To the Editor:
The Pfizer mRNA vaccine has been authorized for use and the Moderna mRNA vaccine is in final stages of authorization of use for the prevention of COVID-19. Pfizer received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11. Moderna has provided its studies and raw data to the FDA and the decision on their use will likely be made on Dec. 17 or 18.
Over the next few months, vaccines will be available to protect those in Maine at the highest risk. Supply will be limited at first but will continually increase in the weeks and months that follow. As a community, we need to protect our population for a few more months until the vaccine coverage is adequately available for other demographics, currently expected sometime this spring.
In recent weeks, our state has seen the highest increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Responsible officials and health experts across the state continue to urge strict adherence to social distancing and masking guidelines to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus. Moreover, epidemiological data has shown that Maine is indeed experiencing widespread community transmission and any time you are breathing air shared with someone outside your household, you are risking spread. Even if you believe yourself to be low risk, you must keep in mind that many others are not.
The harsh reality is that in order to keep community transmission down, I strongly advise against having a traditional indoor holiday gathering with friends and family this year. In other words, all holiday celebrations this year need to be just with those in your household, unless you and they have quarantined and tested negative to be certain of safety. I also advise having other celebrations this year either virtually or safely distanced outdoors. By doing things differently, we can look forward to maintaining good health so that we may celebrate the holidays in-person next year with our loved ones.
Dr. Julius Krevans Jr.
MDI Hospital, infection control chairman