A year ago, our hospitals were besieged with patients suffering from a severe respiratory illness known as COVID-19. Those early days were chaotic and intense both for patients and the healthcare workers who tended to those patients. Many lives were saved, many lives were lost.
But now, just a year later, our country has three good, safe, and effective vaccines that all protect against severe illness and death. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rigorously studied each one, and it is truly a testament to our nation’s brilliant scientists and public health experts that these life-saving vaccines were developed and tested in less than a year. It is a remarkable feat, and we are all beneficiaries of this extraordinary behind-the-scenes work.
The distribution of vaccines has been no less remarkable, even as demand outpaced supply. However, that situation is looking better each day. Our hospital associations have been working with the state’s Regional Vaccination Networks, known as HUBs, and their partners – hospitals, local county health departments, and federally-qualified health centers – to get a shot in as many arms as possible. We have all payed particular attention to individuals of color who were and continue to be disproportionately susceptible to COVID-19. Our regions, along with the state, have made vaccinating this group a priority from the start. Northwell Health serves as the HUB for the Long Island region and the Westchester Medical Center serves as the HUB for the Hudson Valley region.
We are all anxious to return to normal, both in our personal and professional lives. The vaccine is our opportunity to do that. But we need everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to roll up their sleeve and take a shot not only to protect themselves, but to protect everyone else as well. This is what is meant by the term “Herd Immunity.” Herd immunity is reached when a significant percent of the population – about 80 percent – has received a vaccine and/or has become immune to an infectious disease because of exposure. This widespread immunity means susceptible individuals are much less likely to come into contact with an infected person.
Have you herd? Immunity is the word!
This is the focus of a COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign spearheaded by the Suburban Hospital Alliance on behalf of its member hospitals and the thousands of patients they serve. The greater the number of vaccinated means the sooner we can return to our normal lives and the sooner our local economies can recover. And a healthier community leads to healthier hospitals because this highly contagious, infectious disease is kept at bay, allowing hospital staff to function under less stress and strain.
Get Your Questions Answered
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a good place to start to learn more about COVID-19, the vaccines and eligibility. The Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative also just launched their “It’s Up to You” campaign about COVID vaccination. It’s an easy-to-navigate site packed with straight forward information and answers. Visit GetVaccineAnswers.org (DeTiDepende.org in Spanish) and get your questions answered now so you can make an informed decision about the vaccine when it’s your turn.
Our region’s hospitals urge you to get vaccinated as soon as you can. While the individual decision to get vaccinated might seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of herd immunity, the impact of your individual choice is significant and widespread. Get vaccinated and be part of the movement to end COVID-19.
About the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State
The Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State advocates on behalf of hospitals in the Hudson Valley and Long Island regions. It engages key lawmakers and regulatory decision-makers in Albany and Washington to ensure reasonable and rational health care policy prevails.
The Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council represents the not-for-profit and public hospitals on Long Island. It works in conjunction with the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State to advance legislative and regulatory priorities. NSHC serves as the local and collective voice of hospitals on Long Island.
The Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association represents the not-for-profit and public hospitals in the Hudson Valley region. It works in conjunction with the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State to advance legislative and regulatory priorities. NorMet serves as the local and collective voice of hospitals in the Hudson Valley.