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When good news feels outweighed by bad news


I’ve been dealing with a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that a vaccine-hesitant family member finally got their first dose.

That’s great, right? Even if it was prompted by job requirements after the FDA approval made way for more mandates, at least it’s a step in the right direction.

But while I’m glad my family member will be better protected now, I can’t help but feel frustrated that it’s taken this long.

We’re all seeing the headlines about COVID surges and breakthrough cases. Or maybe you personally know someone who contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated.


Either way, it feels like so much pain and suffering could have been avoided if more people protected themselves (and, in turn, others) sooner.

Maybe things wouldn’t be dragging on for quite so long. Perhaps we could all be connected and reunited with family and friends again.

I’d hoped that we’d be able to return to regular family holiday plans this year, but that’s not the case. It’s disappointing.

More: Some families are already dreading the holidays as vaccine debates cause strife

So while I feel conflicted along with a whole mix of other emotions, I’m trying to stay positive and look forward. Even if things are different than I had expected, I’m grateful to still be making memories.

Flu shots: When should I get one?

No one knows what to expect of this year’s flu season, but my colleague Alia E. Dastagir reported on everything you need to know about getting a shot this year.

Last year influenza virtually disappeared, in large part because of widespread adherence to COVID safety measures – social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing. But the nature of the flu – a notoriously difficult disease to predict – as well as uncertainty around how a pandemic-weary nation will exercise caution this fall make it impossible to know what lies ahead.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that, with rare exceptions, everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every season. Public health experts say vaccination is vital to protect individuals, communities and to avoid burdening already overtaxed health care systems.

“The big risk here is that our healthcare system has limited capacity. In the winter, it usually hits that capacity in many places absent COVID, and flu is often a big contributor,” Dan Salmon, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety and a professor in the Department of International Health at Hopkins University, said during a press briefing Wednesday. “I’m not going to try to tell you what will happen in the fall, but what I will say is that we have perfect vaccines for COVID. We have reasonably good vaccines for flu. We should use them both as widely as possible and hope that we don’t see co-pandemics that make things worse.”


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