This past week, President Joe Biden announced that the vaccine eligibility deadline for all adults would be moved up to April 19, two weeks earlier than his previous projection. With many states, including Indiana, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Utah, and West Virginia, allowing vaccine eligibility for anyone 16 and up, and even more allowing any 16 and older with high-risk medical conditions to receive a vaccine, it seems that every willing adult will be able to receive the vaccine within the next couple of weeks.
While this is certainly good news, and it has caused many to feel hopeful that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is behind us, it is still important for hospitals to exercise caution in the weeks and months ahead.
HOSPITALS NEED TO REMAIN CAUTIOUS
Although there are three promising vaccines that offer immunity to the virus: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines, and vaccination eligibility is expanding rapidly, it is not time for hospitals to ease up on COVID precautions.
In fact, according to CDC director Dr. Rachelle Walensky, the U.S. is “headed for impending doom” . COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, and healthcare workers need to be as careful as ever in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.
In spite of the climbing vaccination rate, COVID-19 cases are continuing to increase for a few key reasons:
COVID-19 immunity is not instantaneous
While it is true that many Americans are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, these vaccinations do not provide an immediate solution.
Both the Pfizer and the Moderna COVID vaccines require two doses of the vaccine given weeks apart, and regardless of which of these two vaccines an individual receives, it will take at least two weeks for them to be fully immune from the virus. While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, recipients still need to wait two weeks after their shot before they are fully immune .
Although millions of Americans are receiving vaccinations, there will still be a few weeks before they are immune from the virus. In the meantime, these individuals can still contract and spread the virus.
Some Americans are refusing the vaccine
While vaccine eligibility is expanding, there are many people who are not going to receive the vaccination. Roughly 1 in 4 Americans have said that they do not want the vaccine, which reduces the chances for herd immunity .
If the United States cannot reach herd immunity, the coronavirus will still be able to spread and there will continue to COVID-19 hospitalizations in the coming months.
States are lifting COVID-19 restrictions
Following news of widespread vaccine eligibility, some states, like Texas, California, and Mississippi, are lifting COVID-19 restrictions. This means that mask mandates will be removed, restaurants will be able to operate at full capacity, and social distancing requirements will be relaxed.
Lifting COVID-19 restrictions before herd immunity is achieved may lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, especially considering the number of Americans who opt not to receive a COVID vaccine.
Emerging COVID-19 Variants
Although the three approved COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available in the United States are highly effective against the coronavirus, they have been shown to be less effective at protecting against emerging COVID-19 variants.
These COVID variants, which have already been reported in the United States, are more contagious than previous variants. Without a COVID vaccine that provides full immunity for these variants, they will only continue to spread.
SLOWING THE SPREAD USING THE SCONE
Considering all of these factors, it is crucial that hospitals continue to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect their healthcare workers.
The SCONE can stop infectious COVID particles from spreading between patients and healthcare workers, helping hospitals mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep their staff safe.
This medical device uses negative pressure technology to clear infectious droplets and aerosols in under five minutes, allowing healthcare workers to stay safe while providing patient care, even though they cannot physically distance themselves from patients.