The Vaccine: Our Ticket Out of COVID-19

By Joel Amidon, M.D.

Residents in our Loretto facilities, and in communities across Central New York and the nation, are finally getting closer to life as we know it pre-COVID-19.

According to the CDC and local health experts, the COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to protect older adults from potential exposure to infections and build immunity against the virus.

Mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing and practicing other safety protocols are still important and encouraged. But unless a large percentage of the population is vaccinated and protected, we will remain in this pandemic longer than if immunizations are wide spread.

To put it simply: the more shots in arms, the sooner our lives can return to a pre-COVID-19 normal.

At Loretto, over 85% of residents across our facilities have been vaccinated. This high vaccination rate was reached in early February, just two short months after the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, almost half of all Loretto staff members half already received the vaccine through the “Shot of Hope” initiative, and more employees continue to sign up for additional vaccine clinics.

I have full confidence in the vaccines. In fact, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have already demonstrated significant benefits in our community, and until we have real control of this pandemic, the vaccine is our best bet to transfer things back to normal.

Betty Lillie, who is 95 years old and was the first Loretto resident to receive the vaccine, said she did it because she wants her life to return to normal and be reunited with her families and loved ones.

Anyone with questions about the vaccine should seek out trustworthy sources like the CDC website and the Department of Health.

Physician Joel Amidon is Loretto’s medical director.

Photo: Betty Lillie, who is 95 years old, was the first Loretto resident to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.