Vaccination is still “our best shot”.

by Brian McSheffrey, Saskatoon Council on Aging Board Member and former physician

COVID-19 Vaccination

I am writing as a member of the board and a former physician. Our province has the highest or near highest rates of infection and deaths in Canada. Older people are uniquely susceptible to COVID. The message people are getting is mixed. It’s hard to tell what Public Health advice is given to decision makers. Never-the-less there are some precautions that would be prudent for older people.

Nothing is proof against COVID and its consequences. This includes vaccination. A recent prominent example is the death of General Colin Powell of the United States of COVID at age 84 who was doubly vaccinated and had a serious co-morbidity, Multiple Myeloma.

Saskatchewan has the highest death rate from COVID in the country at the present time. In Sept 2021 there were 28 deaths in Saskatchewan from COVID in double vaccinated people, 26 of these were in people > 70. However, vaccination is still “our best shot”.

We, the oldsters, are more susceptible to severe illness and death because:
a. Immunity wanes with age and the decrease accelerates in older people.
b. Older individuals are more prone to complicating illnesses (co-morbidities) increasing susceptibility to COVID.
c. Frailty increases with age making some treatments such as intubation unfeasible.
d. Like it or not, age is a consideration in allocation of scarce resources.

It would be prudent for an older person to:
a. Get vaccinated at soon as the criteria for age permits. Third or booster doses are now available 6 months after the second shot.
b. Wear a mask if there is a possibility of contact with anyone outside their immediate family or usual contacts.
c. Avoid large indoor gatherings especially if vaccination and masking are not enforced.

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