If there was only one message medical experts could convey to Long Islanders over the age of 16, it’s this: Get vaccinated.
It’s the best way to protect against COVID.
And if you already are vaccinated, encourage your reluctant friends, family members and colleagues to get the information they need so that they can protect themselves, and those around them.
That was the message of Dr. Mark Jarrett, senior vice president and chief quality officer and deputy medical officer at Northwell Health, and Dr. Adhi Sharma, the chief medical officer and executive vice president of clinical affairs at Mount Sinai South Nassau,
The two were guests of LIBN|Now, Long Island Business News’ weekly webshow, hosted on libn.com and Facebook. Airing Thursdays, the show is hosted by Joe Dowd, editor and associate publisher of LIBN, and Ali Jabbour, associate publisher of LIBN.
The episode aired as there is now expanded access to walk-in vaccinations in New York, and in New York, more than one in three are fully vaccinated, according to state officials. On Long Island, 805,470 people are fully vaccinated, with 1,135,313 already having received the first dose.
The value is to “vaccinate everybody as a public health measure so that the virus in this case would not circulate in the community, making it very unlikely that anybody” who didn’t or couldn’t take the vaccine, say for health reasons is still “protected because the virus just didn’t circulate,” Jarrett said.
Additional concerns include variants that emerge, and the fewer variants out there, the safer for all of us, he said.
But convincing people to get vaccinated against COVID brings challenges, especially when compared to earlier vaccination rollouts, including polio.
“It’s very challenging,” Sharma said, “The internet is an open source for information” with “as much correct information as there is misinformation.”
“Practitioners must take time to sit with patients who are hesitant and say why they need to take the vaccine,” Jarrett said.
The doctors said a public campaign, with a person who is widely respected and officials from both parties, would go a long way towards getting people onboard to getting vaccinating so that everyone can more readily get out and about.
Employers should encourage their team members to get vaccinated, as when the population is vaccinated, “it leads to some normalcy,” Sharma said.
In the meantime, masks are still warranted, even for those who are vaccinated in order “to protect one another,” Sharma said. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, the doctors said.
The Johnson & Johnson pause was “a blip,” Sharma said, but it showed that there is transparency in the vaccine rollout.
Looking ahead, Sharma said booster vaccines may be necessary, especially as developing nations are lagging behind in their rollout.
Sharma urged everyone who is concerned about getting vaccinated to get answers to their questions about the process from their medical practitioner.
And for everyone who is vaccinated, Jarrett said, “be an ambassador,” and encourage at least two people who are not yet vaccinated, to do so.
Watch the full episode here.
Originally Appeared On: https://libn.com/2021/04/29/doctors-to-long-islanders-get-vaccinated/