The last month of 2020 is proving to be more exciting than we might have anticipated.
News of an impending COVID-19 vaccine, which may be days from hitting nursing homes, feels like our rescue boat is finally arriving.
Of course, for the vaccine to be effective, we all have to take it. Which may prove trickier than developing the vaccine itself.
At this point, the country seems as divided over whether to take the vaccine as it is over politics. And it’s not a stretch to connect the two, as Democrats say they are more likely to take the vaccine compared to Republicans, according to a recent poll.
Anthony Fauci, M.D., who needs no introduction at this point, is now tasked with educating us on the subject. He recently took the podium in a White House briefing to inform us that the vaccines, when they are released, not only will be effective, they will be safe.
It sure would be a sad thing to come this far in battling the virus — dealing with all the death and destruction it has caused, particularly to the nursing home community — and not take this lifesaving step. Imagine if people had decided not to take the polio vaccine in the 1950s.
Back then, President Eisenhower issued his own statement to the public about the importance of the vaccine. Among other points, he speaks with confidence about state officials, manufacturers, distributors, the medical profession and “the people of the Nation” working together “in a sure and orderly way.”
Closer to the present, nursing home workers still struggle with lower flu vaccination rates compared to their counterparts in other segments of healthcare. This continues to be a problem for the field.
It certainly is understandable that people feel nervous about the vaccines at this point. The vaccines are being created in record time and under considerable urgency. Questions about effectiveness and safety weigh on many people’s minds.
But under the circumstances, we need to believe our scientists on this one.
As President Eisenhower once asked for the “combined efforts of all” to rid society of a “dread disease,” it is time again to act “in a manner in keeping with our highest traditions of cooperative national action.”
When that vaccine comes available, do yourself and the people around you a favor: step in line.
Liza Berger is Senior Editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Follow her @LizaBerger19.