We are offering another (possibly last) Moderna Covid-19 booster clinic on Monday Nov 18. The Mass Department of Public Health just this morning officially expanded the eligibility for the booster to include anyone who is over 18 and at least six months out from primary immunization with Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. PLEASE SIGN UP.
We have received a supply of frozen Moderna vaccine sufficient to give booster shots to all OHC members over the next 6 weeks or so. We plan clinics ever Monday and Friday with signup on our website. Moderna can be used as booster regardless of your initial vaccine series. We will follow CDC eligibility guidelines as we start these clinics next Monday 11/8. We will also offer open standby appointments to cover no-shows.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues. Immunization remains critical to individual health and suppressing the epidemic. A third dose of Pfizer vaccine suggested for those over 65 or younger people at higher risk. Moderna vaccine maintains its effectiveness. Breakthrough infections occur but hospitalizations and death largely occur in unvaccinated. OHC plans flu clinics beginning Wednesday October 13 and hopes to offer Pfizer boosters.
We use available state Covid-19 infection rates and other published data together with the binomial distribution to calculate the risk of unsuspected infections in small group gatherings. With our current high level of infections (20 times higher than summer) the risk is 5-10% for groups of 10 or 20. You DON’T want to gather indoors with other than household members this winter.
A brief review of the multiple ways we work to protect you and our staff in our clinical environment, including improvements in HVAC, aggressive cleaning and PPE, and SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing for patients and staff. These efforts all serve to reduce the risk of passing or acquiring Covid-19 in the OHC clinical office.
We are still in the midst of a pandemic that has subsided in Massachusetts but is still very much with us and could easily rebound. We need to remain vigilant in our self care. No real good news. US infections and deaths are at high levels and increasing. An effective and proven vaccine is not realistic until next year and then will take many months to distribute. Keep up your careful self care. This is depressing but real.
We have started scheduling comprehensive visits (“checkups”) for members in the office. Checkups will be divided into two parts, with video discussion one day and in-office physical exam and completion the subsequent day. This will allow thorough and effective comprehensive exams that will be safer by restricting in time spent in closed exam rooms. In addition we have detailed phone prescreening for Covid-19 and active virus point-of-care testing on arrival at the office to protect all of us.
We are beginning to leave quarantine. Covid-19 risks are much lower, but still present. We have to keep up our self protection appropriate to the risk, where greater intensity and duration of exposure increase risk. Use of handwashing, appropriate masks, social distancing, avoiding lingering in groups indoors, and home sanitization are all self-protection techniques. It is summer. Enjoy the outdoors, which is overwhelmingly safe.
I explain multiple and sometimes complex issues with the Covid-19 epidemic, starting with where we are in the infection epidemiology (new infections in Mass. are leveling off but are still high, deaths are growing). Then I explore the types and efficacy of biological tests (PCR and antibody), and why different people have different personal Covid risks and may make appropriately different responses in behavior and personal protective equipment. I tried to keep it short, but ultimately chose clarity over brevity.
Today is Day 2 of Week 6 of the epidemic. We need to maintain rigorous self-quarantines and personal protection when outside, but there is hope and some data that the rate of new cases in Massachusetts is slowing. What we need most to get ourselves out of quarantine is an effective drug treatment, so that an infection does not carry high risk of hospitalization and ICU care or death. PPEs are still problematic and testing is not yet up to the need. The real bulge of cases here certainly seems likely to extend through May. Happy birthday, Happy birthday is still the key song.