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Veterans Health Council, January/February 2022 -   -  

Preparing for Omicron

We need to take the Omicron surge seriously. Remember that the vaccines appear to provide protection against what matters most: severe COVID illnesses. The news in early January, both scientific studies and real-world data, has added to the evidence that Omicron is more contagious than any previous version of the COVID-19 virus.

Unvaccinated adults are at even greater risk than they were in December, and about 15 percent of American adults remain unvaccinated. This large number of unvaccinated adults means that Omicron has caused spikes in COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. It is extremely urgent for unvaccinated adults to start a vaccine series as soon as possible.

There are some vaccinated people for whom any COVID case remains a threat. Those whose health is already vulnerable (including many veterans who have co-morbid conditions)—including the elderly, people undergoing cancer treatments, and those who have received organ transplants—can become extremely ill from COVID. Their bodies are weak; any infection can cause major problems. I encourage you to get your vaccines and the booster.

VVA held its Board of Directors Meeting in Maryland on January 13-15. Due to the pandemic, VVA focused on creating a safe experience for all attendees. Knowing that the coronavirus—especially the Omicron variant—is highly contagious, all guidelines mandated by the State of Maryland, Montgomery County, and the Doubletree Hotel were followed. In addition, each attendee signed a COVID-19 Statement of Understanding and Agreement.

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., National President Tamra Sipes performed COVID-19 screening and testing (when necessary) on more than one hundred attendees. VVA National President Jack McManus and I thanked her for her professionalism and for helping to ensure that the event was safe.





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