We now prepare for our transitions to another new year, 2021, and reflect on 2020, a year that has challenged all of us to stay well, safe, and isolate. These demands have been very difficult, at the same time, new methods of staying close and connected to family and friends required us to learn new skills that integrated technology as an integral part of our lives.
We all know that the strategies to continue to reduce spread of the COVID -19 virus will continue into the new year – wearing our masks, maintaining social distances, and washing our hands. At the same time, hope is now here – the COVID-19 vaccine! I am confident by the time that you read my message, that you will have viewed news coverage of many individuals, particularly nurses, doctors, other members of health care organizations, receiving their vaccinations and the smiles on their faces of relief – to know that this vaccine will help keep them safe from the virus and from spreading the disease to their families, friends and patients.
We are all amazed to have a vaccine of this importance, available on the magnitude needed around the world, fast-tracked into initial production. This feat of scientific discovery, technology advancement, clinical testing and mass-transit transportation is extraordinary. We are witnessing history! This is the Shot In the Arm that we have all hoped for!
Indelible forever in my memory, which I hope you witnessed, occurred on December 8th.
Ms. Maggie Keenan, 90 years of age, one week before her 91st birthday, was the first person in the United Kingdom to become vaccinated at her local hospital in Coventry, England. Wearing her mask, Ms. Maggie Keenan was cheered on as she was vaccinated by her nurse, after which she gave a thumbs-up for all to see. She stated “I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.” (Landmark moment as first NHS patient receives COVID-19 vaccination. December, 8, 2020) available here. Her message to others, to you, was to “go for it”. She spoke on TV to doubters – “if I can do it, well, so can you”.
On this same day, the second person vaccinated was Mr. William Shakespeare, 83 years of age. Mr. Shakespeare was vaccinated in the University Hospital also in Coventry, England. He too spoke of hope and encouragement to all, saying it was “groundbreaking” for him to be getting one. Additionally, he said “it could make a difference to our lives from now on, couldn’t it?… It’s started changing our lives and our lifestyle”.
You can view both their videos here.
Their words, followed by the many healthcare professionals now vaccinated, verifies their purpose of being the first among many to be vaccinated – they want to show everyone that the vaccine is safe, encourage to people to trust the science, and push for people to get vaccinated. Those persons with the highest risk, particularly the elderly, are prioritized for vaccination. Instead of listening to numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, which we have listened to over this year, we are now seeing number of persons vaccinated. This is such great news!
In our country, COVID-19 is now the leading case of death. This statistic is going to change over time now that the vaccine is becoming available and people are getting vaccinated. As I have shared in past messages, for adults 85 and older, falls in the leading cause of unintentional injury death. The interventions to reduce falls and protect you from injury are complex and requires a team approach, as you receive with your Harmony Team and Fall Prevention Program. In contrast, your ability to be protected from this virus is simpler. You can simply continue to wear your mask, maintain social distancing, wash your hands and get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is made available to you!
I join Ms. Keenan, Mr. Shakespeare, in encouraging you to be protective, on your behalf and your loving family and friends. Be the positive example for others, your family and your friends.
Your Harmony Team wants this smile on your face.
Wishing you good health and wellness this New Year, 2021,