As the holiday season approaches, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has a critical message for the public: protecting yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses should be a top priority. Cohen recently visited Nassau University Medical Center (N.U.M.C.) to stress the importance of staying vigilant during this festive time.
While COVID-19 cases are still prevalent and posing a threat, Cohen emphasizes the significance of getting vaccinated. The CDC director urges individuals to ensure they are up to date with the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the flu shot and, for individuals over the age of 60, the RSV shot. These updated vaccines provide the most effective protection against the ever-changing viruses.
Despite the undeniable impact of COVID-19, only 14% of adults have received the updated vaccine. Cohen urges the public to take action and emphasizes that the virus is continually evolving, causing long COVID and tragically taking lives. It is crucial to remain proactive in the face of these ongoing challenges.
In addition to vaccination, Cohen stresses the importance of basic preventive measures such as hand hygiene, staying home when feeling unwell, wearing masks in crowded spaces, and ensuring proper ventilation by opening windows. These simple actions can greatly reduce the risk of viral transmission and protect vulnerable individuals, including newborns.
If you do experience symptoms or suspect you may be infected, Cohen advises staying home and testing yourself. Timely testing and appropriate treatments can be life-saving. Recognizing the difficulties in accessing tests, the CDC has recently announced that every household in the country can now receive four more free COVID tests.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, who has been at the forefront of public health efforts throughout the pandemic, continues to advocate for the health and well-being of the community. This holiday season, following her advice could mean the difference between a festive celebration and a potential health crisis. Stay informed, stay safe, and protect your health and the health of those around you.
1. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if I’ve already had COVID?
Yes, even if you have already had COVID-19, getting vaccinated is highly recommended. Vaccination provides additional protection against reinfection and reduces the risk of severe illness.
2. Where can I get the updated vaccines?
You can check with your primary healthcare provider, local pharmacies, or visit the CDC website for information on vaccine availability and locations near you.
3. Are there any side effects of the vaccine?
Like with any vaccine, there may be some mild side effects such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, or low-grade fever. These side effects are typically temporary and indicate that the vaccine is working to stimulate the immune response.
Sources: CDC (www.cdc.gov)