As vaccines for the coronavirus are gradually made available to more and more members of the public, researchers and medical professionals want people to prepare for what it means to be vaccinated and what to expect when getting the key second dose. Understanding those details will be crucial to finally turning the page on the COVID-19 pandemic, when we can transition back to a relatively normal state of affairs. For that to happen, the large majority of the population will likely need to be inoculated. “The only way we’re going to get out of the situation with COVID-19 is an aggressive vaccine campaign, but I think because of the speed with which the vaccine was developed and also some political turmoil, there are some doubts about the efficacy of the vaccine,” explained Dr. Nicholas Testa, the divisional chief medical officer of Dignity Health’s Southern California Division. “To get to this idea of herd immunity, the number that they’re looking at is having somewhere between 70 and 90% of the population being vaccinated.”
A sudden emphasis on extending COVID-19 vaccination opportunities to residents 65 and older in Los Angeles County may alter plans for a local hospital to begin inoculating Glendale Unified School District educators. Nothing is set in stone, and the likelihood of further changes will probably grow as President Joe Biden’s administration settles in during the coming weeks. For now, however, the plan for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital to begin vaccinating GUSD employees against the virus starting on Jan. 30 has been paused. In an era of fast-breaking news, this change of plans came 24 hours after the GUSD Board of Education was briefed on the rollout. “As with everything with COVID, there have been so many twists and turns,” said Mary Virgallito, associate administrator for quality and patient safety at USC-VHH, in an interview Thursday. “We’re just awaiting further guidance. We’ve done everything we can, including submitting a plan, so until the county activates us, we’re on standby.”
During a time of heightened anxiety and uncertainty, I’d like to take this opportunity to review what is currently known about COVID-19 and provide a refresher on the basics about preventing the spread of respiratory diseases. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed.
How it is spread: COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses or inhaled into the lungs of people within close contact (about 6 feet) of an infected person who has produced these droplets. Surface-to-person transmission of COVID-19 has not yet been documented but current evidence suggests that the virus can remain viable for hours to days on a variety of surfaces. Therefore, it is recommended to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work for this purpose. Continue reading “COVID-19: Don’t Forget the Basics of Prevention”