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An Editor’s Invitation: The Vaccine

Dear Pulse readers,
A New Year is upon us. I hope that it finds you well so far.
It’s an old saw in medicine: Never be the first doctor to prescribe a new medication–nor the last.
It’s advice that I take to heart. I generally wait a few years before offering the latest, greatest pill to my patients. On more than one occasion that strategy has saved me the guilt and shame of violating the most sacred medical directive: First, do no harm.

So why is it that yesterday, when given the chance to be inoculated with a relatively new potion, the COVID-19 vaccine, I grabbed at the opportunity?
Twice a week I see patients in person at our family health center. We have precautions in place: Patients are screened for COVID symptoms when they arrive; they are required to wear a mask; and I walk into the room with an N95 mask and face shield securely in place.
Sounds good. However…
  • The rate of positive COVID tests in our health center’s zip code is 12 percent and climbing–more than ten times what it was not long ago;
  • Our screening questions would not pick up a COVID-infected individual who has yet to develop symptoms;
  • Our exam rooms are cramped, with my patient and me less than an arm’s length apart; and
  • Those pesky masks keep slipping down off people’s noses.
If I’m examining an infected patient who is exhaling COVID-laced aerosolized particles, comparable to cigarette smoke, I have to wonder: How safe am I, really?
That’s why, when balancing the potential risks and benefits of being vaccinated, I elected to take the shot.
How do I feel, one day later? Fine. The needlestick itself didn’t hurt at all, but my left upper arm is now a little sore. That’s about it.
What about you? Have you been vaccinated yet? Are you eager to be next in line? Are you holding back?
Send your lived experience with getting or anticipating the vaccine to More Voices. Also, have a look at last month’s theme, Endings and Beginnings.
For more details, visit More Voices FAQs–or go directly to the More Voices Submission Form. Remember, your healthcare-related story should be 40-400 words. And no poetry, please.
Once again, Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.
With warm regards,
Paul Gross
Editor

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