Hitting a Nerve

A ‘minor’ gesture to protect my patients


As of today, I’m still wearing a mask. And I have no desire to stop. I’ve been vaccinated. Everyone in my family and social circle has been vaccinated. But I’m still wearing one, at least inside (besides my house).

In my everyday life I see a fair number of patients. Because I’m in a medical office, not a grocery store, I still ask others to wear them.

Dr. Allan M. Block, a neurologist is Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dr. Allan M. Block

I believe in the efficacy of the vaccines, but at the same time I know that they have their limitations. Even vaccinated people (including myself) can be unknowing carriers. Five percent of vaccinated people can still develop a COVID-19 infection, with varying degrees of seriousness.

The COVID-19 virus, as viruses do, continues to change with time. This is nothing new. At of the time of this writing the delta variant is the one getting the most press, but there will be others. Sooner or later one will get around the defenses conferred by the vaccine.

Vaccines also can lose benefit over time. If there’s anything we’ve learned during the pandemic it’s that we have a lot to learn. Every year I get a flu vaccine based on anticipated flu strains for the coming year, and there’s no reason to think COVID-19 will be any different.

So, I’m still wearing a mask. It provides some protection for me, and it provides some protection for my patients (many of whom are immunocompromised). No one is saying it’s perfect, but on the scale of things I can do to help keep them safe it’s a pretty minor one.

I still wear a mask in stores, too. I don’t know who around me there has, or hasn’t, been vaccinated. Even if I’m not at risk, many of my patients are, so I don’t want to bring it back to the office.

I’m sure I’ll stop wearing it in the next few months, but I’m not there yet. Maybe I’m just overly cautious. Maybe it’s a good idea for now. But I’d rather give it a bit more time to make sure.

Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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