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Senior Older and Wiser By June Michel

OK SENIORS, COVID IS BACK IN THE NEWS. Good news first, on Friday King County Public Health reported that 73% of seniors in King County are fully vaccinated. That is a higher percentage than any other age group. As they say on TV ads, but wait, there's more. This week is the final State covid lottery and its the biggest. The winner will take home One Million Dollars and because of our higher vaccination rate, odds are on a senior to win the million dollar lottery. That's the good news.


The bad news is that because of the Delta variant we are once again seeing higher rates of infection and hospitalizations. This week Washington hit 6,000 total deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC has said this is because there are pockets of counties for instance in eastern Washington where people are not getting vaccinated. Another problem is that some people received number one of a two-shot vaccine and have not received the second shot. These individuals are not fully vaccinated nor are they completely protected. If you received both shots you have over 82% protection. But if you received only one shot your protection dropped to just over 30%. The Delta variant of covid-19 is much easier to transmit and more virulent. But what happens if you missed your return date for your second shot? The best plan is to catch up. The second shot timing is important,

*Three weeks (21 days) apart for Pfizer-BioNTech

* Four weeks (28 days) apart for Moderna

According to the CDC you should get your second shot as soon as possible, preferably within six weeks of the first. If you are beyond six weeks contact the provider of your first shot to get back on track. The bottom line is you want to be fully protected. The Delta variant is causing deaths and closers throughout the world. You want to be immune to it.


Freedom and independence are hallmarks of the American approach to vaccinations. But we are in a pandemic. People are dying or recovering with lifelong consequences. The medical system is already strained to it's limit. With this as a backdrop and in the face of climbing Delta variant infections, the French government has instituted a mandatory vaccination policy. In Paris medical care workers must be fully vaccinated by the end of September or they cannot work in healthcare. Regarding the general public, unvaccinated individuals will be denied entry to restaurants, theaters and bars. Here again the government is attempting to give it's citizens a choice while at the same time protecting the general public. We should keep an eye on this.


Many seniors have told me "I am not giving up my mask." If you are more comfortable wearing your mask then you should wear it. Generally, we are still required to wear masks on public transport and in shops. Of course those with weakened immune systems, the extreme elderly and people with underlying health concerns will want the extra protection of wearing a mask. But life is never simple, the Delta variant is sweeping the world. The CDC does not currently believe we need a booster vaccine for the Delta variant. The University of Washington is conducting trials on a Delta variant booster. And while Delta variant infections are rising in Japan, the Olympics will be held there in a few weeks. If you feel safer wearing your mask, go right ahead and wear it. As my aunt would say, "better safe than sorry."


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