Kali Kniel, Professor of Microbial Food Safety, University of Delaware, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping up with the latest COVID-associated news can sometimes feel like a roller coaster ride. The CDC announced on May 16 that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. First note that fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks’ time since your second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. In this case, you should keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated. Also, that exception where masks and distancing are required by some states or businesses is to protect individuals and families where vaccines are not allowed due to age or in some cases immune-deficient individuals may not be able to be vaccinated at this time. In other cases, states may be waiting until more people are vaccinated in that area. This CDC guidance comes as the science is now clearer on the incredible level of protection we get from these vaccines.
The benefit to encouraging your employees to be vaccinated is that this is the best way to get back to normal. Vaccination helps to protect the health of your workforce, visitors, and patrons. It also reduces the risk of downtime from illness or quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 in the busiest season of the year. While the number of individuals with COVID-19 in the United States continues to decrease, the disease is still circulating, people are still being hospitalized and tragically some are dying due to COVID-19. In countries with lower vaccination rates compared to the US, COVID-19 cases are rising. It is obvious that vaccines are a game changer.
Still uncertain about vaccines in your workplace? According to Dr. Daniel Griffin (one of my COVID heroes, and active clinical physician, scientist, and educator) 99% of the patients admitted to the hospital at this time are those who never received a vaccine. This is a great reason to encourage your friends, family, employees, and team members to get their shot. You might also like to know that serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following COVID-19 vaccination. Historically, if vaccine side effects are going to happen, they occur within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. At this point >100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine alone have been given and scientists continue to actively follow a large cohort of these people who have been vaccinated to confirm vaccine safety and effectiveness. This way, rare effects, such as those that occur in 1 person in a million, can be identified early. In our area of the US it is easier than ever to find a vaccine location and children ages 12-15 are now eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
Many of us rely on scientific evidence to provide proof that one crop variety or fertilizer type is superior to another and at this time there is ample scientific evidence to support how incredible these vaccines are at providing protection from COVID-19.