If you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, first of all that is normal. You should always feel empowered to ask questions regarding any medical treatment or procedure you or your family are going to have done. What we do need to make sure of, is that all of our patients and community have access to reliable information and data backed by science and evidenced-based practice.
There is so much misinformation in the news, media, and on social media that has caused confusion and only added to vaccine hesitancy and fear. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has been politicized and used to manipulate people for political gain.
We often look to trusted family members and friends when we have big decisions to make. When it comes to matters dealing with COVID-19 we should be looking to our doctors, nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), pharmacists, and scientists who have gone to many years of school and have specifically studied vaccines and now have specific knowledge and understanding of COVID-19.
Most people wouldn’t ask their plumbers for tax advice or their optometrist to diagnose their car problem or manage their investment accounts. Likewise, we need to utilize our trusted medical providers to give their advice on whether or not to get vaccinated. Patients trust their primary care providers to manage their diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma.
These are the people who should be trusted when it comes to questions regarding COVID-19, and especially the vaccine. At this time, I do not know of one provider who has seen what COVID-19 is doing, or those who are treating COVID-19 in the hospitals or emergency departments, who would not recommend getting the vaccine.
COVID-19 has been an ongoing issue in the San Luis Valley and we are currently seeing a surge with many different variant strains of the virus being detected. COVID-19 is not a respecter of persons. It doesn’t matter your race, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, or financial status. Those we have been seeing in the hospital have been between the ages of 30-70. These individuals are very sick and require a high level of care in our ICU. We are often full and unable to accept additional patients so they must be transferred outside the Valley.
At this time 100% of the COVID-positive patients who have been hospitalized have not been vaccinated. This is the same for those being seen in the emergency departments in both Alamosa and La Jara. This is what we are hearing from other hospitals as well.
We have seen far too many deaths as a community from this deadly virus. Those who are dying are not always individuals we would consider old or those with underlying illnesses. That is why this virus is so scary. For those who choose not to get vaccinated, you have the potential of passing the virus to a friend or loved one who may not survive. This is not “just the flu.” Those who recover from COVID-19 may continue to see consequences and lasting effects in the lungs and heart for years to come.
We are a community and a family here in the San Luis Valley. Caring for our neighbors has always been a cornerstone of the deep tradition of how we were all raised. Getting the vaccine is a free and easy way to stop the spread of the COVID-19. We are all in this together.
Tiffanie Hoover, NP, is a Valley native and has worked in nursing for over 16 years at SLV Health. She has spent the past three years as an acute care nurse practitioner Hospitalist. The past year she has worked in the Covid Unit and the outpatient Respiratory Clinic, treating people of all ages from 16 days old to 96 year olds.