To my patients,
It is my sincere hope that you, your family and loved ones are well and safe. As this pandemic moves into yet another season, it is hard to believe that seven months have passed since we reopened the office in May continuing to adapt and evolve to the “new normal”. I believe we have made decisions that allow us to provide excellent medical care in a safe and comforting environment.
For those of you who have returned to the office, I trust you found this to be the case. Those who have not yet had an opportunity to return to our office, I encourage you to consider the importance of your healthcare and well-being. Regular medical care is essential to maintaining good health. We will continue to maintain the office with your safety and my staff’s safety as primary importance.
Being a passionate sports fan, I look at the pandemic today as a baseball game. We had a very difficult first half of the game but we mounted a comeback, eventually taking the lead late. Fatigue, sloppy play and errors caused us to blow the lead in the 9th inning sending us into the extra innings we now find ourselves. We need to mount a comeback once again so we can be victorious against this most formidable foe. Our game must be strong however difficult this may seem. Continuing to use all that is available to us, including masks, social distancing and hand hygiene is critical if we want to persevere.
As difficult and emotionally draining this battle is, help is on the way. The announcement of an approved vaccine could not have come at a more critical time. I am incredibly excited by this news as I feel it will allow us to eventually win this game and return to life as we knew it pre-pandemic.
Many of you have questions regarding the vaccine. Firstly, I strongly encourage you to get this vaccine when offered. The FDA approval was made by career scientists and physicians who are not politically appointed and who are experts in vaccine safety and effectiveness. Additionally, they confirmed what the company said in its release last month: that the clinical trials have shown this to be a safe and effective vaccine.
The FDA scientists did report that more than half of those who received the vaccine experienced mild to moderate side effects such as pain at the injection site, fatigue and flu-like symptoms. These side effects were for the most part short-lived and less frequent in older adults. You should not be worried about these side-effects as they are common after most vaccinations and actually mean your body’s immune system is working and making antibodies to provide the protection against SARS CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19. I promise you that you can NOT get COVID-19 infection from the vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine will not be administered in doctor’s offices as the ultra cold requirements are not a level that can be achieved by routine refrigeration (-70C / -94F). The Moderna vaccine also is unlikely to be available at your doctor’s office even though the refrigeration requirements are less (-20C / -4F). Both vaccines require 2 doses to provide the best protection and current belief is that those who have already been infected with COVID-19 should still receive the vaccine even if you have antibodies. How long immunity will last is still an unanswered question. Lastly, even if you receive the vaccine you must continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing as you could still carry the virus and infect others.
In summary, this is very exciting news and I encourage you to get vaccinated when available to you. The more people who get vaccinated the sooner we will reach a level of confidence that we have won this ball game and can celebrate mask-less, hugging our loved ones and make up for lost time while keeping in mind the positive lessons this pandemic has taught us.
We wish you a meaningful and healthy Holiday Season and a most healthy New Year. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us either via phone at 212 570 2075, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the patient portal.
Eric Morgenstern, MD
Faten Mousa, Office Manager
Maria Tavarez, MA
Hailey Marie Buhay
Amanda Dhanwa, MA