Dear RVU Family:
Good news arrived Monday, August 23, when the FDA announced full approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people age 16 and older. This vaccine will now be marketed under the name Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee). This FDA approval is a milestone in fighting the pandemic and we hope this approval will instill confidence in the safety and efficacy of this vaccine in preventing hospitalization, morbidity and mortality.
More infectious variants are of increasing concern. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly across the United States, hitting unvaccinated individuals especially hard and pushing health care systems and providers to the brink in many areas. The recurring stress on our health care system is of great concern. As the majority of persons reading this email are either directly or indirectly working to benefit our regional and national medical communities, we should all be concerned about the impact of COVID-19. Again, we hope that the latest news regarding the FDA full approval for the Pfizer vaccine will cause those hesitant to receive the vaccination while under emergency authorization to now be vaccinated. The more persons vaccinated against COVID-19, the more chance we have to combat this deadly virus and its effects on our lives and livelihoods. Because of the distribution requirements of Comirnaty, this vaccine will not be available on campus, but is widely available at most Walgreens, Safeways and other pharmacies. In Utah these are also provided at the Southwest Public Health Department.
Of additional concern are other viruses that increase morbidity and mortality. Influenza season is starting early this year, with activity already reported in the US. The CDC and Rocky Vista University are recommending vaccination against influenza. To facilitate immunization, the flu vaccine will be available at both campuses beginning next month.
An additional caution for those of you with children or respiratory disorders: RSV is being reported in our communities. This virus can cause extreme respiratory distress, morbidity and death. Please be extra cautious when you are in a crowd or among others with respiratory symptoms - not every fever or cough is COVID-19!
We encourage you to pay close attention to your health care and personal safety. Please continue to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing when possible. The CRT remains cautious but optimistic that there is a way to end the pandemic and to return to a new normal. We appreciate your continued support and ask that you help us in encouraging your loved ones, neighbors and community members to consider COVID vaccination if they haven’t already done so and to practice additional safety measures.
The COVID-19 Response Team