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President and CEO, Inspira Health
It’s a new week, which also happens to bring in a New Year. While a New Year brings new opportunities, it unfortunately doesn’t wipe the slate clean of the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, the virus is more rampant now than ever, and predictive models show no immediate sign of relief. And we foresee the worst of it hitting our region by mid-January.
Everyone is responsible for safety right now. As members of the community, minimizing your risk of exposure is critical. Stay home when you can, but when you can’t, wear a mask; wash your hands; and social distance.
For the more than 460,000 New Jerseyeans who have tested positive for COVID-19, they understand firsthand what it can feel like. And for their family members, friends and caregivers, they saw what COVID-19 could do. For some, the virus can present no symptoms at all or be a minor illness. For others, it could lead to severe disease or even death in previously healthy people.
Many treatments and medications are being studied, but there is currently no cure. Prevention is key. Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill, even if you do get COVID-19.
Right now, there are two viable vaccine options that have received approval from the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization: Pfizer and Moderna. Since mid-December, front-line health care workers across the nation have been stepping forward and getting vaccinated; a critical line of defense in this ongoing battle. At Inspira Health, approximately 3,000 employees have received the Pfizer vaccine.
They did it for you, so that they could provide safe, quality health care that you’ve come to know and expect from Inspira. They did it for themselves and their loved ones, so that they can go home and not worry that they are putting their families at risk. They did it for a COVID-free future.
And that’s the path we are headed toward.
There have been a handful of questions about what is next, now that the vaccine is available. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of the vaccine are available. As vaccine supply increases but remains limited, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will expand the groups recommended for vaccination.
We are presently executing Phase 1A, as outlined by the ACIP and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), which is focused on health care personnel. At Inspira that means we are able to vaccinate our employees and those physicians who see patients in our hospitals. The next phases will address other health care personnel, essential personnel such as first responders and utility company employees, high-risk (age 65+) populations, and the general public.
We have not received any further guidance from NJDOH on advancing to other phases just yet. We are in conversation with them as they plan to move forward with vaccinations and how we can assist them in that process. We have been – and continue to be – committed to keeping you informed about the virus.
But until the COVID-19 vaccine is available broadly, if you make only one New Year’s resolution for 2021, resolve to maintain those tried and true safety measures to ensure a healthy and prosperous year: wear a mask; wash your hands; maintain social distancing; and get vaccinated once available.
For whatever may lie ahead, Inspira Health is well prepared to ensure that our community can continue to receive safe, high quality care for whatever your health needs may be.
Until we may have the chance to meet, stay safe, and be well.