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Vaccines Bring Hope and Promise for the New Year

Think back, if you can, to last New Year’s Eve. 2020 was just on the horizon — bringing with it, as most new years do, hope and promise.

And for a very short time, it seemed like 2020 would be just like any other year. Then March came and, seemingly overnight, the state ground to a halt. By April, it appeared the state had “flattened the curve” on infections. At that time, it would have been hard for any of us to imagine that nearly a year later we’d still be struggling to contain it.

Your hospitals and health care employees have endured so much throughout this past year. For the better part of a year, the men and women of California’s hospitals — all 500,000 of them — have woken up every day, left their families, and arrived at your hospitals to care for and cure, fight for and touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients during this pandemic.

Because of their dedication and devotion, last week, the CHA Board of Trustees gave its Award of Merit to the COVID-19 Caregivers. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the health care community and is only given when the occasion arises. And with another surge predicted post-Christmas, it appears that we might be dealing with this virus for just a bit longer.

But despite all the ups and downs 2020 has brought, we end this year much like we began it – with hope and promise. The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine have made their way to hospitals, giving us all much reason to be excited. The first health care workers started receiving their doses last week, and a federal advisory panel has recommended that people 75 and older, as well as essential workers like firefighters, teachers, and grocery store employees, should be next in line.

Although doses of the Pfizer vaccine have come out slower than earlier projections, the Moderna vaccine received the FDA’s emergency use authorization last week and initial doses are arriving at hospitals. With predictions indicating that hospitalizations may not decrease until mid-February and perhaps beyond, the vaccines could not have come at a better time.

Though we are not out of the woods yet, there is reason to believe that we are at the beginning of the end of this pandemic. Hopefully, by this time next year, we’ll have one more reason to celebrate.

From our Hospital Council family to yours, wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.