The Perfect Enemy | The COVID Bivalent Booster- The Ultimate Christmas Gift For Your Loved Ones
December 6, 2022
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According to CDC data, nearly 23 million Americans have obtained the Bivalent COVID booster vaccine, representing only 7.3% of those qualified to actually receive the booster. This specific vaccine targets not only the original strain of the virus that was isolated in Wuhan, China back in 2019, but also the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants that are responsible for the majority of disease and infection currently in the United States. Despite being available since early September, a Kaiser survey showed that 20% of adults have not even heard of this specific booster, and were not aware that this was available to the public.

This data is troubling when considering our vulnerable population, meaning those who are immunocompromised and most susceptible to becoming infected, hospitalized, and even dying. These patients account for 12% of all adult COVID hospitalizations and are at increased risk of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions and death compared to those that are not immunocompromised according to reports from AstraZeneca.

Who comprises the immunocompromised population and why is it that they are more susceptible to infection? The answer may surprise you. Those who are immunocompromised do not have the ability to optimally fight off an infection when getting sick. In addition, even if they have been fully vaccinated and boosted, their bodies may not develop the appropriate antibodies necessary to fight off COVID if they were to get infected. In other words, the vaccine may not be completely effective in these individuals. Immunocompromised individuals include those who may be taking steroids as medications for other illnesses, those with cancer who are on chemotherapy or radiation therapy, those with chronic diseases such as Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and those who have received an organ transplant. Chances are you probably have a family member, relative, co-worker, or friend that is immunocompromised. It is certainly more common than we may expect.

Why is this important? A young healthy adult may get infected by the COVID virus and show minimal to no symptoms. However, they may then go on to infect an immunocompromised patient, perhaps one of your loved ones, who then may not be able to mount an appropriate response to fight the infection and may then need to be hospitalized. The best way to mitigate this and prevent such events is through vaccination. According to CDC data, unvaccinated individuals are at least 13.9 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 compared to those fully vaccinated and boosted. The more individuals that continue to get vaccinated, the less likely they are to get infected and the less likely it is that disease will be passed on to our vulnerable patients that cannot adequately fight the infection.

Getting vaccinated and boosted is not just about protecting yourself, it is about protecting our neighbors and loved ones that cannot protect themselves. This is altruism in its purest form.

We all know the many successful entrepreneurs and businessmen that generously give much of their wealth for philanthropy. Warren Buffet gifted $46.1 billion in charity, much of it to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that focuses on healthcare initiatives and fighting poverty according to reports from Forbes.com. Bill and Melinda Gates themselves have provided $5.8 billion in grants to fund research and COVID-19 vaccine development. One of the many driving forces for philanthropy revolves around uplifting others, and advancing the betterment of society.

Choosing to receive the COVID vaccine and bivalent booster should be thought of no differently. By getting vaccinated, you could literally be helping to ward off serious infection, hospitalization, and even death in countless individuals that do not have the means to protect themselves. This altruistic spirit is similar to the intentions of billionaire philanthropists in their generous donations to society. The difference- vaccination will not cost you a penny, and yet the impact may be comparable.

According to Jewish and Islamic spiritual teachings, saving one individual is the equivalent of saving all of humanity. Getting vaccinated and boosted provides an unparalleled opportunity for all of us to do our part in protecting those most vulnerable to this deadly virus that has taken the lives of so many. Scheduling your COVID bivalent booster may be the most generous and heartfelt gift you can give to your loved ones this Christmas!