News – August 26, 2022
Dear Members & Friends,
Many FUUCH church members are interested in helping those who are most at risk of COVID19 and many church members are concerned about the risk for those who are over 65 years of age. In response to these concerns, Dr. Kim Waller, a member of the Health Advisory Group, provides the following information in a question-answer format.
1. Question: Among fully vaccinated people, who remains at a very high risk of hospitalization due to COVID19?
Answer: Those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system).
This includes people who are 1) actively undergoing cancer treatment, 2) living with an organ transplant, 3) living with rare genetic disorders of the immune system, 4) have advanced or untreated HIV infection and 5) are currently treated with high-dose steroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system. See link to CDC website below for further details1.
If you fall in one of these categories,
you may be eligible for Evusheld, a free medicine to help prevent you
from getting COVID-19. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out
which course of action is right for you.
2. Question: How effective are the US vaccines in preventing hospitalization for COVID19 among older people?
Answer: Based on over 6,000 COVID19 cases in persons aged over 65 in 2021, CDC reported that vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalization due to COVID19 among older individuals.
Among adults aged 65-74 or over 75 years, effectiveness of full vaccination in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalization was 91-96% for Pfizer-BioNTech, 96% for Moderna, and 84-85 % for Janssen vaccines. Fully vaccinated persons were defined as those who received both doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech or a single dose of Janssen2.
This study does not tell us how long the protection
from these vaccines will last and whether they are less effective among
persons exposed to COVID 19 variants that are current in 2022. Boosters
are designed to extend the length of time you are protected against
hospitalization. Despite these limitations, considering all available
evidence, COVID19 vaccines have been highly effective in greatly
reducing the number of hospitalizations for COVID 19 among all age
groups, including the elderly.
3. Question: What should I do if I develop a symptomatic COVID19 infection?
Answer: Contact your physician to be evaluated for a prescription for Paxlovid to prevent severe infection.
If you are ill with COVID it may be difficult to know how severe it will become. In addition, to contacting your physician, get plenty of rest and monitor yourself for respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath. Many people have a fingertip monitor for oxygen saturation levels that can be used at home to measure baseline levels of oxygen saturation and fluctuations in oxygen levels that may occur due to respiratory illnesses. As reported on NPR, these monitors were calibrated for white skin and are not fully accurate for persons of color.
Kim Waller, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology,
Human Genetics and Enviromental Sciences
2. Moline HL, et al. Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing hospitalization among adults aged > 65 years – COVID-Net, 13 States, February-April 2021. MMWR 2021:70:1088-93.
Rev. Scott will join Dr. Rocke on the chancel on September 4th, and will be out of the office September 6th - 15th.