Vaccinations: The Race Is On

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Dr. Robinson is a San Diego-based, board certified internist and cardiologist. He is an FACC fellow of the American College of Cardiology, an FACP fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), a fellow of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH), and a fellow of the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Intervention (SCAI).

By Dr. Jerome Robinson

On Tuesday March 2nd 2021 the governors of Texas and Mississippi announced their complete opening of the respective economies including removal of all covid-19 mandates in contradistinction to Public Health warnings from the CDC and the NIH. They did so even though both states are in the upper echelon of states in both the number of Covid-19 cases and mortality in the nation. This was apparently done without consultation with the CDC or the NIH for supporting documentation, which there is none. Both of these states have high numbers of people of color and African Americans who will be placed at increased risk because of this bad decision. Mississippi alone has the 12th highest Covid-19 teen infection rate in the country.

Dr. Wilensky the head of the CDC has stated the United States is at an inflection point and this pandemic with no need to back away or de-intensify our efforts when a light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Dr. Fauci has re-emphasized the need to wear a mask (if not 2), social distance, wash your hands, avoid crowds and to get vaccinated. All of the current vaccines available prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. The race now is to get vaccines in arms as soon as possible to avoid infection. If the virus cannot infect you it cannot replicate and therefore cannot mutate. This is how variants arise, via mutations. Our race now is to get as many people as possible vaccinated to avoid infection and to stay
ahead of any spikes in infections] because of a variant.

Many scientists are concerned about these variants which result from replication and mutation of the virus because the vaccines maybe slightly less effective. This is of particular concern in San Diego County in view of the significantly lower vaccination rates among African-Americans and people of color. Among African-Americans the vaccination rate is at 2.3% of those eligible and 5% of the County’s population. In Hispanics it’s about 17.8% of the population that’s vaccinated when the total percent of the population is 32%. Among Asians only 11.3% of the population is vaccinated out of a population that represents 12.8% of San Diego County. White’s on the other hand represent 45.1% of the population yet their rate of vaccination is at 48.3%.

As of Monday March 15th 2021 people aged 16 to 64 will be eligible to get vaccinated in San Diego County this group accounts for more than 60% of all cases of covid-19 infection in the county. Scientists tell us that the current vaccines will be effective in preventing serious illness hospitalizations and death from the new variants however they are more infectious and perhaps more lethal. There are several new reports published that the current vaccines may be able to prevent passing on the infection to others. I am worried that this new variant may cause a spike of infections among those not immunized which may be more infectious and again more lethal.

It was my pleasure on Sunday, March 14th 2021 to do my part in giving vaccinations to protect against covid-19 infection at Bayview Baptist Church. It’s now your turn to do yours and get the vaccine as soon as possible at whatever location you can find to sign up. Do it for yourself, family, friends and our community.

Let’s continue to follow good scientific and Common Sense advice and wear a mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, and wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds each time. You can sing Happy Birthday to yourself twice while washing your hands and this will accomplish the 20 seconds you need to wash your hands. We are all in this together and we can get through this and then deal with the inequities and disparities of this Health Care system and allow people to heal. Be safe, be careful and protect each other out there.

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