Sound Off: The sooner we’re vaccinated, the sooner we’ll be back to normal

We all wish COVID-19 was over, don’t you? Eighteen months into this pandemic, we are eager, more than ever, to get back to “normal.” Unfortunately, as of this writing, our case rates are the highest they’ve been, and “normal” isn’t coming fast enough. For Island County, our 14-day case rate is about 400 positive cases/100,000 population. This is more than double the amount of our previous peak in cases from last November.

COVID is not a hoax.

While many might have “mild” disease, others are not so lucky. Every time we hear that it’s just a “flu,” it’s quire insulting to your local healthcare team as we watch our island neighbors struggling for oxygen and regretting their decision not to be vaccinated.

Unfortunately, we also are watching an increasing rift between the vaccinated and unvaccinated communities on social media and in the news that is straining relationships. Worse, this divisiveness is preventing considerate and educated discourse allowing us to reevaluate our decisions as the data becomes clearer.

What is the data? The vaccines have been thoroughly tested with over 360 million doses given in the U.S. to date. They are safe; only incredibly rare side effects have been reported. The vaccines are effective; while there are breakthrough cases, 97% of current hospitalizations for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Vaccines are far and away more effective at preventing progression into a serious disease than anything we have to offer you once you are already sick.

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy (Regeneron) and anti-viral agents (Remdesivir) are marginally effective at preventing progression to severe COVID. Horse de-wormers (Ivermectin) and anti-malarial agents (Hydroxychloroquine) have been proven not to work and are not offered at ANY hospitals in Western Washington.

As of this writing, 57% of those eligible in Island County have been vaccinated. If you’re in that 43%, we urge you to look at the real data and speak with your doctor. The sooner Whidbey Island is vaccinated, the sooner we’ll be back to “normal.”

Nicholas Perera, MD, FACEP

WhidbeyHealth Emergency Department medical director

Dr. Nicholas Perera, medical director for the WhidbeyHealth Emergency Department, provides emergency care for any urgent and unforeseen medical problem. He has been named a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, which indicates an exceptionally high level of education, training, qualifications, and conduct.