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Better Living Through Well Being

A feeling of optimism and hope for life returning to normal has thankfully been on the increase since the approval and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. In the U.S., three, and soon a fourth, vaccines are in current distribution. A few months from now, realistically anyone in the U.S. who wants the vaccination will be able to have it. Yet not everyone shares the same feeling of optimism. We are still in the midst of uncertain challenges - - new variants emerge as the virus continues to mutate into more resistant and infectious forms, hesitancy to receive the vaccine jeopardizes reaching the desired 80 to 85 percent “herd immunity” among the general population, and a degree of lockdown among businesses persists where an adequate feeling of safety among the public is necessary to reopen.

For many this hopeful normalcy is rather like a mirage that moves further away as you approach it even though it sits clearly on the horizon.


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A recent human resources survey recorded sentiments and beliefs among American workers toward getting the COVID-19 vaccine and found two out of five workers have some hesitancy. Five distinct vaccine personas emerged from the study: Hardcore anti-vaxxers (6 percent); The unsure (24 percent); COVID-affected (22 percent); Remote and stressed (23 percent); and Hardcore pro-vaxxers (25 percent).

The research also showed many American workers are still either hesitant or opposed to getting the vaccine based on misconceptions about its cost and effectiveness. The best employer strategy to use in attaining higher rates of vaccination leading to better protection in the workplace is to aim to correct misconceptions and target the “moveable middle” of undecided employees in the HR communications approach.

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A global controversy over the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been resolved following a short pause to investigate whether a rare blood clotting disorder was directly a result of the vaccine itself. This could not be proven with certainty, and the benefits of using the vaccine continue to be seen as outweighing the possible risks.

Because such disease occurs spontaneously, a cause-and-effect relationship may be impossible to prove. This is partly due to the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself may cause damage beyond the lungs, such as heart inflammation, acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage and liver problems, all of which are more difficult to detect in safety trials.

What all of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the U.S. have in common (including the AstraZeneca vaccine still awaiting EUA approval) is that they all cause human cells to manufacture the virus’s spike protein, which induces the immune system to make antibodies against it. There are still unresolved questions about whether the spike protein itself can cause harm after receiving the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, or AstraZeneca vaccines.

Health officials note that some 31 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a vaccine, so these blood clotting disorder events are rare. Even so, people are warned to watch for any bruising, rashes, nosebleeds, or bleeding from the gums after being vaccinated. There is at present no way to screen for this rare blood clotting disorder in advance.

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The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard way of handling credentials -- often referred to as “vaccine passports” -- that would allow Americans to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as businesses try to reopen. The White House has stated their role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy. The federal government will not store citizens’ vaccine data or status.

One private company in North Carolina has been providing COVID-19 vaccination IDs since January. Their “Real Vaccination ID Cards” are embedded with industry-leading forgery-prevention technology to combat counterfeiting and help people prove their COVID-19 vaccination status.

The effort has gained momentum amid President Biden’s pledge that the nation will start to regain normalcy by this summer and with a growing number of companies -- from cruise lines to sports teams -- saying they will require proof before opening their doors again.

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Other articles of interest in this TMIS eNewsletter for Spring 2021:

* New rapid high-throughput test can detect multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in two-and-a-half hours across hospital and care settings

* Data reveals a surge in goodwill toward healthcare organizations through philanthropy during 2020

* Digital app provides personalized nutritional guidance for better food choices to overcome underlying conditions that increase risk of severe illness from COVID-19

* Licensed Hypnotherapist is seeing increased level of clients seeking help for anxiety due to fears about COVID-19, needles, lockdowns, their kid’s education, the economy, and current events

* New research from the travel industry reveals the beginning distribution stage of COVID-19 vaccines makes Americans feel more hopeful and optimistic about traveling in 2021

* Digitized self-assessments help retirement home residents plan their return to independence post COVID-19

* Nationwide study reveals that COVID-19 pandemic has made many Americans more open to talk about their wishes and values for end-of-life care

* Latest study of newest discovered organ system “The Interstitium” reveals that interstitial spaces are continuous, creating a potential superhighway through the body

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I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin


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