Published on July 26, 2021

Bracing for the Fourth Wave

covid vaccine

The fourth wave of COVID-19 is here and we in health care are bracing ourselves for things to worsen before they improve. The Delta variant is rapidly spreading and more contagious than previous COVID-19 strains. The good news is that the vaccines work well at preventing severe infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the Delta variant. The bad news is that not enough Mississippians are fully vaccinated, including the majority of adolescents and young adults.

Those who are not vaccinated are at a higher risk for catching, spreading, becoming severely ill and ultimately dying from COVID-19. Unfortunately, most of this death and disability is preventable. If you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after second dose for Pfizer or Moderna or after single dose Johnson and Johnson) you have a significantly reduced risk of infection, a more significant reduced risk of hospitalization and a more significant reduced risk of dying. Now is a good time to get vaccinated.

As we have been over the last 18 months, we in health care are here to help you. We have taken care of you through the previous surges and now are here to help you make the best decision regarding vaccinations. We’ve reviewed the science, weighed the evidence and made the personal decision to become vaccinated ourselves. We’ve worked hard over the last six months to promote vaccinations for our patients, community, family and friends. The Delta variant has added urgency to our goal of vaccinating the majority of our community.

Our efforts and your safety are complicated by coordinated and widespread misinformation from questionable sources. We ask you to please be careful with this information and carefully consider the sources of that information. Some of that information exists only to distract or serve other purposes. Misinformation is rampant and has severe consequences for families and communities. If you have concerns, questions or need more information, come to us or search for those with the training to answer your questions. You’ve trusted us thus far with your health, your family and your community.

While you are making your decision on vaccination, it is important that you practice those public health measures that we know work: wear a mask, avoid large indoor crowds, wash your hands and get tested if you develop any new symptoms. The best protection from the Delta variant comes two weeks after your last shot, so there are still weeks from your first dose where you remain at high risk. Some people, even if vaccinated, are at a high risk based on age or health condition, so should also adopt those measures that we know work.

The fourth wave is here, and much of what is to come is preventable. Please don’t delay. Have the conversations, weigh the pros and cons, make up your mind and protect yourself. We ultimately hope you will roll up your sleeves and then help others roll up their sleeves.

The good news is that the vaccines work well at preventing severe infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the Delta variant.