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Help Protect Yourself and Others

Getting vaccinated isn’t just about helping to protect yourself—it’s about helping to protect the most vulnerable around us. It is about helping to protect your grandparents, your pregnant spouse, your coworker’s newborn baby, or your neighbor being treated for cancer. The elderly, people who are immunocompromised, infants and pregnant people, and other vulnerable individuals are relying on others to help protect them. People who are vaccinated are less likely to become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and spread it to others, including the most vulnerable individuals in our communities.

Importance of Staying Up to Date

With some vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccines, immunity begins to wear off after a period of time. That’s why it’s important to stay up to date and maintain your protection against the virus. Additional updated COVID-19 vaccine doses can help restore protection that has decreased since previous vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group. Staying up to date with recommended vaccinations can help keep you protected against COVID-19.

Immunocompromised Individuals

Immunocompromised Individuals According to the CDC, immunocompromised individuals are at especially high risk for catching and becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. People can be moderately or severely immunocompromised (have weakened immune systems) due to several conditions or treatments like:

  • Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Having received an organ transplant and taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Having received chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy (a treatment to help your immune system attach to and kill cancer cells) or having received a stem cell transplant
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (ex: DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott- Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Receiving treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response

In some cases, healthcare providers for immunocompromised individuals will recommend that they receive additional doses of the vaccine. It is especially important for immunocompromised individuals to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, receive a COVID-19 medication (if eligible), and follow preventive measures.

Racial Disparity

The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportional impact on communities of color. This appears to be due, in part, to the fact that people of color are overrepresented in frontline essential jobs, and these communities have relatively high rates of risk factors that can make COVID-19 worse, such as diabetes.

Further evidence points to the systematically entrenched disadvantages (social, economic, and political) experienced by racial minority groups in Western countries. These disadvantages have caused inequalities and inequities in access to health care and poorer health outcomes.

How can we ensure racial equity in COVID-19 treatment as we move forward in our journey? We must be vigilant in delivering equitable COVID-19 treatment to historically disadvantaged populations, including access to vaccines. Some of the guiding principles of the CDC COVID-19 Response Health Equity Strategy include:

  • Reduce health disparities
  • Use data-driven approaches
  • Foster meaningful engagement with community institutions and diverse leaders
  • Lead culturally responsive outreach
  • Reduce stigma, including stigma associated with race and ethnicity
READ A Personal story of racial disparity

Cynthia is a 37-year-old marketing specialist turned long COVID advocate & Co-Founder of BIPOC Equity Agency. Read about how medical racism drove her to become a champion of the COVID-19 Long Haulers Act.

The Global Scale

Because we live in a world where travel and commerce between countries is common, it's important to take precautions to stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 on a global scale. This will require protecting the elderly and other vulnerable populations, as well as providing equitable access to vaccines and treatment for people in low- and middle-income countries. To protect ourselves and each other, EVERYONE must do their part.

Action Plan Recommendation

We’re all doing our best to avoid getting sick with COVID-19. But should it happen, what would you do? Do you and your family have an action plan in place? Here are some helpful steps to take if you think you may have COVID-19:

Test right away

1. Get tested as directed:
According to the CDC, if you were exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, wait at least 5 full days after your exposure before testing. If you test too early, you may be more likely to get an inaccurate result. If you have symptoms, you should test immediately. You can find the CDC's full list of testing recommendations here:

Get tested right away

2. Isolate at the first sign of symptoms:
If you suspect you have COVID-19, self-isolate immediately, rather than waiting for the test results to come back. Don’t risk the chance of infecting others until you know for sure.

Quarantine as best you can

3. Quarantine as best you can:
Isolate for as long as recommended by the CDC. People who live in households with other people should do their best to remain in separate spaces. If you are sick and must be around other people, make sure to wear an N95 or equivalent face mask.

Mask up wash up

4. Mask up, wash up:
Face masks are a tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Regular handwashing can help avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs. If you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) for ten days following exposure, any time you are around others inside your home or indoors in public. Practicing these precautions may help prevent infections.

Consider all treatment options

5. treatment options:
Be sure to speak with your health care provider and educate yourself so you can make decisions on COVID-19 treatment options that are best for you and your loved ones. You can find more information in the National Institute of Health’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines: