Different Takes: Change Needed In Doctor-Patient Vaccine Talks; Should We Still Be Wearing Masks Outside?
Opinion writers tackles these Covid and vaccine issues.
In COVID Vaccine Talks, Doctors Should Be More Candid With Patients
Back in December, I spent what felt like every moment agonizing over whether or not I should get vaccinated against COVID-19. I was early in my second trimester of pregnancy, and I'm also a family physician, which meant I was eligible to get my shot as soon as the vaccines were authorized for use in the U.S. At the time — it feels like a lifetime ago, even though it's only been a few months — we didn't have any direct data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people, since no one who was pregnant had been enrolled in those first clinical trials. I wasn't sure it was a good idea. (Mara Gordon, 4/18)
Are Outdoor Mask Mandates Still Necessary?
Last week, I covered my nose and mouth with close-fitting fabric like a good citizen and walked to a restaurant in Washington, D.C., where I de-masked at a patio table to greet a friend. I sat with my chair facing the entrance and watched dozens of people perform the same ritual, removing a mask they’d worn outside and alone. It seemed like the most normal thing in the world. Until, suddenly, it seemed very weird. The coronavirus is most transmissible in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, where the aerosolized virus can linger in the air before latching onto our nasal or bronchial cells. In outdoor areas, the viral spray is more likely to disperse. One systematic overview of COVID-19 case studies concluded that the risk of transmission was 19 times higher indoors than outside. That’s why wearing a mask is so important in, say, a CVS, but less crucial in, say, the park. At the restaurant, however, I saw an inversion of this rule. Person after person who’d dutifully worn a mask on the uncrowded street took it off to sit still, in close proximity to friends, and frequently inside. I felt like I was watching people put on their seatbelts in parked cars, then unbuckle them just as they put the vehicle in drive. (Derek Thompson, 4/19)
We Have Good News And Bad News About Covid Vaccines
The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t brought out the very best in either consumers or producers of news. Marginal factoids keep getting blown out of proportion both in headlines and in our minds because they speak to our relentless fears, which the headlines often make worse. No wonder so many of us are swinging in the other direction and pretending the bad thing has gone away. (Mark Gongloff, 4/19)
Vaccine Passports -- A Technical, Not An Ideological Issue
Forgive me for thinking that the midst of a global pandemic that cost millions of lives and trillions of dollars in economic loss is not an ideal moment to parse the fine points of individual rights. Covid has already sparked political fires over how to rein it in. Privacy advocates have undercut contact tracing apps' use. This technology would have permitted us to go about our business -- unless we were unfortunate enough to contract infection. Then we would have been alerted to isolate. That was certainly preferable to the alternative we were left with -- most everyone stuck at home in lockdown. (Peter Baldwin, 4/19)
The New York Times:
No, We Don't Know If Coronavirus Vaccines Affect Periods
It took a pandemic to get people to talk about menstruation. A spate of reports from women stating that their periods changed after they got their coronavirus vaccines has left many women worried that the jab is affecting their cycle. So far, there’s no data linking the vaccines to changes in menstruation. Even if there is a connection, one unusual period is no cause for alarm. There is a long list of triggers that can cause changes to the menstrual cycle, including stress, illness and changes in diet and physical activity. (Alice Lu-Culligan and Randi Hutter Epstein, 4/20)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
To Vaccinate More Latino Philadelphians, Community-Led Clinics Are Key
My mom always made sure my little sister and I received all our vaccinations. She taught us the importance of getting vaccinated as a way of keeping ourselves and our community safe. So when she told me in early March that she didn’t want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I was shocked. I never expected my mom to be one of many Hispanic adults hesitating to get vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy has been discussed time and again by health-care professionals since the beginning of the vaccine rollout. While hesitancy isn’t unique to any particular group of people, its effects are most damaging to communities of color that are already struggling to access vaccines. As eligibility requirements expand, and shots reach more Americans, vaccine hesitancy remains a pressing issue among Hispanic and Latino communities. And it will be a lasting one, since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may need a follow-up booster shot. (Wendy Lliguichuzhca, 4/19)
The Washington Post:
This Is The Most Dangerous Moment To Be Unvaccinated
If covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is straightforward. We know that people who are fully vaccinated are greatly protected against infection and serious illness and are far less likely to transmit covid-19 to others. The vaccines truly are a miracle. But here’s the bad news: Life has become even riskier for unvaccinated people, particularly those who have never had covid-19. (People with prior infections fall into a middle category, since they are at least partly protected but still require vaccination to increase the level and durability of immunity.) The reasons that the unvaccinated are at higher risk are biological, behavioral and political. (Robert M. Wachter, 4/19)