Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Selections from last week's #COVIDtweets

I've had limited time for blogging for the past several weeks, as I've been working on some academic projects and spending more time on Twitter promoting COVID-19 vaccination in everyone aged 12 years and older (#ThisIsOurShot) and debunking misinformation and disinformation posted by "antivaxxers." As a family and public health physician, it is enormously frustrating to watch the U.S. squander its early advantages in vaccine distribution as other countries that started later have surpassed us in the percentages of their populations that have been fully vaccinated. Although the vaccines have already prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S., we are still losing 1,500 overwhelmingly unvaccinated persons to the virus every day, and nearly all of these deaths - unlike during the "third wave" in December and January - were avoidable. Online influencers who stoke distrust of government and public health institutions are largely responsible for prolonging this ongoing tragedy. Unfortunately, some of these people are practicing physicians who have flaunted the ethical standards of our profession by refusing to get vaccinated themselves.

As you might imagine, this tweet generated a wide spectrum of responses. Perhaps my favorite was the one that accused me of being "militant," which I won't disagree with, since the U.S. Department of Defense has mandated COVID-19 vaccination for all active military service members.

Here is a selection of other recent tweets that didn't go quite as viral, but represent my deeply held scientific and religious views on this topic.

“If you insist on refusing the vaccine, that is your right. But please do not bring God into it.” Well said from a fellow Christian. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/06/opinion/religious-exemptions-vaccine-mandates.html 

Declining to vaccinate your adolescent against COVID-19 because “kids usually have mild illness” and you worry about vaccine side effects is like not buckling your seat belt b/c you worry about seat belt injury in a car accident.

I am sick and tired of seeing so many who should know better sacrificing their vulnerable neighbors, elders, and children on the altar of their delusion that the vaccine is worse than the disease. #COVID19 #GetVaccinatedNow

If all employers followed @NFL's example, our current 75% vaccinated rate could rise to their 93% (or even beyond) in a hurry. #GetVaccinatedNow #CarrotsAndSticks

I don't have a crystal ball, so I don't know when the off-ramp for masks in schools and indoor public places will arrive. But I do know it will continue to move farther away the longer people refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated to protect each other. #COVID19

Submitted my proof of COVID-19 vaccination to @MedStarHealth (employer) and @_DCHealth today. Thanks for requiring me and local health professionals to keep their colleagues and patients safe by reducing their risk of contracting / spreading SARS-CoV-2! #COVIDVaccineMandate

Any person of faith should understand that #freedom is not the same thing as "I can and should do anything I want regardless of how it may affect others." In fact, it's just the opposite. #COVIDthoughts

Science: a randomized controlled trial of 350,000 people showed that encouraging mask wearing prevents COVID-19 spread. Florida: we are taking away your school district’s funding for making people wear masks. Man shrugging

Worried about myocarditis if you let your 12-15 y/o get the Pfizer vaccine? In @AmerAcadPeds study, children <16 y/o were 37 times more likely to develop myocarditis if COVID infected than if not. Risks/ benefits not even close! #GetVaccinatedNow

A reminder that "having preexisting conditions" or "living in a nursing home" DOES NOT mean "would have died soon anyway." #BadCOVIDTakes #ProtectTheVulnerable #GetVaccinated

As we study the value of infection vs. vaccine-mediated immunity to SARS-CoV-2, a reminder that "developing immunity to COVID" is not a goal in itself (if it was, we'd just hold huge parties, infect everyone, ignore the resulting morbidity & mortality). (1/2)

Rather, the goal is for the fewest # of people to get seriously ill or die from COVID-19. The safest way to do that is through widespread vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and unlike the virus, don't expose people to the risk of intubation, ICU, and death. (2/2)