Univ. of Iowa Hospitals hold Q&A, answering community member questions on COVID-19 and vaccines

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:46 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Community members got the chance to have their questions on COIVD-19 and vaccines answered by health professionals during a Facebook live hosted by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Friday.

One of the biggest things Dr. Dan Diekema and Dr. Patricia Winokur stressed during this Q & A was continuing to take precautions during this omicron surge.

Dr. Diekema said in Johnson county we’re seeing more cases than ever before in the pandemic, and that it’s the best safety measure to get your vaccine and booster now if you’re eligible.

And with cases on the rise, Dr. Diekema said people shouldn’t have the mindset of ‘everyone’s going to get it, so I shouldn’t take precautions.’ He said getting infected with omicron is not inevitable... and you can’t assume you’ll only have mild symptoms.

”Everyone by now has heard about long COVID. And we know that infections are not always mild and self-limited. Even with omicron. Some people do get hospitalized. Some people do get severely ill and some people have symptoms that persist for long periods of time. You really want to avoid that if possible,” said Dr. Diekema.

He also said be sure to up your mask game. Things like moving from a cloth mask to a medical-grade mask and making sure your mask fits over your mouth and nose.

Dr. Winokur said they’re making their best guesses as to what the pandemic will continue to hold.

”I think we will continue to see problems with variants for a while. And a lot of that is because the whole world needs to get vaccinated and immune.”

Dr. Winokur said every time someone gets their vaccine, herd immunity improves. However, she warned, we don’t have enough vaccines in some of the more developing countries.

Dr. Patricia Winokur also added now is the time to limit those large gatherings with people outside your household. She said of the omicron variant differs from other variants because it replicates more in the nose and throat, not in the lungs. But that it’s still highly transmissible.

”In Johnson County, if you have an event, a social event, with 10 people that are outside your family, you have a 40 percent chance of being exposed to COVID-19,” she said.

Dr. Winokur also explained that vaccine booster shots help against repeated exposures, by building up more antibodies and boosting your protection. She also said not only will the number of antibodies be higher, but the quality will be better as well.

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