time are the ones made by Pfizer and by Moderna. These vaccines are similar in how they work and similar in effectiveness (both are excellent). We have been closely tracking the development and approval process for these vaccines, and feel convinced at this point that they are sufficiently safe to recommend to all of our patients. Even if we are not able to offer our patients a vaccine within our own office, there will be multiple other options.
All should bear in mind that the state guidelines for vaccine administration will dictate the priorities as to who will be offered the vaccine. The first group will be healthcare/emergency (particularly front-line) workers, followed by residents of nursing homes (including assisted living, etc), then people with high-risk conditions, and then finally the general public. It is worth pointing out as well that none of the vaccines that are close to approval have been tested in children, and consequently these Covid vaccines will only be approved for use in those age 16 and up.
- CURRENT COVID RISK — The infection rates in Kitsap County are higher now than they have been at any prior point in the pandemic. Numbers will likely continue to rise through the holidays, even with the administration of Covid vaccines having begun. Our most-sincere wish is for all of our patients to stay safe from Covid, and so we must repeat our advice regarding this pandemic:
- Avoid travel that is not clearly essential.
- Wear a mask any time you’re unable to reliably maintain a minimum six-foot distance from other people.
- Do not gather indoors in groups with people outside of your immediate household (or your carefully-curated quarantine bubble), and if gathering outdoors, keep the group size to three or less and wear masks.
- Do not remove your mask when you are indoors in a space shared with other people. Such spaces include restaurants, stores, gyms, salons, theaters, and public transportation, among others.
- If you are an individual at high risk for severe Covid, try to avoid any public indoor spaces at all.
We think about your wellbeing every day, and hope you are finding joy in this holiday season, in spite of the troubles in our country and our world. If any of you are struggling with depression, stress, or anxiety, please reach out to us for support and advice.
Dr. Crandell and staff