The following statement was issued by a coalition of healthcare leaders within the commonwealth:
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been diminished to some degree, thanks to effective preventive measures and vaccines, as physicians, medical professionals, and leaders in public health, we are concerned that many in our communities have prematurely declared victory over the virus.
“The progress we have made by working together is encouraging, but with an average of more than 350 Americans per day losing their lives to the disease and a concerning recent increase in several key metrics, it is time for all of us to renew our shared commitment to reducing the severity of the next surge and preventing unnecessary illness, death, and interruption to our everyday lives.
“Cold and flu season is here, and it is imperative that all who are eligible get a COVID-19 booster and a flu shot. Providers can offer both vaccines at the same time, which is safe and does not affect the efficacy of either vaccine.
“Our health care system is already strained by extreme capacity challenges, severe workforce shortages and an emergency department boarding crisis. We must make every effort to mitigate the impact of anticipated surges in COVID-19, especially during cold and flu season, to not further stress our hospitals and health care system. Such pressure will delay access to care, which may be life-threatening for acute services.
“We ask you – our patients and our communities – to understand that we are still caring for people who become severely ill and who die because of COVID-19. Please take proper precautions in limiting your exposure to COVID-19, know your level of risk and the risk of those closest to you should you contract the disease, and speak with your health care provider as soon as possible about getting up to date on your COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. This is a difficult time for the health care system, but you can help by taking this small action for you and your loved ones, your community members, and caregivers.”
Dr. Theodore A. Calianos, President, Massachusetts Medical Society
Patricia M. Noga, Vice President, Clinical Affairs, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association
Dr. Emily Chin, President Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians
Dr. Mary Beth Miotto, President, Massachusetts Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Dr. Sandhya K. Rao, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Health & Medical Management, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Michael Curry, President & CEO, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
Lora Pellegrini, President & CEO, Massachusetts Association of Health Plans