Broderick Rhyant, M.D.
Chief Physician Executive, Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor
With COVID-19 vaccines introduced nearly one year ago, it would be reasonable to believe that the virus that has killed more than 800,000 Americans would have receded somewhat and the numbers of those testing positive have – in time – dwindled to a lesser figure. Sadly, with more than 100,000 Americans testing positive nearly every day, COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s flourishing like never before.
With hospitals overflowing across the nation with coronavirus patients and medical personnel worn down over time from the unrelenting pressure to serve their patients, it’s up to each of us to avoid getting and spreading the COVID-19 virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the recently discovered Omicron variant, now seen in at least 38 states including Indiana, accounts for 73 percent of the nation’s coronavirus cases. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur, which further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters for everyone.
According to the CDC, vaccines are effective at protecting people from COVID-19 and they help keep adults and children from getting seriously sick and reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Getting everyone ages 5 years and older vaccinated can help the entire family, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at risk of getting very sick if infected.
The CDC also recommends that everyone 16 years old and older get a COVID-19 booster shot.
If you received the two Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, you’re eligible to receive a booster six months later. For those receiving the single Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, you may receive a booster shot after two months.
More than 459 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through November 29, 2021, according to the CDC. Some people have experienced no side effects after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, while others have experienced generally mild to moderate reactions that have dissipated after a few days.
People who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately. If you are ill with flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your health center or clinic before coming to your appointment. If you are an Eskenazi Health patient, please call 317.880.7666 before coming to your appointment. Health care professionals are available 24/7 to answer questions on symptoms and direct you to the most appropriate care. It is important to first call before arriving at Eskenazi Health.