Over the past few months, we’ve celebrated the vaccination of over 100 million Americans against COVID-19. At the same time, we’ve seen worrying indications that young adults like ourselves are letting down our guard too early. In fact, the latest surge in COVID-19 cases is being driven largely by younger people; concerningly, hospital wards in states like Pennsylvania and Florida are starting to ...

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VIPIT is the medical term given to the phenomenon of developing clots in various parts of the body after certain (not all) COVID-19 vaccines. VIPIT stands for vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia, a complicated term explained simply as clotting of the thrombocytes or platelet cells in the blood vessels after receiving the COVID vaccine. Clearly, understanding this newly evolving condition is very limited, but what we know so far is extremely concerning. ...

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What is stress? Stress is a bodily response to external pressures. It's an emotional state that we go through when dealing with difficult situations, and it can have a major impact on our health. When faced with work deadlines, family problems, and other daily stresses, our bodies release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream. These chemicals can lead to high blood pressure or weaken the immune system ...

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"As a Black physician, I urge you to consider taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you. Vaccines save lives. Preventing poor outcomes, as in death, is an exciting effect of this vaccine.  I will be first in line when it is offered to me, and I hope to see ...

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"Just a few seconds after the needle penetrated my arm, I felt a mild soreness, kind of like a flu shot. But as I sat for the required 15 minutes of observation time, a wave of something engulfed my body. It was such a strange, unfamiliar sensation that I didn’t realize what ...

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For the past year, we have been inundated with statistics about the impact of COVID-19 on our lives. Reports of daily case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths are so pervasive that they have become routine fodder for  “water cooler”  and dinner table conversations. Several early studies, looking at the pandemic's secondary health implications, give us an inkling of just how broad and deep its impact has been. Mental health Perhaps the most visible ...

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She frowned at me, as she stepped off her truck's side-rail and onto the pavement. If her mask had not been tightly pulling up from under the woman's chin, it would have been harder to see her disgust with not just our vaccination event, but even with the volunteers, themselves. "You know, it's just like a concentration camp here." I looked at the Sikh doctor working with me, then at the three ...

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Emily Watters is a physician who explains the side effects of the mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) and viral-vector (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines (click to enlarge): Emily Watters is a psychiatrist and can be reached at The Cartoon Shrink. Image credits: Emily Watters

As a general surgeon, being called into the emergency room to perform a bedside procedure is par for the course. After gathering the standard list of supplies, I ran through another checklist before entering the room of a recent patient. N95, surgical mask on top, eye protection, impervious gown, gloves. Since my patient was COVID positive, I double-checked everything before I unzipped the isolation barrier to enter her ...

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After entering Gate D at Fenway Park, John had his temperature taken and verified that he was symptom-free. As he rounded the corner, his friend heard him whisper through his mask, “I think this is real.” He was referring to the calming sounds of a string trio emanating from the concourse, next to the FIELD BOX 54-70 sign. Vaccine day was finally ...

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In early 2020 the COVID-19 virus descended upon all of us in the U.S. No longer something we would anxiously read about in the news from outside our shores, this new public health dilemma had touched down close to home.  Before long, the WHO would proclaim it to be a worldwide global viral pandemic, emphasizing the magnitude of the problem and the urgent need for all nations to work in concert ...

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People who say, “I’ve recovered from COVID-19, what’s the big deal?” are wrong. I have lived with long-term disability stemming from acute infectious illnesses like COVID-19 and polio. One winter when I was 17, I was struck with a relentless flu. I “recovered,” yet when spring came, a relative observed how my legs were different sizes. I went for medical testing even though I had no notable symptoms. I learned ...

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It has been over a year now since shelter-in-place orders struck fear into many, forced millions into unemployment, and taught us all the meaning of the term “supply chain.” It didn’t take long before the chants of “flatten the curve” and “support our health care heroes” dissipated. Once more was known, many industries figured out to cope safely while others just decided to cope unsafely. The government stepped ...

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“Everyday, there is a theme to our rounds, and I will ask for your thoughts at the end.” This was the warning our attending physician gave before we went to see our patients on the hospital inpatient floor. As third-year medical students on our first clinical rotation in pediatrics, we were eager to face any challenges that would come our way. After months of isolation studying for our first board exams, ...

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This version of "My Shot" was written and recorded by an anesthesiologist, Bryan Tischenkel, MD, to raise awareness for the COVID-19 vaccine. He wanted to show the public the confidence with which many health care workers are receiving their vaccinations daily. We all believe in the science behind vaccination. Each patient should speak to their physician about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Never have I ever had to rely on my communication skills as much as I have as a physician in the pandemic of 2020. My eyes, however, were not taught those skills. There are pillars in medicine, communication guidelines, and lessons in empathy -- all things we learn in our training. I can’t say that I had a strong foundation in communication skills as a medical student, but I learned ...

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Leanne, a nurse, sits next to me in the ICU. She says into the phone, “Now, Johnny, you be good for Nana.” We’re only halfway through another 12-hour shift, and she won’t be home until after her 5-year-old son is ready for bed. Such calls to palliate separation have long been part of the fabric of health care families’ lives. But the pandemic has magnified the frequency and pain of these absences. Much ...

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Before COVID-19, clinical research was a little-known part of health care. Despite this process being responsible for determining the safety and efficacy of all the drugs, medical devices, vaccines, and other medical therapies available, less than 5 percent of the U.S. population actually participates in clinical research. One reason why clinical research has little awareness and even lower participation is that, unlike other major industries, the pharmaceutical industry and many regulatory ...

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The COVID-19 pandemic represents the single most disruptive health crisis of the past 100 years. It has disrupted basic, taken-for-granted societal routines, which subsequently has prompted dynamic changes in our behavior. The ramifications of these disruptions have yet to be fully quantified. But, suffice to say, a lot of people died in 2020 because of the pandemic—and not all of them had COVID-19. In 2020, and now moving deeper into 2021, ...

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Imagine that you’re a physician in the middle of the global pandemic. The life-saving vaccine has just come out, and your job includes administration of the vaccine. At the end of your day, you have 10 extra vaccine doses in an opened vial that will need to be discarded if not used. You know there are not enough vaccines available yet to vaccinate everyone who needs this vaccine as soon ...

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