August 2021 President’s Messsage

August 2021 President’s Messsage

Physicians must be leaders in controlling spread of virus

by Stephen J. Grindel, DO —

The 2021 version of the coronavirus pandemic is now in full swing. Because we have not reached herd immunity, the variants are upon us and more are sure to come. Despite the efforts of the medical community and public health officials, only about half of adults in our community are fully vaccinated.

What is the next step to help encourage vaccination to prevent continued spread of the COVID-19 virus and the development of new variants? We all must continue talking with every patient and individual we come into contact with who has not been vaccinated. This includes physicians in all specialties and diverse locations of practices.

One of the most concerning statistics is the abysmal percentage of health care workers currently vaccinated. According to media reports, between a quarter and a third of health care workers have not been vaccinated.

I laud Ascension for its bold move requiring vaccinations for all individuals working in its institutions. We must be leaders in controlling the spread of this pandemic, especially since we are the ones caring for the community. All medical institutions in our area should take the same stance.

The delta variant is far more infective than previous strains and is affecting younger individuals and children at a much higher rate. Children younger than 12 have no vaccine options at this time. The CDC has recommended that all children in highly infected areas should wear masks in indoor public venues. If we want to keep our children safe from this virus, we should also support such a recommendation.

My hope was that I would be the last MSSC president to deal with this pandemic. Due to the current surge of the delta and other variants, many of my successors and all Medical Society members may continue the fight for years to come.