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Medical Leaders Urge Community to Get Vaccinated to Combat COVID Hospitalizations and Emergency Room Visits

The medical leaders at CalvertHealth are sending a strong message to the community – Get Vaccinated and Get your Booster. After months of combating COVID – an unknown back in early 2020 – today, the vaccine is readily available to fight this virus. “We have three vaccines to counter the effects of COVID which will keep individuals out of the hospital and out of the Emergency Room. This is a serious healthcare crisis and anyone who doesn’t realize this is putting themselves and others at risk,” said Dr. Theodore Tsangaris, chief medical officer of CalvertHealth Medical Center (CHMC).

Chief of Medical Staff at CHMC Dr. Wilfred Ehrmantraut reiterated, “As a community physician, husband and father, I strongly endorse vaccination for those aged five and older who are able to get the vaccine. Our emergency room (ER) has been overwhelmed with people – young and old. We need for everyone in the community to stay healthy and ensure our ER is used for true emergencies.”

Leading pulmonologist and medical director for CHMC’s intensive care unit, Dr. Ramin Pirouz from Calvert Internal Medical Group has seen first-hand the devastation caused by COVID. Dr. Pirouz stated, “COVID literally ravages the lungs and the pulmonary system to the point that some must be put on a ventilator because they are unable to breathe adequately on their own. It’s not a pretty sight, I can assure you.” Pirouz has treated every COVID patient who has needed intensive care at CHMC since the beginning of the pandemic. His message is strong – get the vaccine and get boosted. “Vaccine-induced immunity is the best way to protect everyone and especially those with underlying medical conditions,” commented Dr. Pirouz.

Director of Women’s Health and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Barbara Estes, a licensed Obstetrician and Gynecologist for more than 20 years, states, “It’s clear from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine that the COVID infection puts pregnant women at increased risk of severe complications and even death. Vaccination is safe before, during, or after pregnancy.” Dr. Estes went on to add that it’s always good to talk to a women’s health provider when making these decisions.

Across the country, the state and right here in Calvert County, hospitals are struggling to care for the sheer volume of patients. Diane Couchman, chief nursing officer and vice president of clinical services, stated, “We simply cannot fill our Emergency Room with individuals that could be recovering at home if they got the vaccine. While the vaccine will not guarantee you don’t get the virus, it’s effective at reducing the risk of death, hospitalization and spreading the virus.”

CalvertHealth continues to care for the community despite the record number of patients coming for care. The goal is to continue delivering the highest quality of care to the residents of Calvert County and beyond. But the message is clear – the way to stay safe and healthy from COVID is to get vaccinated.

According to Dr. Larry Polsky, Calvert County’s Health Department Officer, as of Wednesday, December 15, there are 18,000 Calvert County adults who remain unvaccinated. Another 35,000 residents age 16 and older who are eligible for boosters but have not yet received one, including 4,000 seniors. For those who had their initial two-doses of vaccine, a booster dose will substantially raise immunity protection within one week – meaning prior to the upcoming holiday.

You can schedule a booster with your doctor’s office, local pharmacy or register online with the Calvert County Health Department for either a Moderna or Pfizer dose: https://www.calvertcountycovid19.com/vaccination-registration. CalvertHealth Medical Center is also hosting booster clinics this week. Make an appointment at https://www.calverthealthmedicine.org/covid-19-senior-center-clinics.
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