When I talk to my patients about getting vaccinated, the first thing I ask about is their concern, and I try to address that. Mostly, my patients want to do what’s best for their health, however, with so much misinformation out there, they are often unsure what to believe. I’ll first point out that hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated here in the US and that the risk of complication is actually far, far less than the overall risk of getting struck by lightning or being injured in a car accident.
Then I’ll talk about the fact that we have COVID-19 right here in Anacortes and that Island Hospital has seen more COVID cases since the beginning of August 2021 than any other time in the pandemic. The only way to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated.
As a physician who cares for hospitalized patients, I can attest that the majority of patients who are sick enough with COVID to be admitted to the hospital, and to the ICU, are the unvaccinated (93%). Yes, it’s true, vaccinated people can get COVID too, but the vaccination helps lessen COVID symptoms into something even less serious than Influenza. Influenza, I remind patients, infects millions of people each year, and tens of thousands die from it, so it’s not something to ignore. But clearly, vaccinated people are protected from COVID’s serious illness risks.
Sometimes patients have concerns about the new mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), so I point out that this technology was actually developed more than 20 years ago and was advanced by the urgency of the pandemic. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a different, older vaccine technology and an option if they are still concerned about the mRNA.
I also let my patients know that I’ve received the Moderna vaccine and discuss my experience getting it. I point out that my entire family is vaccinated, including my daughter who contracted COVID, had minor symptoms, but got vaccinated as soon as she recovered.
Finally, I talk about how if we’re going to get back to “normal”, we need to stop the spread of COVID, and that means getting more people vaccinated.
John Mathis, MD is a physician at Fidalgo Medical Associates. He received his medical degree from the University of Utah and completed his residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1995, Mathis is professionally interested in the areas of pulmonology, cardiology and critical care. “I’ve come to I appreciate the long-term relationships that primary care internal medicine provides. I greatly value the opportunity to participate in people’s healthcare overtime, assisting them as they navigate the issues that inevitably arise as we age. My goal in managing people’s healthcare is to help them live the longest, fullest life possible.”
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mathis, please call (360) 293-3101.