Drs. Tam and Chasanov: How Our Community Can Have a Fun, Safe Memorial Day and Summer
By Dr. David Tam and Dr. Bill Chasanov
The most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for individuals who have been fully vaccinated provides a well-earned sense of relief for many after 15 months.
Fully vaccinated means two weeks after your dose of Johnson & Johnson or two weeks after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
However, there isn’t a crystal ball for every scenario of our day-to-day lives, so we’ll try and provide you the resources you need as we continue to return to normal – because that’s what Beebe Healthcare is here to do for this community, its visitors, and its workers.
When Do I Still Need to Wear a Mask?
For fully vaccinated individuals, the CDC says we should still wear masks in crowded settings, including on public transit, planes, in schools, healthcare facilities, and congregate settings like prison facilities and homeless shelters. Gov. John Carney recently announced this change to masking guidelines goes into effect on Friday, May 21 in Delaware.
So please continue to wear a face covering when you come in for your routine primary care visit, or to get blood work, or when you visit any Beebe Healthcare location. Our team will still be masked for your safety.
One of the main drivers of this guidance change is that data shows these vaccines are safe and show real-world effectiveness. It is still important to continue to monitor for any COVID-like symptoms. If you’re not feeling well, you should wear a mask and get tested. Having that knowledge empowers you to protect others and yourself.
Lastly, some of us may have a weakened immune system or take medications that suppresses the immune system. You should talk to your healthcare providers as it may be best for you to continue wearing a mask in certain situations.
Why Is This Still Important?
There are ongoing things epidemiologists are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. More data needs to be collected until it is fully understood how effective vaccines are against variants of the virus. Early data shows the vaccines work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
Additionally, the science community does not know yet how long the vaccines can protect people, and how well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems. This includes those who take immunosuppressive medications, according to the CDC.
So, I Don’t Need a Mask, How Can I Still Keep Myself and Everyone Safe?
As it has been important since the start of the pandemic, testing is a crucial aspect to understand virus spread and now vaccine effectiveness.
Beebe now offers rapid antigen COVID-19 testing at our Walk-In Care locations conveniently located in Rehoboth, Millville, Millsboro, and Georgetown.
You can schedule these appointments ahead of time online, too, making the process even easier. Learn more at www.beebehealthcare.org/online-scheduling. Maybe you’re getting ready to leave on vacation, or feeling unwell, or plan to see someone who is more vulnerable to COVID-19, now you can find out quickly if you are infected and take steps to protect yourself and others.
Getting Your Vaccine is Easier than Ever
Just like scheduling a Walk-In Care visit, rapid test, or virtual telemedicine visit, Beebe has availability for COVID-19 vaccinations through the online scheduling portal. You pick the time and location nearest you. We are able to provide Pfizer vaccines to ages 12 and up.
Or, stop by the Bookmobile Vaccine Clinic, which is traveling throughout lower Delaware to provide vaccines where you are. This mobile vaccine clinic is a great example of community partnerships and is made possible by Beebe Healthcare, Sussex County Libraries, and Sussex County EMS to provide vaccines on the road. Learn where the Bookmobile will be online: www.beebehealthcare.org/calendar/screeningclinic.
And, if you are still not sure, that’s OK, too. While the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness, it is OK to have questions about it.
There are many resources throughout Delaware that can help. Check out the Division of Public Health’s website or Beebe’s vaccine webpage. Or, just call our COVID line, 302-645-3200, and we’ll answer your questions and concerns.
Here for Your Health
Beebe is here for Sussex County. We’ve added more than 55 providers since the start of the pandemic to improve access to care. Last year, we opened the South Coastal Health Campus on Route 17 near Millville, which features a second comprehensive cancer center and emergency department.
We’ve provided more than 55,000 COVID-19 tests and 40,000 vaccines and counting to Sussex County. We’re ready to do more until we can call this pandemic fully over.
We thank you for the privilege of serving you and we feel your gratitude, too. We were honored to be named 2020 Business of the Year by the Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce. Many of our team members still wear masks made by our local sewing community. Our patients have expressed gratitude through articles, gifts, and letters, and our donors continue to believe in Beebe.
All of this makes it our honor to be the healthcare provider for Sussex County. So, thank you, and let’s keeping doing what keeps everyone safe and loving life in our little part of Southern Delaware.
-David and Bill