Biweekly Briefing Articles

Vaccine Approval Could Be a Game-Changer in Fight Against the Pandemic

With last week’s full approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 16 and over, there is great hope that it will help those who remain unvaccinated to get off the fence. And approval couldn’t have come soon enough, as hospitalizations continue to increase.

Adding to the urgency to get more people vaccinated is the fact that, for now, the vast majority of hospitalized patients remain unvaccinated — it’s straining the systems and exhausting your workforce, which is already dealing with burnout, retirements, and leaves of absence.

Data from San Diego County’s COVID-19 Watch backs this up. The data show that for Aug. 1-7, the hospitalization rate for not fully vaccinated residents is 32 times higher than for fully vaccinated residents. Additionally, the striking image below shows just how big a difference the vaccine can make.

Given the FDA’s full approval, it’s possible that this will open the door to more vaccine mandates for schools, businesses, and entertainment and dining. Already, the state has mandated the vaccine for health care workers, and the military is requiring all active-duty personnel to get the vaccine. That would be welcome news for those who have given their all the past 18 months keeping Californians safe.

San Diego County is making steady progress in vaccinating its residents — as of Aug. 25, about 2.38 million, or 85%, of San Diegans 12 and older are partially vaccinated. But there remains a large segment of the population, particularly those under 12, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

Last week, the American Hospital Association released new public service announcements and related digital content encouraging vaccination against COVID-19 by still-unvaccinated health care workers and members of the public. In the videos, clinicians share their reasons for getting the vaccine and answer questions from those who may still be unvaccinated.

Simply put — vaccines are the way out of this pandemic, and yet another reason to encourage those who remain hesitant to get vaccinated.