For proof vaccine works, look at rest homes

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

“I’m just going to wait and see,” the healthcare professional said, when asked whether she would get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Wait for what? the patient wondered quietly to himself, while not hesitating to entrust himself to her care.

So far, 147 million people worldwide are fully vaccinated, about 1.9% of the total population. That includes 62.4 million U.S. residents or 19% and 402,000 Nebraskans, or 20.8% of the state’s population.

Your chance of discovering some unknown side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine is almost as slim as winning the Powerball lottery (1 in 195 million).

But does the vaccine really save lives?

Yes, according to a group that represents more than 5 million people living in more than 14,000 nursing homes around the country.

According to the American Health Care Association, nursing homes nationwide are seeing a 96% decline in COVID cases since the vaccine rollout just before Christmas.

Just before Christmas, there were more than 30,000 new resident cases. The latest numbers show just 1,349.

More importantly, since Dec. 20, the number of COVID-related deaths has dropped by 91%.

Unlike earlier days of the pandemic, nursing homes are one of the safest places to live right now, with staffers tested regularly and wearing PPE, and the majority of the residents are vaccinated.

Hopefully, the numbers will soon win over enough doubters -- healthcare providers and general population alike -- that the vaccination drive can reach its lifesaving potential and bring back a measure of normality.

One more reason to mask up

If you’re still unconvinced masks are effective in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, perhaps your seasonal allergies can help persuade you to wear one.

According to data collected from 215 nurses over a two-week period, those who used surgical or N95 masks reported 40% less sneezing, running and stuffy noses while wearing their masks.

This was one of the mildest influenza seasons on record, a fact many experts attribute to pandemic precautions.

Perhaps when the COVID-19 threat subsides, many of us will find new reasons to continue masking up.

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