Winter has arrived, and as often happens, hospitals are filling up. Every one of us is only a car crash, inflamed appendix, or heart arrhythmia away from urgently needing medical care. Currently, our only hospital in Calvert is at capacity. 10 of those medical ward and ICU beds are occupied by people with severe Covid infections. 8 of the 10 were unvaccinated, and presumably thought Covid infection would never endanger them. The other 2 people had vaccinations but did not receive boosters. Every one of these illnesses and hospital admissions was preventable. If hospitalizations continue to rise, we may see a repeat of last winter’s overflowing emergency rooms and surgery cancellations.
Covid infections are rising across Maryland. Over the past 3 weeks, Covid-related hospitalizations have increased by 55%. It is very likely that this trend will worsen after Christmas and New Year’s.
You can do something about this. There are 18,000 Calvert adults who remain unvaccinated. Another 35,000 residents age 16 and older are eligible for boosters but have not yet received one, including 4,000 seniors. For those who had their initial 2-doses of vaccine, a booster dose will substantially raise your immune protection within 1 week. That means if you get your booster in the next 3 days, you’ll be much better protected by Christmas. Even if you can’t arrange a dose this week, the sooner you get this done, the safer you will be as we head through the winter.
You can schedule a booster with your doctor’s office, local pharmacy, or register online with your Health Department for either a Moderna or Pfizer dose: https://www.calvertcountycovid19.com/vaccination-registration
The CDC recommends a booster 6 months after your second vaccination, but local data has shown that immunity starts to decline at the 4-month mark. It is beneficial for anyone who received their second dose in mid-August or earlier to boost up their antibody level at this time. You are not only protecting yourself, but you are lowering the risk that you will unintentionally transmit Covid to others.
Many people who held off on Covid vaccinations were understandably waiting to see more safety data. The initial trials were 1 ½ years ago, and since vaccines were made available to the general public last December, 200 million Americans have been inoculated. Other than rare incidents of myocarditis in young males, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been extremely safe. No longer-term side effects have occurred. This contrasts to the 800,000 unvaccinated Americans who have died from Covid infections and the 3.5 million who have been hospitalized.
Everyone is tired of dealing with Covid. But this winter, if we don’t come together as a community and take action, deaths and long-term health problems will be the result. As we draw closer to Christmas, each of us should consider how we can show kindness and consideration for our neighbors, coworkers, and congregation members who are medically vulnerable. Get a booster. Reconsider your decision not to be vaccinated. And regardless of vaccination status, for the next few months, wear a face mask when in public places, avoid large crowds, and please stay home when you feel sick. We wish our fellow Calvert residents a safe and healthy holiday season and happy new year.