Friday, August 27, 2021

One Less Factor in Vaccine Hesitancy

Earlier this week, I was delighted to hear the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for use in people ages 16 and older. 

It is clear the Pfizer vaccine—along with the Moderna vaccine—is safe, highly effective, and the strongest weapon we have to combat this virus. The FDA had already studied the early data before giving emergency use authorization, and has now gone through its full, rigorous process to grant full approval. The Pfizer vaccine is probably the best studied vaccine in the history of FDA approvals in that hundreds of millions of doses have been given around the world with very few significant side effects. 

This latest surge in COVID-19 patients we are experiencing in emergency rooms, outpatient clinics and hospitals across the nation is primarily due to unvaccinated people. This is very concerning since we are still not sure what the fall will bring with back-to-school activities and the potential spread of COVID-19 among our children. In a recent poll, 30 percent of unvaccinated people said they were holding off on getting the vaccine until the FDA had granted full approval, so we are hopeful this FDA approval will encourage those on the fence to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

With the Delta variant surging, there has never been a better time to get vaccinated. GBMC is requiring all GBMC HealthCare employees, contractors, independent medical staff members, volunteers, and learners without a medical or religious exemption to be vaccinated, and we have had to speed up this deadline after the Governor’s mandate that all hospital and nursing home employees be vaccinated by September 1. The GBMC HealthCare community is required to be fully vaccinated, or submit an exemption request, by October 1, 2021.

I want to congratulate our Primary Stroke Center which, under the leadership of Ellen Deibert MD, FAHA, Medical Director of our Stroke Center and our Chief of the Division of Neurology, and Aaliyah Franks, RN, recently achieved the 2021 American Heart Association’s (AHA) Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG)-Stroke: Gold Plus with Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll. 

These awards recognize hospitals that meet specific quality measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. Despite challenges in the last 18 months presented by the pandemic and a cyberattack, the Primary Stroke Center has been able to maintain extraordinary award levels with the American Heart Association for stroke and diabetic stroke patients.

The awards are a testament to our Stroke Center’s strong commitment to reliably provide care according to nationally recognized guidelines built on the latest scientific evidence.

I want to thank all our clinicians for their hard work and dedication in achieving this level of performance. Great work and congratulations!

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