Skip to content
 

   

 

AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall: Sept. 9, 2021

Experts answer your questions related to COVID-19

TTH 090921 1 PM – Staying Safe, Caring for Loved Ones & New Work Realities

Bill Walsh: Hello, I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you'd like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. This week, Americans are taking time to pause and reflect on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Of course, these days the daily thread on most Americans’ minds is the surging COVID-19 pandemic. As the impact of the delta variant grows, so do concerns about safety, both at home and at work. Many older adults have questions and concerns related to vaccines, boosters, caring for and protecting their loved ones, and navigating the changing workplace. Today, we'll hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more.

If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls before, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask your question live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you'd like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts today and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3. And if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including a medical expert, another on caregiving, and a business coach. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member. Or, if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question in the comments.

Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D., is the chief medical officer for Watts Healthcare. He is the past president of the National Medical Association and past president of the California Immunization Coalition. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Brooks.

Oliver Tate Brooks: Thank you. I'm happy to be back, Bill.

Bill Walsh: All right. We're happy to have you. Also joining us today is Warren Hebert Jr., a doctor of nursing practice, a registered nurse, and a nursing professor at Loyola University of New Orleans. He is also the CEO of the HomeCare Association of Louisiana. Welcome back, Dr. Hebert.

Warren Hebert: Thanks, Bill. Good to be with you again.

Bill Walsh: All right, great to have you. And finally, Chester Elton. Chester Elton is a business coach and best-selling author of Anxiety at Work and Leading With Gratitude. Welcome to the program, Chester.

Chester Elton: Delighted to be here. Thanks for having me.

Bill Walsh: All right, we're delighted to have you. Let's get started with the discussion, and just a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. Let's get started.

Dr. Brooks, as the COVID cases climb, there are more breakthrough cases fueled by the delta variant. How is COVID different for someone who is vaccinated versus someone who is unvaccinated?

Oliver Tate Brooks: All right. So let's look at it this way, let's start with getting COVID. If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get COVID. There was a study coming out of Seattle data that showed that the rate of COVID cases was 10 times higher in those who were not fully vaccinated. So you're less likely to get it if you are vaccinated. That being stated, there are breakthrough cases that are happening. So what I would say is this: First of all, if you get COVID and you're vaccinated, you get virus in your upper airway, your nasal passages, about at the same rate as someone who is unvaccinated. However, what happens when you're unvaccinated, that virus can spread through your body. When you're vaccinated, your body attacks and clears it, so you are less likely to spread it because you have it for a shorter period of time if you're vaccinated. Now to the actual question, if you get COVID and you are vaccinated, you are less likely to die or to get hospitalized, and there is some data, which is interesting for me, you're less likely to get long COVID, those symptoms that happen months or years later. So the bottom line is, be vaccinated, even with these breakthrough cases.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, thanks for that. That was a very clear explanation. Dr. Brooks, another question for you. We're seeing a return to shortages of hospital beds and oxygen as a result of the delta variant. What expectations should someone have if their loved one needs, hospital care for something other than COVID?

Oliver Tate Brooks: What I would say is this: They will likely be okay, but it's very regional. There's data showing that ICU beds or hospital beds are full of COVID patients in certain states where there's a high rate of COVID versus other states where it's not quite as bad. I literally was at the hospital this morning and I asked, and I was told that we have this. So I would say that, based on where you are, you will likely be able to get care. The problems that we had at the peak of the pandemic, at the beginning of this year, are not as bad on the hospitals based on your region. So if you go to the hospital, you should get good care.

Bill Walsh: I mean we're hearing about people having to wait many, many hours to get care for non-COVID-related afflictions. You’re saying that's just a regional phenomenon and people should no doubt check with their hospital before they go?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Exactly. Exactly. Because even within states, it'll be one city may have a shortage of beds, perhaps a shortage of oxygen. Another city within the same state may not.

Bill Walsh: So should people skip an elective surgery? What about a flu shot or routine care? Should they put those things on hold?

Oliver Tate Brooks: So let's start with the first one. I would say elective surgery, do it. Because if you think about it, as this delta variant is increasing the number of cases and the number of people hospitalized, if you put it off now — you wait till, let's say, November, it may be worse. So I would recommend getting an elective procedure done now. A flu shot, absolutely get your flu shot. Could you imagine a patient having influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, both primary respiratory diseases. So you do definitely want to get your flu shot. And then routine care, what happens, a lot of routine care was delayed when the pandemic was at its peak, and we physicians were doing primarily tele-visits or no visits. So I would say again, right now, get your routine care. Just keep in mind, right now the rates are on an upswing, so if you don't get it now and you wait, you may not get it for another six months. So absolutely, go get your routine care now.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Brooks. Dr. Hebert, let's turn to you. Over the past year and a half, the pandemic has posed a big challenge for family caregivers. In some parts of the country, Hurricane Ida and wildfires have only added to the challenges that caregivers are facing. What's the impact of the recent COVID surge on top of these incredibly tough conditions?

Warren Hebert: Thank you, Bill. The challenge related to the percentage of folks who are vaccinated here in my state, in Louisiana, there are about 40 percent of folks who are fully vaccinated. The implications that that has for Hurricane Ida is that people are moving to shelters, or they're moving in with family and friends because their homes are no longer habitable. And for the high percentage of people who are unvaccinated, if you just lost your home, you're really not going to be thinking a lot about masking or distancing. That's going to be well down on your priority list because of the issues you're dealing with and the trauma around the hurricane or a wildfire. So I'll certainly go back to Dr. Brooks' comment about the importance of vaccinations in the midst of a traumatic event like the situations with hurricanes and wildfires. Being vaccinated makes your decisions so much easier. The challenge that we also have here in Louisiana, unlike some of the other areas, is that the rural hospitals, critical access hospitals, were already really at the verge of failure in their system. So as a result, rural hospitals that typically would send their patients who were ICU-type patients to urban centers where there are ICUs, ventilators, and ICU-competent nurses, the fact that the rural hospitals can no longer send folks there has been a real issue for the rural hospitals. When you add to that, in our case, Hurricane Ida, and the fact that so many of those hospitals that were in the path of the storm are no longer in operating condition. And it's going to take a while for some of them to come back online. So that further adds to the stress with hospital systems. And I suspect the same thing is true for our friends that are dealing with wildfires.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, it just adds to the burden of family caregivers, I imagine. I mean, now you're wondering where to take, where can I take my loved one? What kind of medical care is even going to be available?

Warren Hebert: Yeah, the family caregiver certainly has enough challenge and a significant burden just in typical times. Circumstances have moved me in with my 89-year-old mom, which has been a real gift for the two of us. But when we were preparing for Hurricane Ida, the decisions that we were trying to make related to the storm, whether we evacuate or not, which direction is the storm going to go in. And if we do evacuate, who do we evacuate with? And if some family members are vaccinated, then that makes it an easier decision because mom and I are both vaccinated. So again, this challenge of the family caregiver who already has a pretty significant burden, it adds to that because of the high degree of vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the country.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thank you for that, Dr. Hebert. I'd like to bring Chester into the discussion now. Recently Delta Airlines announced that they're going to charge unvaccinated employees an extra $200 per month for health insurance and require weekly testing. Do you think this will incentivize employees to get their shots, and is this a model for other large employers to follow?

Chester Elton: You know, Bill, it's such a great question because large employers are really trying to figure out how many carrots and how many sticks, right, is it going to take? And because you're a private employer, of course, you can mandate things, conditions of employment: You have to pass a drug test, you have to have a background check, and so on. My son is about to work for a big financial company, and the background checks and the research they do on them is really quite extensive. So I think this is an extension of that. But the problem with it is that this has become such a politically charged and socially charged issue that you have to be careful how to do it. Now Delta has done this I think for two reasons. One is insurance costs are going to go up if more of their people get COVID. I mean, that's just a reality. And so it's an incentive to reduce your health care if you're not vaccinated, right. It's also a kind of a nod to their employees that are vaccinated. Kind of a, hey, good for you, your health care is not going to go up. Whether the punitive model is going to become a mandate, I'm not so sure. I will tell you though that big employers are rapidly moving toward, if you are going to come into the workplace, we need to see proof of vaccination, and that is going to be a standard part of your employment contract. Now, if the question is, if I am working remotely, do I need to get vaccinated? Now I'm not coming in. So there's all these variations on the thing, and I'll tell you what's fascinating. We just did this massive research on anxiety in the workplace. The number one cause of anxiety is uncertainty. You know, what is required of me? So whether you're using the mandates, increasing health care insurance, or whatever it might be, the clear message is to have a clear message, with as little ambiguity as possible, so people know what they're coming into if they're going into the workplace, they know what the financial burden might be, and you know what, it's a tricky dance, Bill, it really is.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Have you seen larger employers opting more for sticks or carrots in trying to get their employees vaccinated?

Chester Elton: Well, it's interesting. I think the government has offered lots of carrots, right? The vaccination is free. You can go anywhere. A lot of employers work at home and so on. I think a lot of employers have exhausted the carrots and now to get over that hump, they're bringing out the sticks and saying, look, if you're going to work here, you've got to be vaccinated. Now if you don't want to get vaccinated, that's okay. You just can't work here. Right? So I think you're going to see a lot more sticks and mandates in the coming months.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that, Chester. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3. And we're going to get to those live questions shortly. But before we do, I wanted to bring in Kristin Dillon. Kristin is the senior vice president of states and community engagement here at AARP. Welcome, Kristin.

Kristin Dillon: Hi, Bill. I'm happy to be here.

Bill Walsh: All right, happy to have you. In addition to sharing the most current coronavirus information, we'd like to take a few minutes to update our listeners on important issues facing Congress and how AARP is fighting for them. Kristin, this week congressional committees are working on some bills that will directly affect older Americans. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Kristin Dillon: Of course. This week's big three include prescription drug prices, new Medicare benefits, and caregiving. So first, AARP is fighting to stop unfair prices for prescription medication. Brand-name drug prices in the U.S. cost three times more than in similar countries, yet Medicare is barred from bargaining for lower drug costs. So AARP is urging Congress to give Medicare the power to negotiate for better prices. Second, Congress also has an opportunity to fill coverage gaps in Medicare by adding dental, hearing and vision benefits, which AARP also supports. Third, AARP is advocating to help address the financial challenges of working adults caring for a loved one by urging Congress to pass a new tax credit for eligible family caregivers.

Bill Walsh: Those would be enormous changes and great benefits to a lot of our listeners and consumers around the country. Thanks for updating us on those. Shifting gears, this weekend marks a sobering milestone in America with the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We'd be remiss not to pause and remember. Is there a positive way to do that, to put thoughts into action?

Kristin Dillon: Yes, there are things we can do and ways everyone can help. September 11th is now a federally recognized National Day of Service in the United States. In fact, 9/11 has grown to become the nation's largest day of charitable service.

Bill Walsh: Does AARP have anything planned for this day of service?

Kristin Dillon: Yes, AARP is involved. You know, community service has always been at the heart of our mission, but we pay special tribute every year on 9/11. So tomorrow, AARP staff and volunteers will be serving in their own communities, packing meals, supporting nonprofits, caring for others. With COVID, we can't gather in large groups, so volunteering may look different, but the spirit is the same, and the work is more important than ever.

Bill Walsh: AARP was founded in service, wasn't it?

Kristin Dillon: Yes, it was. You know, service is a cornerstone, and that foundation's quite a story. More than 60 years ago, our founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, discovered a retired teacher living inside an abandoned chicken coop. After retirement, the teacher couldn't afford to stay healthy, and when Ethel saw her poor living conditions, she felt compelled to do something. So she decided to commit her life to fighting injustice and transforming lives. That's AARP's origin story: not a boardroom but a chicken coop, with one person determined to create change. Ethel founded AARP with a motto to serve and not be served. And that motto still guides us today.

Bill Walsh: It’s a wonderful story. If others want to volunteer for September 11th or beyond, are there ways to help and still stay safe during COVID?

Kristin Dillon: Absolutely. There are plenty of ways to help even virtually or from your home. AARP has lots of ideas on our volunteer website: createthegood.org. Create the Good has local volunteer opportunities in your area, and also has a special section on volunteer opportunities you can do from home. So there are ways to stay safe and still help for anyone who would like to do so.

Bill Walsh: Createthegood.org. Very good. Thank you so much, Kristin, for sharing the legislative update and for being with us today.

Kristin Dillon: Thank you for having me.

Bill Walsh: All right. It's now time to address your questions about the coronavirus pandemic with Dr. Oliver Brooks, Dr. Warren Hebert and Chester Elton. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question live. If you'd like to listen in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: Now I'd like to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Thanks, Bill. Delighted to be here.

Bill Walsh: All right. Let's take our first caller.

Jean Setzfand: All right. Our first caller is Elsie from Wisconsin.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Elsie, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question. Hi, Elsie, are you with us? Hi, Elsie, go ahead with your question.

Elsie: I'm going to be 90. Should I have my vaccination?

Bill Walsh: I'm sorry, say that one more time.

Elsie: I'm going to be 90 — 90 years old.

Bill Walsh: Fantastic. What's your question for us today, Elsie?

Elsie: Do I need that vaccination?

Bill Walsh: Well, I would venture to say yes, but I'm going to let Dr. Brooks give you a more fulsome answer to that. Dr. Brooks.

Oliver Tate Brooks: As you stated, Bill, the answer is yes. If she's turning 90 — and all goodness to you, Elsie, for living such a long life. If you are 90, you’re in an age range that is more likely to have complications from getting COVID-19, so you should absolutely get vaccinated. And then another thing I will say, Bill, it's never too late. So I think that's important. She should get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available, and do it as soon as possible.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Thanks for that, Dr. Brooks. Okay, Jean, who is our next questioner?

Jean Setzfand: Our next questioner is Ellis from New Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Ellis, go ahead with your question.

Ellis: Yes, hi. My question is, I'm a substitute teacher, and I was home for a year and a half because of the pandemic, and my unemployment benefits ran out. So now I'm considering going back. But even though I'm vaccinated — I got my two shots in March — I'm still concerned about breakthrough infections, possibly, and getting, coming down with COVID despite being vaccinated. What should I do? Should I be concerned, or what measures can I take?

Bill Walsh: About heading back to the classroom, you mean.

Ellis: Yeah.

Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, do you want to field that one?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Certainly. Here's what I would recommend. First of all, again, we much appreciate teachers. These children have missed a full year, plus or minus, they've missed a lot of time of being in the classroom, and that's part of learning, the socialization. What I would say is, again, if you're vaccinated, you have a much lower chance of getting COVID, sick from COVID, dying from COVID. That being stated, when you go into the classroom, you should follow infection control procedures as best you can. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, as best as you can, keep a six-foot distance. And then, a lot of the school districts have a formal testing protocol. So follow the formal testing protocol of your school district, which is for both the teachers, the administration, and likely for the students also. I think it is crucially important to get the schools going again, and so I think it is reasonable for you to go back into the classroom.

Bill Walsh: Chester, let me bring you into the discussion here. You know, Ellis is a teacher, but many employees around the country in different industries are having the same kinds of concerns. Do you have any advice for them? Any questions they should ask their employers?

Chester Elton: Absolutely. Again, I love the advice of Dr. Brooks. Follow the protocols that are in place where you work, and ask lots of questions. It’s really interesting. I was thinking the other day, when you get a new job, you plan out your commute, you know, where are you going to do lunch, and, and you fill in all those blanks. The same thing should be true when you're going back to work. Ask lots of questions. Do I need to wear a mask? Is there social distancing? Do I have to bring my vaccination card? What are the protocols? So that you're going really informed. You know, anxiety and stress levels go up when you just are uncertain about what's going on. Are the other people vaccinated? You know, who is, what's the percent of vaccination. All those questions are fair questions, and your employers should be easily able to answer those things. And once you know that, where are you going to be able to have lunch? You're going to know what your hours are, what your commute is. I think that brings your anxiety levels down quite a bit, and it allows you to more freely interact with your coworkers. You know where it's safe, and that's my recommendation. Ask lots of questions, know what the rules are, and abide by the rules.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks very much for that, Dr. Brooks and Chester. Jean, let's take another question.

Jean Setzfand: Our next question is coming from Lana of Massachusetts.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Lana. Welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Lana: Thank you. My question is in response to an article that was in the Lowell Sun that I think they might've got the study also from stuff from an article that was in the Boston Herald or Boston Globe, because of the way it was referenced. And I forget who exactly wrote the article. But there was a study that was done since the onslaught of the COVID-19 in regards to alcohol. So there was an increase in the alcohol intake of people during that period. So I realize that people, they might be dealing with people that have died, like grieving or loss of work or whatever. So how do we cope with the COVID-19 in a constructive way, because these people, if they're addicts or something, they're going to end up in our hospitals, you know, that are already overflowing. You know what I'm talking about? We have the opioid in some cities. So I'm just wondering how we can deal with things a little bit better.

Bill Walsh: Dr. Hebert, I wonder if you can weigh in on that question from Lana, which is really about how to deal with the stress in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

Warren Hebert: Lana, thank you. This is a very important question. We talk a great deal about resilience just on an average, typical day. What are the things that you can handle from an emotional and psychological perspective from the standpoint of the stress that you're dealing with? You bring out an excellent point that not only has COVID pushed many of us closer to that line where perhaps we don't have control of our situation anymore. But when we look at a lot of the political challenges we've had over the last five or six years, those things have also added a great deal of stress. And I'll go back to what Bill asked about earlier — wildfires and the storms and that sort of thing. So what are the things that you can do to be more resilient? Some things that the experts say is exercise is very important. Just getting out, getting out for a walk, perhaps at a time of the day that fits your schedule. A person's faith life. No matter what wisdom, tradition or religion you follow, people who have a strong faith life often are able to deal with stress in a much better way. If you have the good fortune of having connections with someone who is a counselor or perhaps a pastor, being able to talk things out with people certainly helps. And if you're in a relationship where you're able to discuss those things that are causing you concern, those relationships, having good relationships can make a huge difference. And the last thing I'll mention is to connect with other people. Isolation, the fact that people are dealing with loneliness and that increases during times like these means that that there's going to be a great deal more stress. So finding ways to connect with others, whether it's in your family unit, whether it's within your community organizations that you belong to, reaching out really helps a lot. But that's a great question, Lana.

Bill Walsh: All right. Dr. Hebert, thanks so much for that. Jean, who do we have next?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is John from South Carolina.

Bill Walsh: Hey, John, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

John: Yeah. Thank you. I had a question just about the booster shot. What can you tell us about those? When should we get them? Why we should get them? And when will they be available?

Bill Walsh: And when available. Okay, Dr. Brooks, can you help us out with some questions on boosters?

Oliver Tate Brooks: All right. Yeah, John, that's an excellent question. I think that's one of the questions of the day. Let's make a distinguishing note between boosters and an additional shot. So people who need an additional shot is 28 days after the first one, and that is for those who are immunosuppressed. That has already been determined. That's about 3 percent of the population. The term booster means that you had immunity and for whatever reason, there is a need to boost the immunity. Children, when they go to kindergarten, get their booster shots. Okay, that's just a requirement for kindergarten in most states. So that's the concept. As of now the ACIP nor the FDA has given full approval for a booster shot. So honestly, right now we're putting the cart in front of the horse. There will be a meeting on these issues, or this issue on the booster shot, probably in the next month or so, probably less than that. And the determination will be made. If there is the approval — and recommendation is even a better word — for a booster, it would be — and it's only for the mRNA vaccines, the Pfizer and the Moderna — it would be eight months after you got your second dose. So this is more or less where we are at this point. I don't know if there's any more than I can speak on right now, that I should speak on, but I think that it's important to understand that as of now, there is no formal recommendation for a booster dose. And lastly, I will say for the J&J vaccine, the J&J vaccine came out, it came to market, approximately three months after the mRNA vaccines for Pfizer and Moderna. So there's no data yet to determine whether or not if you got the J&J vaccine, you will even need a booster. So John, that was an excellent question.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, and John hang with us, because I have a few other questions related to boosters in our next segment. So just hang with us and we will get to those. And I want to thank our listeners for all the questions. We're going to take more of those questions shortly. And remember, to ask your question, press *3 on your telephone keypad now. And if you'd like to listen to this program in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad right now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: So Dr. Brooks, let's dive into boosters a little bit more. I know this is top of mind for a lot of people, and we've been receiving a lot of questions on this in recent weeks. So I'm going to run through five questions, and so maybe you can give us some fairly quick answers to each one of them. So I know that you had just prefaced your comments about boosters with the fact that they haven't been approved for use yet. But do we expect that someone will be able to get a booster earlier than eight months, which has been the timeline we've heard so much about?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Right. So what will happen with any medication if it's FDA approved, the physician can use it, quote-unquote, off label. But right now the thought is it's going to be eight months after your second dose. Someone could theoretically get it. But the problem with doing that is there is no data that shows that that's indicated, and so if there is some type of untoward reaction, there's no good coverage for the physician who would have done this, and for the patient, you receive the vaccine outside of the formal recommendation. So I would say right now there's no data to even say you need to get it prior than eight months. So my recommendation is, assuming that it gets approved, that I would follow the recommendation, which is likely going to be eight months after your second dose.

Bill Walsh: Okay. And when can we expect to hear a formal approval related to boosters?

Oliver Tate Brooks: I would say in the next couple of weeks, next two to four weeks.

Bill Walsh: Couple of weeks, okay. Now the Pfizer and Moderna boosters, would they be compatible?

Oliver Tate Brooks: So the general recommendation for almost all vaccines is to complete a series with the same one. And that will be likely the recommendation for the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. However, importantly, if the one that you got is unavailable, or you just don't know which one you got for whatever reason, the booster, those, when indicated, could be either of them. So that would — go with the one that you got. But if you don't know, if it's not available, get whichever one's available.

Bill Walsh: Okay, and is the booster the same potency as those first two shots?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Right now, it seems to be, but again, that'll be the data that will be reviewed by the FDA and the ACIP, the advisory committee on immunization practices of the CDC.

Bill Walsh: Okay, so then is there anything we can say about side effects? Would those be similar to the original shots?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Well, what we've been seeing, the data is showing that people, if they got a third mRNA vaccine, the side effects were similar to that of the two-dose series: fatigue, pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects. And most of the symptoms were mild to moderate. So the side effect profile seems to be about the same as with the first two doses.

Bill Walsh: Okay, and then finally, what do we know about boosters for folks with the J&J, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Right, so I touched on that. So again, remember the reason that people need boosters is because the immunity seems to wane somewhat from the first two for the mRNA. For the J&J, we just don't know. So I'd say, if you've got the J&J vaccine, just kind of be patient, because first that means you got it later, because it didn't come out until March, so your immunity is still there. And so as the studies come in, as soon as there's more information on the J&J immunity and the longevity of that immunity and the need for a booster, we will review that information to make a recommendation.

Bill Walsh: Okay. All right, well, we'll keep an eye on things over the next couple of weeks and see what the FDA panel is going to say about boosters. Thanks so much, Dr. Brooks. I'd like to bring Dr. Hebert and Chester Elton back into the conversation, have each of you respond to this next question. An AARP study found that most working caregivers are worried how they will manage everything when they return to work. They're worried about leaving loved ones at home, and that flexibility during the pandemic will be taken away. What options do they have for caring for their loved ones when they return to work? And what should someone do if they're experiencing stress or anxiety about returning to work? We had touched on that a little bit before. Dr. Hebert, do you want to kick us off there?

Warren Hebert: Thank you, Bill. I think that the real gift to this panel is that we're all supporting a lot of the good science that's out there. You know, Dr. Brooks talked a little bit earlier again about the importance of being vaccinated. If the caregiver is vaccinated, then they are going to be much, much less likely to bring something from work back to a loved one that they're caring about. The delta variant has shown that there is a greater chance than has been in the past with the original strain of the virus. But the things that we can do, again, I'm echoing what Dr. Brooks said earlier, and that is wearing masks and washing, distancing, being aware of testing protocols that are happening within the workplace. All of those things will mean that you're going to be safer coming back to that loved one. Another thing is, the work setting varies. If it's someone who's working in a professional role as a formal caregiver — a nurse or working in a health care setting — then those are things that need to be considered with regards to the increased risk. On the other hand, someone who might be working outside, who is in a place where they're not in tight quarters with other people, would have less risk. So it varies depending on where that informal caregiver or family caregiver is working.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Chester, how about you? What options do people have for caring for their loved ones when they return to work?

Chester Elton: You know, I think it's so important for you to have protocols. Just like doctors, when they go in to have surgery, there's a routine that they go through. And we talked about this with the other two doctors, and I think it's really important. What are your protocols? Wash your hands, wear your mask, do the social distancing. If you've got good protocols in place and you're keeping yourself safe, you’re in turn keeping everyone else safe. And again, I can't stress enough, get as much information from your employer, as much information as you can, as to the setting, the protocols for the entire team, the entire workplace. And I think a lot of it, too, is again, if you're commuting, if you're just driving in, that makes it pretty simple. You know — I live near New York City — sometimes it's the drive to the train, through the train station, train to the subway, to the subway — there's a lot of motion in there. So get your protocols straight, get your rituals, if you want to call it that, straight, and make sure you're doing everything to keep yourself safe, so that you keep everyone around you safe. And I think that lowers a lot of your own anxiety, that you've done everything required of you. That makes sense, don't you think?

Bill Walsh: Yeah, it sure does. And Chester, you've talked already a lot about increased stress with the anticipation of returning to work. Do employers anticipate an increase in mental health struggles in the workplace once folks return to the workforce, and what steps have they taken to prepare for that?

Chester Elton: Absolutely. I mean, it's already happening. You're seeing — listen, my co-author, Adrian Gostick, and I, we do a lot of executive coaching as well. And this is, mental health in the workplace, if it's not their top issue, if it's not number one, it's 1A. And so you're seeing a lot more employee assistance programs, you know, really encouragement there. You're seeing Walmart, for example, has made mental health their number one issue. So they're doing training, they're doing counseling. They even did a thing —which was kind of fun —they gave everybody a free download of an app, a meditation app. And that sounds kind of funny, and yet personal rituals of meditation and eating right and getting sleep and exercising, some of the things we've talked about, I think are very, very important. So absolutely employers are seeing the uptick, whether they're staying remote or coming into the workplace. And you're seeing a lot of businesses take a very proactive approach to that. son works at American Express, for example, in the city, and their hotlines, and their information lines, and their websites of their employees are all about when are we going to expect you to come back to work? Here's what it's going to look like. And we've heard it before, too. Different parts of the country are going to have different protocols. If you're in a state with low vaccination, the protocols are going to be different than if you're in a state with a high level of vaccination. So if employers aren't displaying that kind of thing, they're going to be more and more rare. It seems to me like every company of any size knows that mental health is going to be their number one issue. And of course, if you're worried about your health, if you're anxious, if you're stressed, you don't give good work. You can't be innovative. You can't be giving the levels of service that you want to your coworkers and your customers. So long answer to a short question: Yes is the answer.

Bill Walsh: All right. Very good. Thanks for that, Chester. Really appreciate it. Now it's time to address more of your questions with Dr. Oliver Brooks, Dr. Warren Herbert and Chester Elton. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to get in the queue to ask that question live. Jean, who do we have next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have quite a few questions on YouTube and Facebook, so I'm going to use one from YouTube, from Martin. And Martin's asking, "What's the recommended timing between a flu shot and a COVID booster shot?"

Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, can you handle that?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Yes. So initially we were wanting at least two weeks’ separation from any vaccine in a COVID-19 shot, but that was primarily to be able to determine side effects. And if you got a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, how would I know if the fever was coming from one or the other? The recommendation now is there need be no separation. They can be co-administered. So when you go in for your flu shot, if you're unvaccinated, you get your COVID-19 vaccine also.

Bill Walsh: Okay, very good. Jean, who is up next?

Jean Setzfand: The next caller is Lori from Maryland.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Lori, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Lori: Thank you for taking my question. My question is this: My mother is 95 years old, and she has a caregiver who comes to her house that is vaccinated, but she has two young children that go to a public school, and they just returned to school. And my concern is the delta variant, and how protected can my mother be with this woman who comes and takes care of her?

Bill Walsh: Interesting question. Dr. Hebert, can you weigh in on that?

Warren Hebert: Yeah, I'm happy to. Lori, I'm living with my 89-year-old mom right now, and Mom just got news that she has two new great-grandchildren who are going to be cousins born on May 1st. So all of these grandchildren, great-grandchildren that she's having, certainly are part of the issue for those of us that are caring for our parents who are aging. The first thing I would say is, kudos and bravo to the caregiver who's vaccinated. Unfortunately a lot of people working in these roles still choose not to be vaccinated, so wonderful that your mom has this caregiver who's vaccinated. Following the protocols even after vaccination is a really good thing because the masking, the handwashing, the distancing — those things are very important. So I would suggest that that caregiver, even though she's vaccinated — because of the fact that she's with children but just in general — it's good for her to wear a mask as the caregiver, wash your hands frequently. You know, there are aspects of caregiving that can be done outside. My daughter is a nurse practitioner who works in a homecare setting, and when all of this first happened, she said, "Dad, what do you think?" And I said, "Gee, if you can visit on the porch or the patio, those are some things from a caregiving perspective that help to reduce the risk." So again, great that the caregiver's vaccinated. There's still a lot of good precautions that you can take that are well documented out there. Thank you.

Bill Walsh: Do you think Lori, I mean, with her 95-year-old mom, should ask the agency for a different caregiver, or do you think that the kind of precautions you just described would be sufficient?

Warren Hebert: I think that you can certainly have that conversation. Lori, you know, whatever makes you comfortable as the family member, having that conversation would be important. I would think that this particular caregiver, if she's a good fit and a good match for your mother and you. You are perhaps taking on a new challenge if you get a different caregiver who doesn't have children but maybe might not be as good a fit. So it really is a balancing act when it comes to the caregivers that are coming into the home setting.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Dr. Hebert, thanks so much for that. Jean, let's take another question.

Jean Setzfand: All right. Our next caller is Shahir calling from California.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Shahir, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Shahir: Hi, Bill, thanks for taking my call. I'm an insurance agent and getting ready for AAP, and part of that process is I have several community meetings scheduled. The setting is in a closed room within a restaurant. And my question for your panel is this. We were expecting 10, somewhere between 15 to 25 people to attend this meeting. My partner or I are both fully vaccinated. We wear masks. My question is, is it safe to be in that kind of a setting with, say, 15 to 25 other individuals? And if we don't know if they are, they have the vaccinations or if they're going to wear their masks or not. And can we ask them to wear their masks?

Bill Walsh: It's a great question. Chester, I wonder if you could address that.

Chester Elton: Absolutely. Listen, in business settings, you can absolutely put the rules in place as to when they come. If you feel like it's going to be a fairly confined space, you can say absolutely, and pass out masks at the door. You know, look we've been living with the virus long enough now that those simple things, I mean, I'm about to get on a plane late this afternoon. Everybody wears a mask. That's the deal. If you get on the plane, you wear a mask. So just set it up the way you want people to feel safe and you feel safe. And having masks at the door, having some disinfectant at the door — say, welcome, here's your name tag, put a little dab of disinfectant on their hands, say, guys, we really love you being here. To keep everybody safe and to keep you safe, we'd really appreciate if you wear your mask. You keep it in a really positive vein, that you're really doing it for them to keep everybody safe. And you know what, more often than not — and I'm convinced well over 90 percent — people appreciate the fact that you're looking out for them. There'll be those rare people that will cause a bit of a fuss, and that's okay. They don't need to come to the meeting, right? For the good of the people in the meeting, set it up, make it really positive, position yourself as an ally: Hey, we're in this together. I'm looking out for you. You're looking out for me. You'll have a great meeting. It'll be great.

Bill Walsh: Great. All right. I love that, Chester. Thanks so much. Let's take another question.

Jean Setzfand: Our next question is coming from Bill in Georgia.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Bill. Love your, love your first name. Go ahead with your question.

Bill: Okay. I had COVID, but I've also been fully vaccinated, and I wondered how much immunity is conferred by actually having COVID versus the immunity you get through the mRNA vaccination?

Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, can you answer that question for Bill?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Yes, Bill. First of all, thank you for being vaccinated, and sorry you got COVID. There's been a lot of data coming out and some actually may be a little conflicting. Data that I saw showed that you have waning or lowering of immunity after getting COVID. I've also heard the other side, that COVID may confer excellent immunity. Natural infection generally confers excellent immunity. That really doesn't seem the case overall. But the key to this, if you had COVID and then you were fully vaccinated — then there's no clear data for me to speak on but you probably have a very strong immunity to the virus. So I would say this for me answering that question, for those that have had COVID, I still recommend, and it is recommended, that you get fully vaccinated.

Bill Walsh: Thanks so much for that, Dr. Brooks. Who's next on the line, Jean?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Joanne from Delaware.

Bill Walsh: All right. Joanne, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Joanne: I have in-home caregivers. And I'm wondering about, I know that when you go out, you're walking where people have had COVID have walked. When they come into your home, should they take their shoes off? They could take their shoes off at my front door.

Bill Walsh: Right, right. Dr. Brooks, do you want to weigh in on that? What kind of precautions should Joanne and others ask visitors to take when they come to her home?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Well, you know, my mother had a care … again, the 95-year-old mother, when the caregivers came, they put the little booties over their shoes. But that was not for COVID. I think it was just for general cleanliness. So the experience I have is that is a standard practice? I think that's not unreasonable. To answer her question more directly, there is little evidence that covering your shoes makes any difference. COVID is not, generally speaking, on your shoe. It's a respiratory virus, and you have minimal to no risk of spreading COVID by someone wearing shoes versus not wearing shoes or taking them off into your house.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks very much for that, Dr. Brooks. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next question is actually coming from YouTube. And the question is coming from Hero798, who wants to know how to find out if your health care provider is actually vaccinated. Is there a way to do that?

Bill Walsh: I would imagine so. Dr. Hebert, do you want to weigh in on that?

Warren Hebert: Bill, thank you. And Hero798, that's a great question. My mother actually receives home health care, and I actually asked the admitting nurse whether she was vaccinated or not. So you can certainly just ask the question. But another thing that you can do is to call the company if it's a formal caregiver that's hired. Most of the companies will not let you know whether that person's vaccinated or not, but the fact that you're asking the question, you can make a request that the person who's coming out to the home to care for your mother, to care for that older person, or to care for you, you can make that request that they send someone who's vaccinated.

Bill Walsh: Right, right, or ask for somebody else. Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Herbert. Let's turn back to our expert panel for a moment. Dr. Brooks, despite evidence to the contrary, some pundits and politicians have recently blamed unvaccinated African Americans for the latest surge in many states. How do you respond to those remarks?

Oliver Tate Brooks: Okay, Bill, interesting. Okay, I would say this. The rate of vaccination is somewhat lower in African Americans than the general population; approximately 50 percent of whites would say they're fully vaccinated versus 40 percent of Blacks. So that's a bit of a difference. However, African Americans are only 12 percent of the population. So you're talking about a small, relatively small population. So there is that disparity. And other data that was from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 70 percent of whites said that they already got vaccinated versus 65 percent. So the differences in the vaccination rates are not that great. So I would say that I don't think that information is accurate. I would also say, and you said this (inaudible), the other thing is that the way that this delta variant is spreading is not, well, it's partially obviously vaccinated versus unvaccinated, but mask wearing is huge. So if everyone wore a mask, 100 percent of people, and they were around other people, then you would have less spread. And the data shows that mask wearing has become partisan. The data shows that the majority of Republicans never wear a mask versus the majority of Democrats do. So honestly, here's the way I really look at that. Well, lastly, I'll say, 67 percent of the population in the United States are white. Okay, unvaccinated. So again, okay, here's where we go with all of that. All of that is more or less irrelevant, and this is why. The only way we're going to get to the other side of this pandemic is for us to get vaccinated and us to follow infection control, which is mask wearing. But there's a third element. Okay, the movie War of the Worlds, when we were being attacked by aliens, we all came together. We're talking about the 20th anniversary of 9/11. When 9/11 hit, the world came together in support of the United States. Our adversaries, if you will, Russia and China, I think sent good positive messages. The last thing is, the only way we're going to get to the other side of this pandemic is to work together, to come together as a nation, not Baltic states of whites, Blacks, poor, rural, whatever. That's not going to work. This is a worldwide pandemic. It's getting worse right now as opposed to getting better. And so I think that we need to think beyond that. Ultimately, if someone said that their next statement would be to me, well, how do I get more Blacks vaccinated, that's what I would want to hear, because as opposed if they really felt that way, the answer is not to point fingers, the answer is to make the problem better. It's a non-issue, but the deeper concern in that statement is the partisan divide, individualism, the lack of cohesiveness. We've got to get past that or this pandemic will not go away.

Bill Walsh: Okay. Thanks for that, Dr. Brooks. Dr. Hebert, I want to ask you a question that's really been on the minds of a lot of our listeners. You know, as COVID cases increased, nursing homes are limiting activities and reducing visitations. It's a huge setback for families. How can you remain connected with loved ones? And what advice do you have for families in this situation?

Warren Hebert: Bill, it was a real challenge back when COVID first visited us and the separation that family members experienced. Since then we've learned a lot. We've learned that we can connect through FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype. We can place phone calls on a regular basis. I mean, I sort of got a kick out of one of the workshops that I did, used the acronym P-O-T-S: plain old telephone system. So making phone calls. The other thing that I would suggest is when you do make those phone calls, consider the possibility of having a more focused conversation. Certainly just want to check in and see how things are doing, but what I've learned in my experience with my mom, who's 89, is, asking her a question. We happened to be together for Dad's 50th anniversary of his death, and we remembered that. So I asked her about her memories of that whole experience. Dad had dementia for seven years, and we were able to care for him at home that entire time. So I think that a more focused question using some of the technology that's available. And another thing that I would say that's really important is if you have a family member in a nursing home, do everything that you possibly can to show your face frequently. When we're not in the midst of COVID time, being able to visit often gives you an opportunity to have some face time with some of the staff. Building a trusting relationship with staff ahead of time is helpful. If you haven't been able to do that, and you're not able to visit, finding a way to try again, perhaps through some of the technology, to build a trusting relationship with staff members. And that'll help you to have an easier time connecting with your family member.

Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Herbert. And to our listeners, AARP has a tremendous resource that you can use. It's aarp.org/nursinghomes. There we have a nursing home dashboard with data on vaccination rates among staff and other data from particular facilities. There's also information on that site about questions to ask your nursing home or assisted-living facilities. This is time to be a real advocate for your loved ones, and you've got a lot of tools at your disposal. So check that out: aarp.org/nursinghomes.

Thanks to each of our experts for answering our questions today. This has been a really informative discussion. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners, for participating in the program today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, September 10th. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you'll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Please join us again September 23rd at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time for another live event, answering your questions about the coronavirus pandemic. We hope you can join us. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

[00:00:00] Bill Walsh: Hello, I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you'd like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:00:16] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:00:23] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. This week, Americans are taking time to pause and reflect on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Of course, these days the daily thread on most Americans’ minds is the surging COVID-19 pandemic. As the impact of the delta variant grows, so do concerns about safety, both at home and at work. Many older adults have questions and concerns related to vaccines, boosters, caring for and protecting their loved ones, and navigating the changing workplace. Today, we'll hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more.

[00:01:21] If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls before, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask your question live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you'd like to ask a question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

[00:01:52] Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts today and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3. And if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments section.

[00:02:15] We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including a medical expert, another on caregiving, and a business coach. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member. Or, if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question in the comments.

[00:02:54] Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D., is the chief medical officer for Watts Healthcare. He is the past president of the National Medical Association and past president of the California Immunization Coalition. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Brooks.

[00:03:13] Oliver Tate Brooks: Thank you. I'm happy to be back, Bill.

[00:03:16] Bill Walsh: All right. We're happy to have you. Also joining us today is Warren Hebert Jr., a doctor of nursing practice, a registered nurse, and a nursing professor at Loyola University of New Orleans. He is also the CEO of the HomeCare Association of Louisiana. Welcome back, Dr. Hebert.

[00:03:33] Warren Hebert: Thanks, Bill. Good to be with you again.

[00:03:36] Bill Walsh: All right, great to have you. And finally, Chester Elton. Chester Elton is a business coach and best-selling author of Anxiety at Work and Leading With Gratitude. Welcome to the program, Chester.

[00:03:50] Chester Elton: Delighted to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:03:52] Bill Walsh: All right, we're delighted to have you. Let's get started with the discussion, and just a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. Let's get started.

[00:04:07] Dr. Brooks, as the COVID cases climb, there are more breakthrough cases fueled by the delta variant. How is COVID different for someone who is vaccinated versus someone who is unvaccinated?

[00:04:20] Oliver Tate Brooks: All right. So let's look at it this way, let's start with getting COVID. If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get COVID. There was a study coming out of Seattle data that showed that the rate of COVID cases was 10 times higher in those who were not fully vaccinated. So you're less likely to get it if you are vaccinated. That being stated, there are breakthrough cases that are happening. So what I would say is this: First of all, if you get COVID and you're vaccinated, you get virus in your upper airway, your nasal passages, about at the same rate as someone who is unvaccinated. However, what happens when you're unvaccinated, that virus can spread through your body. When you're vaccinated, your body attacks and clears it, so you are less likely to spread it because you have it for a shorter period of time if you're vaccinated. Now to the actual question, if you get COVID and you are vaccinated, you are less likely to die or to get hospitalized, and there is some data, which is interesting for me, you're less likely to get long COVID, those symptoms that happen months or years later. So the bottom line is, be vaccinated, even with these breakthrough cases.

[00:05:39] Bill Walsh: Yeah, thanks for that. That was a very clear explanation. Dr. Brooks, another question for you. We're seeing a return to shortages of hospital beds and oxygen as a result of the delta variant. What expectations should someone have if their loved one needs, hospital care for something other than COVID?

[00:05:57] Oliver Tate Brooks: What I would say is this: They will likely be okay, but it's very regional. There's data showing that ICU beds or hospital beds are full of COVID patients in certain states where there's a high rate of COVID versus other states where it's not quite as bad. I literally was at the hospital this morning and I asked, and I was told that we have this. So I would say that, based on where you are, you will likely be able to get care. The problems that we had at the peak of the pandemic, at the beginning of this year, are not as bad on the hospitals based on your region. So if you go to the hospital, you should get good care.

[00:06:40] Bill Walsh: I mean we're hearing about people having to wait many, many hours to get care for non-COVID-related afflictions. You’re saying that's just a regional phenomenon and people should no doubt check with their hospital before they go?

[00:06:57] Oliver Tate Brooks: Exactly. Exactly. Because even within states, it'll be one city may have a shortage of beds, perhaps a shortage of oxygen. Another city within the same state may not.

[00:07:08] Bill Walsh: So should people skip an elective surgery? What about a flu shot or routine care? Should they put those things on hold?

[00:07:16] Oliver Tate Brooks: So let's start with the first one. I would say elective surgery, do it. Because if you think about it, as this delta variant is increasing the number of cases and the number of people hospitalized, if you put it off now — you wait till, let's say, November, it may be worse. So I would recommend getting an elective procedure done now. A flu shot, absolutely get your flu shot. Could you imagine a patient having influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, both primary respiratory diseases. So you do definitely want to get your flu shot. And then routine care, what happens, a lot of routine care was delayed when the pandemic was at its peak, and we physicians were doing primarily tele-visits or no visits. So I would say again, right now, get your routine care. Just keep in mind, right now the rates are on an upswing, so if you don't get it now and you wait, you may not get it for another six months. So absolutely, go get your routine care now.

[00:08:15] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Brooks. Dr. Hebert, let's turn to you. Over the past year and a half, the pandemic has posed a big challenge for family caregivers. In some parts of the country, Hurricane Ida and wildfires have only added to the challenges that caregivers are facing. What's the impact of the recent COVID surge on top of these incredibly tough conditions?

[00:08:41] Warren Hebert: Thank you, Bill. The challenge related to the percentage of folks who are vaccinated here in my state, in Louisiana, there are about 40 percent of folks who are fully vaccinated. The implications that that has for Hurricane Ida is that people are moving to shelters, or they're moving in with family and friends because their homes are no longer habitable. And for the high percentage of people who are unvaccinated, if you just lost your home, you're really not going to be thinking a lot about masking or distancing. That's going to be well down on your priority list because of the issues you're dealing with and the trauma around the hurricane or a wildfire. So I'll certainly go back to Dr. Brooks' comment about the importance of vaccinations in the midst of a traumatic event like the situations with hurricanes and wildfires. Being vaccinated makes your decisions so much easier. The challenge that we also have here in Louisiana, unlike some of the other areas, is that the rural hospitals, critical access hospitals, were already really at the verge of failure in their system. So as a result, rural hospitals that typically would send their patients who were ICU-type patients to urban centers where there are ICUs, ventilators, and ICU-competent nurses, the fact that the rural hospitals can no longer send folks there has been a real issue for the rural hospitals. When you add to that, in our case, Hurricane Ida, and the fact that so many of those hospitals that were in the path of the storm are no longer in operating condition. And it's going to take a while for some of them to come back online. So that further adds to the stress with hospital systems. And I suspect the same thing is true for our friends that are dealing with wildfires.

[00:10:45] Bill Walsh: Yeah, it just adds to the burden of family caregivers, I imagine. I mean, now you're wondering where to take, where can I take my loved one? What kind of medical care is even going to be available?

[00:10:56] Warren Hebert: Yeah, the family caregiver certainly has enough challenge and a significant burden just in typical times. Circumstances have moved me in with my 89-year-old mom, which has been a real gift for the two of us. But when we were preparing for Hurricane Ida, the decisions that we were trying to make related to the storm, whether we evacuate or not, which direction is the storm going to go in. And if we do evacuate, who do we evacuate with? And if some family members are vaccinated, then that makes it an easier decision because mom and I are both vaccinated. So again, this challenge of the family caregiver who already has a pretty significant burden, it adds to that because of the high degree of vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the country.

[00:11:48] Bill Walsh: Okay, thank you for that, Dr. Hebert. I'd like to bring Chester into the discussion now. Recently Delta Airlines announced that they're going to charge unvaccinated employees an extra $200 per month for health insurance and require weekly testing. Do you think this will incentivize employees to get their shots, and is this a model for other large employers to follow?

[00:12:13] Chester Elton: You know, Bill, it's such a great question because large employers are really trying to figure out how many carrots and how many sticks, right, is it going to take? And because you're a private employer, of course, you can mandate things, conditions of employment: You have to pass a drug test, you have to have a background check, and so on. My son is about to work for a big financial company, and the background checks and the research they do on them is really quite extensive. So I think this is an extension of that. But the problem with it is that this has become such a politically charged and socially charged issue that you have to be careful how to do it. Now Delta has done this I think for two reasons. One is insurance costs are going to go up if more of their people get COVID. I mean, that's just a reality. And so it's an incentive to reduce your health care if you're not vaccinated, right. It's also a kind of a nod to their employees that are vaccinated. Kind of a, hey, good for you, your health care is not going to go up. Whether the punitive model is going to become a mandate, I'm not so sure. I will tell you though that big employers are rapidly moving toward, if you are going to come into the workplace, we need to see proof of vaccination, and that is going to be a standard part of your employment contract. Now, if the question is, if I am working remotely, do I need to get vaccinated? Now I'm not coming in. So there's all these variations on the thing, and I'll tell you what's fascinating. We just did this massive research on anxiety in the workplace. The number one cause of anxiety is uncertainty. You know, what is required of me? So whether you're using the mandates, increasing health care insurance, or whatever it might be, the clear message is to have a clear message, with as little ambiguity as possible, so people know what they're coming into if they're going into the workplace, they know what the financial burden might be, and you know what, it's a tricky dance, Bill, it really is.

[00:14:15] Bill Walsh: Yeah. Have you seen larger employers opting more for sticks or carrots in trying to get their employees vaccinated?

[00:14:24] Chester Elton: Well, it's interesting. I think the government has offered lots of carrots, right? The vaccination is free. You can go anywhere. A lot of employers work at home and so on. I think a lot of employers have exhausted the carrots and now to get over that hump, they're bringing out the sticks and saying, look, if you're going to work here, you've got to be vaccinated. Now if you don't want to get vaccinated, that's okay. You just can't work here. Right? So I think you're going to see a lot more sticks and mandates in the coming months.

[00:14:54] Bill Walsh: Okay. Thank you very much for that, Chester. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3. And we're going to get to those live questions shortly. But before we do, I wanted to bring in Kristin Dillon. Kristin is the senior vice president of states and community engagement here at AARP. Welcome, Kristin.

[00:15:15] Kristin Dillon: Hi, Bill. I'm happy to be here.

[00:15:18] Bill Walsh: All right, happy to have you. In addition to sharing the most current coronavirus information, we'd like to take a few minutes to update our listeners on important issues facing Congress and how AARP is fighting for them. Kristin, this week congressional committees are working on some bills that will directly affect older Americans. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

[00:15:40] Kristin Dillon: Of course. This week's big three include prescription drug prices, new Medicare benefits, and caregiving. So first, AARP is fighting to stop unfair prices for prescription medication. Brand-name drug prices in the U.S. cost three times more than in similar countries, yet Medicare is barred from bargaining for lower drug costs. So AARP is urging Congress to give Medicare the power to negotiate for better prices. Second, Congress also has an opportunity to fill coverage gaps in Medicare by adding dental, hearing and vision benefits, which AARP also supports. Third, AARP is advocating to help address the financial challenges of working adults caring for a loved one by urging Congress to pass a new tax credit for eligible family caregivers.

[00:16:41] Bill Walsh: Those would be enormous changes and great benefits to a lot of our listeners and consumers around the country. Thanks for updating us on those. Shifting gears, this weekend marks a sobering milestone in America with the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We'd be remiss not to pause and remember. Is there a positive way to do that, to put thoughts into action?

[00:17:07] Kristin Dillon: Yes, there are things we can do and ways everyone can help. September 11th is now a federally recognized National Day of Service in the United States. In fact, 9/11 has grown to become the nation's largest day of charitable service.

[00:17:25] Bill Walsh: Does AARP have anything planned for this day of service?

[00:17:30] Kristin Dillon: Yes, AARP is involved. You know, community service has always been at the heart of our mission, but we pay special tribute every year on 9/11. So tomorrow, AARP staff and volunteers will be serving in their own communities, packing meals, supporting nonprofits, caring for others. With COVID, we can't gather in large groups, so volunteering may look different, but the spirit is the same, and the work is more important than ever.

[00:17:59] Bill Walsh: AARP was founded in service, wasn't it?

[00:18:04] Kristin Dillon: Yes, it was. You know, service is a cornerstone, and that foundation's quite a story. More than 60 years ago, our founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, discovered a retired teacher living inside an abandoned chicken coop. After retirement, the teacher couldn't afford to stay healthy, and when Ethel saw her poor living conditions, she felt compelled to do something. So she decided to commit her life to fighting injustice and transforming lives. That's AARP's origin story: not a boardroom but a chicken coop, with one person determined to create change. Ethel founded AARP with a motto to serve and not be served. And that motto still guides us today.

[00:18:51] Bill Walsh: It’s a wonderful story. If others want to volunteer for September 11th or beyond, are there ways to help and still stay safe during COVID?

[00:19:01] Kristin Dillon: Absolutely. There are plenty of ways to help even virtually or from your home. AARP has lots of ideas on our volunteer website: createthegood.org. Create the Good has local volunteer opportunities in your area, and also has a special section on volunteer opportunities you can do from home. So there are ways to stay safe and still help for anyone who would like to do so.

[00:19:29] Bill Walsh: Createthegood.org. Very good. Thank you so much, Kristin, for sharing the legislative update and for being with us today.

[00:19:38] Kristin Dillon: Thank you for having me.

[00:19:40] Bill Walsh: All right. It's now time to address your questions about the coronavirus pandemic with Dr. Oliver Brooks, Dr. Warren Hebert and Chester Elton. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question live. If you'd like to listen in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:20:10] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:20:11] Now I'd like to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean.

[00:20:17] Jean Setzfand: Thanks, Bill. Delighted to be here.

[00:20:20] Bill Walsh: All right. Let's take our first caller.

[00:20:26] Jean Setzfand: All right. Our first caller is Elsie from Wisconsin.

[00:20:31] Bill Walsh: Hey, Elsie, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question. Hi, Elsie, are you with us? Hi, Elsie, go ahead with your question.

[00:20:50] Elsie: I'm going to be 90. Should I have my vaccination?

[00:20:57] Bill Walsh: I'm sorry, say that one more time.

[00:20:59] Elsie: I'm going to be 90 — 90 years old.

[00:21:05] Bill Walsh: Fantastic. What's your question for us today, Elsie?

[00:21:09] Elsie: Do I need that vaccination?

[00:21:13] Bill Walsh: Well, I would venture to say yes, but I'm going to let Dr. Brooks give you a more fulsome answer to that. Dr. Brooks.

[00:21:24] Oliver Tate Brooks: As you stated, Bill, the answer is yes. If she's turning 90 — and all goodness to you, Elsie, for living such a long life. If you are 90, you’re in an age range that is more likely to have complications from getting COVID-19, so you should absolutely get vaccinated. And then another thing I will say, Bill, it's never too late. So I think that's important. She should get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available, and do it as soon as possible.

[00:21:58] Bill Walsh: Very good. Thanks for that, Dr. Brooks. Okay, Jean, who is our next questioner?

[00:22:04] Jean Setzfand: Our next questioner is Ellis from New Jersey.

[00:22:08] Bill Walsh: Hey, Ellis, go ahead with your question.

[00:22:12] Ellis: Yes, hi. My question is, I'm a substitute teacher, and I was home for a year and a half because of the pandemic, and my unemployment benefits ran out. So now I'm considering going back. But even though I'm vaccinated — I got my two shots in March — I'm still concerned about breakthrough infections, possibly, and getting, coming down with COVID despite being vaccinated. What should I do? Should I be concerned, or what measures can I take?

[00:22:41] Bill Walsh: About heading back to the classroom, you mean.

[00:22:44] Ellis: Yeah.

[00:22:46] Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, do you want to field that one?

[00:22:49] Oliver Tate Brooks: Certainly. Here's what I would recommend. First of all, again, we much appreciate teachers. These children have missed a full year, plus or minus, they've missed a lot of time of being in the classroom, and that's part of learning, the socialization. What I would say is, again, if you're vaccinated, you have a much lower chance of getting COVID, sick from COVID, dying from COVID. That being stated, when you go into the classroom, you should follow infection control procedures as best you can. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, as best as you can, keep a six-foot distance. And then, a lot of the school districts have a formal testing protocol. So follow the formal testing protocol of your school district, which is for both the teachers, the administration, and likely for the students also. I think it is crucially important to get the schools going again, and so I think it is reasonable for you to go back into the classroom.

[00:23:52] Bill Walsh: Chester, let me bring you into the discussion here. You know, Ellis is a teacher, but many employees around the country in different industries are having the same kinds of concerns. Do you have any advice for them? Any questions they should ask their employers?

[00:24:09] Chester Elton: Absolutely. Again, I love the advice of Dr. Brooks. Follow the protocols that are in place where you work, and ask lots of questions. It’s really interesting. I was thinking the other day, when you get a new job, you plan out your commute, you know, where are you going to do lunch, and, and you fill in all those blanks. The same thing should be true when you're going back to work. Ask lots of questions. Do I need to wear a mask? Is there social distancing? Do I have to bring my vaccination card? What are the protocols? So that you're going really informed. You know, anxiety and stress levels go up when you just are uncertain about what's going on. Are the other people vaccinated? You know, who is, what's the percent of vaccination. All those questions are fair questions, and your employers should be easily able to answer those things. And once you know that, where are you going to be able to have lunch? You're going to know what your hours are, what your commute is. I think that brings your anxiety levels down quite a bit, and it allows you to more freely interact with your coworkers. You know where it's safe, and that's my recommendation. Ask lots of questions, know what the rules are, and abide by the rules.

[00:25:27] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks very much for that, Dr. Brooks and Chester. Jean, let's take another question.

[00:25:34] Jean Setzfand: Our next question is coming from Lana of Massachusetts.

[00:25:39] Bill Walsh: Hey, Lana. Welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:25:43] Lana: Thank you. My question is in response to an article that was in the Lowell Sun that I think they might've got the study also from stuff from an article that was in the Boston Herald or Boston Globe, because of the way it was referenced. And I forget who exactly wrote the article. But there was a study that was done since the onslaught of the COVID-19 in regards to alcohol. So there was an increase in the alcohol intake of people during that period. So I realize that people, they might be dealing with people that have died, like grieving or loss of work or whatever. So how do we cope with the COVID-19 in a constructive way, because these people, if they're addicts or something, they're going to end up in our hospitals, you know, that are already overflowing. You know what I'm talking about? We have the opioid in some cities. So I'm just wondering how we can deal with things a little bit better.

[00:26:53] Bill Walsh: Dr. Hebert, I wonder if you can weigh in on that question from Lana, which is really about how to deal with the stress in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

[00:27:05] Warren Hebert: Lana, thank you. This is a very important question. We talk a great deal about resilience just on an average, typical day. What are the things that you can handle from an emotional and psychological perspective from the standpoint of the stress that you're dealing with? You bring out an excellent point that not only has COVID pushed many of us closer to that line where perhaps we don't have control of our situation anymore. But when we look at a lot of the political challenges we've had over the last five or six years, those things have also added a great deal of stress. And I'll go back to what Bill asked about earlier — wildfires and the storms and that sort of thing. So what are the things that you can do to be more resilient? Some things that the experts say is exercise is very important. Just getting out, getting out for a walk, perhaps at a time of the day that fits your schedule. A person's faith life. No matter what wisdom, tradition or religion you follow, people who have a strong faith life often are able to deal with stress in a much better way. If you have the good fortune of having connections with someone who is a counselor or perhaps a pastor, being able to talk things out with people certainly helps. And if you're in a relationship where you're able to discuss those things that are causing you concern, those relationships, having good relationships can make a huge difference. And the last thing I'll mention is to connect with other people. Isolation, the fact that people are dealing with loneliness and that increases during times like these means that that there's going to be a great deal more stress. So finding ways to connect with others, whether it's in your family unit, whether it's within your community organizations that you belong to, reaching out really helps a lot. But that's a great question, Lana.

[00:29:02] Bill Walsh: All right. Dr. Hebert, thanks so much for that. Jean, who do we have next?

[00:29:07] Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is John from South Carolina.

[00:29:11] Bill Walsh: Hey, John, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:29:15] John: Yeah. Thank you. I had a question just about the booster shot. What can you tell us about those? When should we get them? Why we should get them? And when will they be available?

[00:29:27] Bill Walsh: And when available. Okay, Dr. Brooks, can you help us out with some questions on boosters?

[00:29:34] Oliver Tate Brooks: All right. Yeah, John, that's an excellent question. I think that's one of the questions of the day. Let's make a distinguishing note between boosters and an additional shot. So people who need an additional shot is 28 days after the first one, and that is for those who are immunosuppressed. That has already been determined. That's about 3 percent of the population. The term booster means that you had immunity and for whatever reason, there is a need to boost the immunity. Children, when they go to kindergarten, get their booster shots. Okay, that's just a requirement for kindergarten in most states. So that's the concept. As of now the ACIP nor the FDA has given full approval for a booster shot. So honestly, right now we're putting the cart in front of the horse. There will be a meeting on these issues, or this issue on the booster shot, probably in the next month or so, probably less than that. And the determination will be made. If there is the approval — and recommendation is even a better word — for a booster, it would be — and it's only for the mRNA vaccines, the Pfizer and the Moderna — it would be eight months after you got your second dose. So this is more or less where we are at this point. I don't know if there's any more than I can speak on right now, that I should speak on, but I think that it's important to understand that as of now, there is no formal recommendation for a booster dose. And lastly, I will say for the J&J vaccine, the J&J vaccine came out, it came to market, approximately three months after the mRNA vaccines for Pfizer and Moderna. So there's no data yet to determine whether or not if you got the J&J vaccine, you will even need a booster. So John, that was an excellent question.

[00:31:46] Bill Walsh: Yeah, and John hang with us, because I have a few other questions related to boosters in our next segment. So just hang with us and we will get to those. And I want to thank our listeners for all the questions. We're going to take more of those questions shortly. And remember, to ask your question, press *3 on your telephone keypad now. And if you'd like to listen to this program in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad right now.

[00:32:21] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:32:21] So Dr. Brooks, let's dive into boosters a little bit more. I know this is top of mind for a lot of people, and we've been receiving a lot of questions on this in recent weeks. So I'm going to run through five questions, and so maybe you can give us some fairly quick answers to each one of them. So I know that you had just prefaced your comments about boosters with the fact that they haven't been approved for use yet. But do we expect that someone will be able to get a booster earlier than eight months, which has been the timeline we've heard so much about?

[00:33:02] Oliver Tate Brooks: Right. So what will happen with any medication if it's FDA approved, the physician can use it, quote-unquote, off label. But right now the thought is it's going to be eight months after your second dose. Someone could theoretically get it. But the problem with doing that is there is no data that shows that that's indicated, and so if there is some type of untoward reaction, there's no good coverage for the physician who would have done this, and for the patient, you receive the vaccine outside of the formal recommendation. So I would say right now there's no data to even say you need to get it prior than eight months. So my recommendation is, assuming that it gets approved, that I would follow the recommendation, which is likely going to be eight months after your second dose.

[00:33:46] Bill Walsh: Okay. And when can we expect to hear a formal approval related to boosters?

[00:33:53] Oliver Tate Brooks: I would say in the next couple of weeks, next two to four weeks.

[00:33:56] Bill Walsh: Couple of weeks, okay. Now the Pfizer and Moderna boosters, would they be compatible?

[00:34:04] Oliver Tate Brooks: So the general recommendation for almost all vaccines is to complete a series with the same one. And that will be likely the recommendation for the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. However, importantly, if the one that you got is unavailable, or you just don't know which one you got for whatever reason, the booster, those, when indicated, could be either of them. So that would — go with the one that you got. But if you don't know, if it's not available, get whichever one's available.

[00:34:44] Bill Walsh: Okay, and is the booster the same potency as those first two shots?

[00:34:50] Oliver Tate Brooks: Right now, it seems to be, but again, that'll be the data that will be reviewed by the FDA and the ACIP, the advisory committee on immunization practices of the CDC.

[00:35:02] Bill Walsh: Okay, so then is there anything we can say about side effects? Would those be similar to the original shots?

[00:35:09] Oliver Tate Brooks: Well, what we've been seeing, the data is showing that people, if they got a third mRNA vaccine, the side effects were similar to that of the two-dose series: fatigue, pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects. And most of the symptoms were mild to moderate. So the side effect profile seems to be about the same as with the first two doses.

[00:35:38] Bill Walsh: Okay, and then finally, what do we know about boosters for folks with the J&J, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

[00:35:44] Oliver Tate Brooks: Right, so I touched on that. So again, remember the reason that people need boosters is because the immunity seems to wane somewhat from the first two for the mRNA. For the J&J, we just don't know. So I'd say, if you've got the J&J vaccine, just kind of be patient, because first that means you got it later, because it didn't come out until March, so your immunity is still there. And so as the studies come in, as soon as there's more information on the J&J immunity and the longevity of that immunity and the need for a booster, we will review that information to make a recommendation.

[00:36:24] Bill Walsh: Okay. All right, well, we'll keep an eye on things over the next couple of weeks and see what the FDA panel is going to say about boosters. Thanks so much, Dr. Brooks. I'd like to bring Dr. Hebert and Chester Elton back into the conversation, have each of you respond to this next question. An AARP study found that most working caregivers are worried how they will manage everything when they return to work. They're worried about leaving loved ones at home, and that flexibility during the pandemic will be taken away. What options do they have for caring for their loved ones when they return to work? And what should someone do if they're experiencing stress or anxiety about returning to work? We had touched on that a little bit before. Dr. Hebert, do you want to kick us off there?

[00:37:10] Warren Hebert: Thank you, Bill. I think that the real gift to this panel is that we're all supporting a lot of the good science that's out there. You know, Dr. Brooks talked a little bit earlier again about the importance of being vaccinated. If the caregiver is vaccinated, then they are going to be much, much less likely to bring something from work back to a loved one that they're caring about. The delta variant has shown that there is a greater chance than has been in the past with the original strain of the virus. But the things that we can do, again, I'm echoing what Dr. Brooks said earlier, and that is wearing masks and washing, distancing, being aware of testing protocols that are happening within the workplace. All of those things will mean that you're going to be safer coming back to that loved one. Another thing is, the work setting varies. If it's someone who's working in a professional role as a formal caregiver — a nurse or working in a health care setting — then those are things that need to be considered with regards to the increased risk. On the other hand, someone who might be working outside, who is in a place where they're not in tight quarters with other people, would have less risk. So it varies depending on where that informal caregiver or family caregiver is working.

[00:38:40] Bill Walsh: Okay. Chester, how about you? What options do people have for caring for their loved ones when they return to work?

[00:38:48] Chester Elton: You know, I think it's so important for you to have protocols. Just like doctors, when they go in to have surgery, there's a routine that they go through. And we talked about this with the other two doctors, and I think it's really important. What are your protocols? Wash your hands, wear your mask, do the social distancing. If you've got good protocols in place and you're keeping yourself safe, you’re in turn keeping everyone else safe. And again, I can't stress enough, get as much information from your employer, as much information as you can, as to the setting, the protocols for the entire team, the entire workplace. And I think a lot of it, too, is again, if you're commuting, if you're just driving in, that makes it pretty simple. You know — I live near New York City — sometimes it's the drive to the train, through the train station, train to the subway, to the subway — there's a lot of motion in there. So get your protocols straight, get your rituals, if you want to call it that, straight, and make sure you're doing everything to keep yourself safe, so that you keep everyone around you safe. And I think that lowers a lot of your own anxiety, that you've done everything required of you. That makes sense, don't you think?

[00:40:08] Bill Walsh: Yeah, it sure does. And Chester, you've talked already a lot about increased stress with the anticipation of returning to work. Do employers anticipate an increase in mental health struggles in the workplace once folks return to the workforce, and what steps have they taken to prepare for that?

[00:40:28] Chester Elton: Absolutely. I mean, it's already happening. You're seeing — listen, my co-author, Adrian Gostick, and I, we do a lot of executive coaching as well. And this is, mental health in the workplace, if it's not their top issue, if it's not number one, it's 1A. And so you're seeing a lot more employee assistance programs, you know, really encouragement there. You're seeing Walmart, for example, has made mental health their number one issue. So they're doing training, they're doing counseling. They even did a thing —which was kind of fun —they gave everybody a free download of an app, a meditation app. And that sounds kind of funny, and yet personal rituals of meditation and eating right and getting sleep and exercising, some of the things we've talked about, I think are very, very important. So absolutely employers are seeing the uptick, whether they're staying remote or coming into the workplace. And you're seeing a lot of businesses take a very proactive approach to that. son works at American Express, for example, in the city, and their hotlines, and their information lines, and their websites of their employees are all about when are we going to expect you to come back to work? Here's what it's going to look like. And we've heard it before, too. Different parts of the country are going to have different protocols. If you're in a state with low vaccination, the protocols are going to be different than if you're in a state with a high level of vaccination. So if employers aren't displaying that kind of thing, they're going to be more and more rare. It seems to me like every company of any size knows that mental health is going to be their number one issue. And of course, if you're worried about your health, if you're anxious, if you're stressed, you don't give good work. You can't be innovative. You can't be giving the levels of service that you want to your coworkers and your customers. So long answer to a short question: Yes is the answer.

[00:42:30] Bill Walsh: All right. Very good. Thanks for that, Chester. Really appreciate it. Now it's time to address more of your questions with Dr. Oliver Brooks, Dr. Warren Herbert and Chester Elton. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to get in the queue to ask that question live. Jean, who do we have next on the line?

[00:42:52] Jean Setzfand: We have quite a few questions on YouTube and Facebook, so I'm going to use one from YouTube, from Martin. And Martin's asking, "What's the recommended timing between a flu shot and a COVID booster shot?"

[00:43:05] Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, can you handle that?

[00:43:07] Oliver Tate Brooks: Yes. So initially we were wanting at least two weeks’ separation from any vaccine in a COVID-19 shot, but that was primarily to be able to determine side effects. And if you got a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, how would I know if the fever was coming from one or the other? The recommendation now is there need be no separation. They can be co-administered. So when you go in for your flu shot, if you're unvaccinated, you get your COVID-19 vaccine also.

[00:43:38] Bill Walsh: Okay, very good. Jean, who is up next?

[00:43:43] Jean Setzfand: The next caller is Lori from Maryland.

[00:43:47] Bill Walsh: Hey, Lori, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:43:51] Lori: Thank you for taking my question. My question is this: My mother is 95 years old, and she has a caregiver who comes to her house that is vaccinated, but she has two young children that go to a public school, and they just returned to school. And my concern is the delta variant, and how protected can my mother be with this woman who comes and takes care of her?

[00:44:21] Bill Walsh: Interesting question. Dr. Hebert, can you weigh in on that?

[00:44:25] Warren Hebert: Yeah, I'm happy to. Lori, I'm living with my 89-year-old mom right now, and Mom just got news that she has two new great-grandchildren who are going to be cousins born on May 1st. So all of these grandchildren, great-grandchildren that she's having, certainly are part of the issue for those of us that are caring for our parents who are aging. The first thing I would say is, kudos and bravo to the caregiver who's vaccinated. Unfortunately a lot of people working in these roles still choose not to be vaccinated, so wonderful that your mom has this caregiver who's vaccinated. Following the protocols even after vaccination is a really good thing because the masking, the handwashing, the distancing — those things are very important. So I would suggest that that caregiver, even though she's vaccinated — because of the fact that she's with children but just in general — it's good for her to wear a mask as the caregiver, wash your hands frequently. You know, there are aspects of caregiving that can be done outside. My daughter is a nurse practitioner who works in a homecare setting, and when all of this first happened, she said, "Dad, what do you think?" And I said, "Gee, if you can visit on the porch or the patio, those are some things from a caregiving perspective that help to reduce the risk." So again, great that the caregiver's vaccinated. There's still a lot of good precautions that you can take that are well documented out there. Thank you.

[00:45:58] Bill Walsh: Do you think Lori, I mean, with her 95-year-old mom, should ask the agency for a different caregiver, or do you think that the kind of precautions you just described would be sufficient?

[00:46:10] Warren Hebert: I think that you can certainly have that conversation. Lori, you know, whatever makes you comfortable as the family member, having that conversation would be important. I would think that this particular caregiver, if she's a good fit and a good match for your mother and you. You are perhaps taking on a new challenge if you get a different caregiver who doesn't have children but maybe might not be as good a fit. So it really is a balancing act when it comes to the caregivers that are coming into the home setting.

[00:46:45] Bill Walsh: Okay. Dr. Hebert, thanks so much for that. Jean, let's take another question.

[00:46:51] Jean Setzfand: All right. Our next caller is Shahir calling from California.

[00:46:56] Bill Walsh: Hey, Shahir, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:47:00] Shahir: Hi, Bill, thanks for taking my call. I'm an insurance agent and getting ready for AAP, and part of that process is I have several community meetings scheduled. The setting is in a closed room within a restaurant. And my question for your panel is this. We were expecting 10, somewhere between 15 to 25 people to attend this meeting. My partner or I are both fully vaccinated. We wear masks. My question is, is it safe to be in that kind of a setting with, say, 15 to 25 other individuals? And if we don't know if they are, they have the vaccinations or if they're going to wear their masks or not. And can we ask them to wear their masks?

[00:47:55] Bill Walsh: It's a great question. Chester, I wonder if you could address that.

[00:48:01] Chester Elton: Absolutely. Listen, in business settings, you can absolutely put the rules in place as to when they come. If you feel like it's going to be a fairly confined space, you can say absolutely, and pass out masks at the door. You know, look we've been living with the virus long enough now that those simple things, I mean, I'm about to get on a plane late this afternoon. Everybody wears a mask. That's the deal. If you get on the plane, you wear a mask. So just set it up the way you want people to feel safe and you feel safe. And having masks at the door, having some disinfectant at the door — say, welcome, here's your name tag, put a little dab of disinfectant on their hands, say, guys, we really love you being here. To keep everybody safe and to keep you safe, we'd really appreciate if you wear your mask. You keep it in a really positive vein, that you're really doing it for them to keep everybody safe. And you know what, more often than not — and I'm convinced well over 90 percent — people appreciate the fact that you're looking out for them. There'll be those rare people that will cause a bit of a fuss, and that's okay. They don't need to come to the meeting, right? For the good of the people in the meeting, set it up, make it really positive, position yourself as an ally: Hey, we're in this together. I'm looking out for you. You're looking out for me. You'll have a great meeting. It'll be great.

[00:49:25] Bill Walsh: Great. All right. I love that, Chester. Thanks so much. Let's take another question.

[00:49:32] Jean Setzfand: Our next question is coming from Bill in Georgia.

[00:49:37] Bill Walsh: Hey, Bill. Love your, love your first name. Go ahead with your question.

[00:49:42] Bill: Okay. I had COVID, but I've also been fully vaccinated, and I wondered how much immunity is conferred by actually having COVID versus the immunity you get through the mRNA vaccination?

[00:50:02] Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, can you answer that question for Bill?

[00:50:05] Oliver Tate Brooks: Yes, Bill. First of all, thank you for being vaccinated, and sorry you got COVID. There's been a lot of data coming out and some actually may be a little conflicting. Data that I saw showed that you have waning or lowering of immunity after getting COVID. I've also heard the other side, that COVID may confer excellent immunity. Natural infection generally confers excellent immunity. That really doesn't seem the case overall. But the key to this, if you had COVID and then you were fully vaccinated — then there's no clear data for me to speak on but you probably have a very strong immunity to the virus. So I would say this for me answering that question, for those that have had COVID, I still recommend, and it is recommended, that you get fully vaccinated.

[00:51:05] Bill Walsh: Thanks so much for that, Dr. Brooks. Who's next on the line, Jean?

[00:51:13] Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Joanne from Delaware.

[00:51:18] Bill Walsh: All right. Joanne, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:51:22] Joanne: I have in-home caregivers. And I'm wondering about, I know that when you go out, you're walking where people have had COVID have walked. When they come into your home, should they take their shoes off? They could take their shoes off at my front door.

[00:51:43] Bill Walsh: Right, right. Dr. Brooks, do you want to weigh in on that? What kind of precautions should Joanne and others ask visitors to take when they come to her home?

[00:51:52] Oliver Tate Brooks: Well, you know, my mother had a care … again, the 95-year-old mother, when the caregivers came, they put the little booties over their shoes. But that was not for COVID. I think it was just for general cleanliness. So the experience I have is that is a standard practice? I think that's not unreasonable. To answer her question more directly, there is little evidence that covering your shoes makes any difference. COVID is not, generally speaking, on your shoe. It's a respiratory virus, and you have minimal to no risk of spreading COVID by someone wearing shoes versus not wearing shoes or taking them off into your house.

[00:52:37] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks very much for that, Dr. Brooks. Jean, who is our next caller?

[00:52:44] Jean Setzfand: Our next question is actually coming from YouTube. And the question is coming from Hero798, who wants to know how to find out if your health care provider is actually vaccinated. Is there a way to do that?

[00:53:01] Bill Walsh: I would imagine so. Dr. Hebert, do you want to weigh in on that?

[00:53:07] Warren Hebert: Bill, thank you. And Hero798, that's a great question. My mother actually receives home health care, and I actually asked the admitting nurse whether she was vaccinated or not. So you can certainly just ask the question. But another thing that you can do is to call the company if it's a formal caregiver that's hired. Most of the companies will not let you know whether that person's vaccinated or not, but the fact that you're asking the question, you can make a request that the person who's coming out to the home to care for your mother, to care for that older person, or to care for you, you can make that request that they send someone who's vaccinated.

[00:53:50] Bill Walsh: Right, right, or ask for somebody else. Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Herbert. Let's turn back to our expert panel for a moment. Dr. Brooks, despite evidence to the contrary, some pundits and politicians have recently blamed unvaccinated African Americans for the latest surge in many states. How do you respond to those remarks?

[00:54:11] Oliver Tate Brooks: Okay, Bill, interesting. Okay, I would say this. The rate of vaccination is somewhat lower in African Americans than the general population; approximately 50 percent of whites would say they're fully vaccinated versus 40 percent of Blacks. So that's a bit of a difference. However, African Americans are only 12 percent of the population. So you're talking about a small, relatively small population. So there is that disparity. And other data that was from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 70 percent of whites said that they already got vaccinated versus 65 percent. So the differences in the vaccination rates are not that great. So I would say that I don't think that information is accurate. I would also say, and you said this [inaudible], the other thing is that the way that this delta variant is spreading is not, well, it's partially obviously vaccinated versus unvaccinated, but mask wearing is huge. So if everyone wore a mask, 100 percent of people, and they were around other people, then you would have less spread. And the data shows that mask wearing has become partisan. The data shows that the majority of Republicans never wear a mask versus the majority of Democrats do. So honestly, here's the way I really look at that. Well, lastly, I'll say, 67 percent of the population in the United States are white. Okay, unvaccinated. So again, okay, here's where we go with all of that. All of that is more or less irrelevant, and this is why. The only way we're going to get to the other side of this pandemic is for us to get vaccinated and us to follow infection control, which is mask wearing. But there's a third element. Okay, the movie War of the Worlds, when we were being attacked by aliens, we all came together. We're talking about the 20th anniversary of 9/11. When 9/11 hit, the world came together in support of the United States. Our adversaries, if you will, Russia and China, I think sent good positive messages. The last thing is, the only way we're going to get to the other side of this pandemic is to work together, to come together as a nation, not Baltic states of whites, Blacks, poor, rural, whatever. That's not going to work. This is a worldwide pandemic. It's getting worse right now as opposed to getting better. And so I think that we need to think beyond that. Ultimately, if someone said that their next statement would be to me, well, how do I get more Blacks vaccinated, that's what I would want to hear, because as opposed if they really felt that way, the answer is not to point fingers, the answer is to make the problem better. It's a non-issue, but the deeper concern in that statement is the partisan divide, individualism, the lack of cohesiveness. We've got to get past that or this pandemic will not go away.

[00:57:36] Bill Walsh: Okay. Thanks for that, Dr. Brooks. Dr. Hebert, I want to ask you a question that's really been on the minds of a lot of our listeners. You know, as COVID cases increased, nursing homes are limiting activities and reducing visitations. It's a huge setback for families. How can you remain connected with loved ones? And what advice do you have for families in this situation?

[00:58:00] Warren Hebert: Bill, it was a real challenge back when COVID first visited us and the separation that family members experienced. Since then we've learned a lot. We've learned that we can connect through FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype. We can place phone calls on a regular basis. I mean, I sort of got a kick out of one of the workshops that I did, used the acronym P-O-T-S: plain old telephone system. So making phone calls. The other thing that I would suggest is when you do make those phone calls, consider the possibility of having a more focused conversation. Certainly just want to check in and see how things are doing, but what I've learned in my experience with my mom, who's 89, is, asking her a question. We happened to be together for Dad's 50th anniversary of his death, and we remembered that. So I asked her about her memories of that whole experience. Dad had dementia for seven years, and we were able to care for him at home that entire time. So I think that a more focused question using some of the technology that's available. And another thing that I would say that's really important is if you have a family member in a nursing home, do everything that you possibly can to show your face frequently. When we're not in the midst of COVID time, being able to visit often gives you an opportunity to have some face time with some of the staff. Building a trusting relationship with staff ahead of time is helpful. If you haven't been able to do that, and you're not able to visit, finding a way to try again, perhaps through some of the technology, to build a trusting relationship with staff members. And that'll help you to have an easier time connecting with your family member.

[00:59:47] Bill Walsh: Okay, thanks for that, Dr. Herbert. And to our listeners, AARP has a tremendous resource that you can use. It's aarp.org/nursinghomes. There we have a nursing home dashboard with data on vaccination rates among staff and other data from particular facilities. There's also information on that site about questions to ask your nursing home or assisted-living facilities. This is time to be a real advocate for your loved ones, and you've got a lot of tools at your disposal. So check that out: aarp.org/nursinghomes.

[01:00:26] Thanks to each of our experts for answering our questions today. This has been a really informative discussion. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners, for participating in the program today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, September 10th. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you'll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Please join us again September 23rd at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time for another live event, answering your questions about the coronavirus pandemic. We hope you can join us. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Bill Walsh: Hola, soy el vicepresidente de AARP, Bill Walsh, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. Antes de comenzar, si desean escuchar esta teleasamblea en español, presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

 

[En español]

 

Bill Walsh: AARP, una organización de membresía sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los estadounidenses mayores durante más de 60 años. Frente a la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP proporciona información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

 

Esta semana, los estadounidenses se están tomando un tiempo para hacer una pausa y reflexionar sobre el vigésimo aniversario de los ataques del 11 de septiembre. Por supuesto, en estos días, la amenaza diaria en la mente de la mayoría de los estadounidenses es la creciente pandemia de COVID 19. A medida que aumenta el impacto de la variante delta, también aumentan las preocupaciones sobre la seguridad, tanto en el hogar como en el trabajo.

 

Muchos adultos mayores tienen preguntas e inquietudes relacionadas con las vacunas, los refuerzos, el cuidado y la protección de sus seres queridos y cómo manejarse con los cambios en el lugar de trabajo. Hoy, escucharemos a un impresionante panel de expertos hablar sobre estos temas y otros.

 

Si ya han participado de alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, saben que es similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tienen la oportunidad de hacer su pregunta en vivo. Para aquellos de ustedes que nos acompañan por teléfono, si desean hacer una pregunta sobre la pandemia de coronavirus, presionen * 3 en su teléfono para comunicarse con un miembro del personal de AARP. Anotaremos su nombre y su pregunta, y los colocaremos en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Si se unen a través de Facebook o YouTube, pueden publicar su pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Hola, si acaban de unirse, soy Bill Walsh de AARP y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Hoy estaremos hablando con expertos y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3. Y si se unen a través de Facebook o YouTube, pueden publicar su pregunta en la sección de comentarios. Hoy tenemos unos invitados sobresalientes. Entre ellos, un experto médico, otro en cuidados y un entrenador de negocios. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand, quien ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas.

 

Este evento está siendo grabado y podrán acceder a la grabación en aarp.org/coronavirus 24 horas después de que terminemos. Nuevamente, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP, o si se unen a través de Facebook o YouTube, coloquen su pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Ahora, me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestros invitados. El Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks es el director médico de Watts Healthcare. Es el expresidente de la Asociación Médica Nacional y expresidente de la Coalición de Inmunización de California. Bienvenido nuevamente al programa, Dr. Brooks.

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Gracias. Feliz de estar de vuelta, Bill.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Un placer tenerlo aquí. También nos acompaña hoy Warren Hebert Jr., doctor en práctica de enfermería, enfermero registrado y profesor de enfermería en Loyola University de Nueva Orleans. También es el director ejecutivo de la Homecare Association of Louisiana. Bienvenido de nuevo, Dr. Hebert.

 

Warren Hebert Jr.: Gracias, Bill. Un placer estar de nuevo con ustedes.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Es genial tenerlo aquí. Y finalmente, Chester Elton. Chester Elton es un entrenador de negocios y autor consagrado de "Ansiedad en el trabajo" y "Liderando con gratitud". Bienvenido al programa, Chester.

 

Chester Elton: Encantado de estar aquí. Gracias por invitarme.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Estamos encantados de tenerlo aquí. Comencemos con la discusión. Solo un recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer una pregunta, por favor presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono o escriban en la sección de comentarios de Facebook o YouTube. Empecemos.

 

Dr. Brooks, a medida que aumentan los casos de COVID-19, hay más casos de infecciones posvacunación debido a la variante delta. ¿Qué diferencia tiene la COVID-19 para alguien que está vacunado y para alguien que no lo está?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Muy bien. Bueno, veámoslo de esta manera. Empecemos por el contagio de la COVID-19. Si está vacunado, es menos probable que contraiga COVID-19. Hubo un estudio que salió en Seattle, datos que mostraron que la tasa de casos de COVID-19 era 10 veces mayor en aquellos que no estaban completamente vacunados. Es menos probable que lo contraiga si está vacunado.

 

Dicen que están surgiendo casos posvacunación. Lo que diría es esto. En primer lugar, si contrae COVID-19 y está vacunado, contrae el virus en las vías respiratorias superiores, los conductos nasales, aproximadamente al mismo ritmo que alguien que no está vacunado. Sin embargo, lo que sucede cuando no está vacunado, es que ese virus puede propagarse por el cuerpo.

 

Cuando está vacunado, el cuerpo lo ataca y lo elimina, por lo que es menos probable que se propague porque lo tiene por un período más corto. Ahora, a la pregunta en sí. Si contrae COVID-19 y está vacunado, es menos probable que muera o sea hospitalizado. Hay algunos datos que me interesan. Es menos probable que tenga COVID-19 por un tiempo prolongado, esos síntomas que ocurren meses o años después. Lo fundamental es vacunarse incluso con estos casos posvacunación.

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias por eso. Esa fue una explicación muy clara. Dr. Brooks, otra pregunta para usted. Estamos viendo que regresa la disponibilidad de camas de hospital y oxígeno luego de la variante delta. ¿Qué expectativa debería tener alguien, si él o un ser querido necesita atención hospitalaria por algo que no sea COVID-19?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Lo que yo diría es esto. Probablemente estarán bien, pero es muy regional. Hay datos que muestran que las camas de la UCI o las camas de hospital están llenas de pacientes con COVID-19 en ciertos estados donde hay una alta tasa de COVID-19 en comparación con otros estados donde la tasa no es tan alta. Literalmente salí del hospital esta mañana y pregunté y me dijeron que teníamos camas.

 

Yo diría que, según el lugar donde uno se encuentre, es probable que pueda recibir atención. Los problemas que tuvimos en el pico de la pandemia a principios de este año no son tan graves en los hospitales de sus regiones. Si vas al hospital, deberías recibir una buena atención.

 

Bill Walsh: Estamos escuchando que las personas tienen que esperar muchas, muchas horas para recibir atención para aflicciones no relacionadas con la COVID-19. ¿Está diciendo que es un fenómeno regional y que la gente sin duda debería consultar con su hospital antes de ir?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Exactamente. Incluso dentro de los estados, será una ciudad la que tenga escasez de camas, quizás escasez de oxígeno. Otra ciudad dentro del mismo estado puede que no.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Debería la gente saltarse una cirugía electiva? ¿Qué hay de la vacuna contra la gripe o la atención de rutina? ¿Deberían suspender esas cosas?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Empecemos por la primera. Yo diría que la cirugía electiva, sí. Si lo piensa, como esta variante delta está aumentando el número de casos y el número de personas hospitalizadas, si lo pospone ahora y espera hasta noviembre, puede que sea peor. Recomendaría hacerse un procedimiento electivo ahora. Una vacuna contra la gripe, absolutamente, vacúnense contra la gripe.

 

¿Se imaginan a un paciente con influenza y COVID-19 al mismo tiempo, ambas enfermedades respiratorias primarias? Definitivamente es bueno vacunarse contra la gripe. Con la atención de rutina, qué sucede, mucha atención de rutina se retrasó cuando la pandemia estaba en su apogeo y los médicos estábamos haciendo principalmente telemedicina o nada directamente.

 

Diría nuevamente, ahora busquen su atención de rutina. Tengan en cuenta que ahora, las tasas están en alza. Si no lo hace ahora y espera, es posible que no lo reciba durante otros seis meses. Por supuesto, vayan a recibir atención de rutina ahora.

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias, Dr. Brooks. Dr. Hebert, volvamos a usted. Durante el último año y medio, la pandemia ha supuesto un gran desafío para los cuidadores familiares. En algunas partes del país, el huracán Ida y los incendios forestales se han sumado a los desafíos que enfrentan los cuidadores. ¿Cuál es el impacto del reciente aumento de COVID-19 además de estas condiciones increíblemente difíciles?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Gracias, Bill. El desafío relacionado con el porcentaje de personas que están vacunadas aquí en mi estado, en Luisiana, hay alrededor del 40% de personas que están completamente vacunadas. Las implicaciones que esto tiene para el huracán Ida es que las personas se mudan a refugios o se mudan con familiares y amigos porque su hogar ya no es habitable.

 

Para el alto porcentaje de personas que no están vacunadas, si acaban de perder su hogar, realmente no estarán pensando en usar mascarilla o distanciarse. Eso estará muy abajo en su lista de prioridades debido a los problemas con los que están lidiando y el trauma relacionado con el huracán o un incendio forestal.

 

Ciertamente volveré al comentario del Dr. Brooks sobre la importancia de las vacunas en medio de un evento traumático como las situaciones con huracanes e incendios forestales. Estar vacunado hace que tus decisiones sean mucho más fáciles. El desafío que también tenemos aquí en Luisiana, a diferencia de algunas de las otras áreas, es que los hospitales rurales, los hospitales de acceso crítico ya estaban realmente al borde de una falla en su sistema.

 

Como resultado, los hospitales rurales que normalmente enviarían a sus pacientes del tipo UCI a centros urbanos, donde hay UCI, ventiladores y enfermeras competentes de la UCI... El hecho de que los hospitales rurales ya no puedan enviar gente allí ha sido un problema para los hospitales rurales.

 

Cuando se suma a eso, en nuestro caso, el huracán Ida y el hecho de que muchos de esos hospitales que estaban en el camino de la tormenta ya no están en condiciones de funcionamiento, algunos de ellos tardarán un tiempo en volver a estarlo, eso suma aún más al estrés de los sistemas hospitalarios. Sospecho que lo mismo es cierto para nuestros amigos que están lidiando con incendios forestales.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, me imagino que se suma a la carga de los cuidadores familiares. Ahora, plantea la pregunta de a dónde llevar... ¿Dónde puedo llevar a mi ser querido? ¿Qué tipo de atención médica estará disponible?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Sí, un cuidador familiar ciertamente tiene suficientes desafíos y una carga significativa ya en tiempos normales. Las circunstancias me han llevado a vivir con mi mamá de 89 años, lo cual ha sido un verdadero regalo para los dos. Pero cuando nos preparábamos para el huracán Ida, las decisiones que estábamos tratando de tomar relacionadas con esta tormenta, de si evacuar o no, ¿en qué dirección va a entrar la tormenta? Si evacuamos, ¿con quién evacuamos?

 

Si algunos miembros de la familia están vacunados, la decisión será más fácil porque mamá y yo estamos vacunados. Nuevamente, a este desafío del cuidador familiar, que ya tiene una carga bastante significativa, se suma a esto otro debido al alto grado de vacilación ante las vacunas en muchas partes del país.

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias, Dr. Hebert. Me gustaría traer a Chester a la discusión. Recientemente, Delta Air Lines anunció que cobrará a los empleados no vacunados $200 adicionales por mes por el seguro médico y requerirán pruebas semanales. ¿Cree que esto incentivará a los empleados a recibir sus vacunas? ¿Es este un modelo a seguir para otros grandes empleadores?

 

Chester Elton: ¿Sabe, Bill? Es una buena pregunta porque los grandes empleadores realmente están tratando de averiguar cuántas zanahorias y cuántos palos se necesitarán, ¿no? Como es un empleador privado, puede exigir cosas, condiciones de empleo. Tiene que pasar una prueba de detección de drogas, tiene que tener una verificación de antecedentes, y así sucesivamente.

 

Mi hijo está a punto de trabajar para una gran empresa financiera, y las verificaciones de antecedentes y la investigación que hacen sobre él son bastante extensas. Creo que esto es una extensión de eso. El problema con esto es que se ha convertido en un tema con tanta carga política y social, que hay que tener cuidado de cómo hacerlo.

 

Delta Air Lines ha hecho esto, creo, por dos razones. Una, es que los costos del seguro aumentarán si más personas se contagian de COVID-19. Eso es solo una realidad. Es un incentivo para reducir su atención médica si uno no está vacunado, ¿verdad? También es una especie de guiño a sus empleados que están vacunados. Algo así como, "Oye, bien por ti. Tu atención médica no va a aumentar".

 

Respecto a si el modelo punitivo se convertirá en un mandato, no estoy tan seguro. Sin embargo, le diré que los grandes empleadores se están moviendo rápidamente hacia “Si vas a ingresar al lugar de trabajo, necesitamos ver una prueba de vacunación”. Esa será una parte estándar del contrato de trabajo. La pregunta es, si trabajo de forma remota, ¿necesito vacunarme? No voy a ir.

 

Existen todas estas variaciones en estas cosas. Le diré qué es fascinante. Acabamos de hacer una investigación masiva sobre la ansiedad en el lugar de trabajo. La principal causa de ansiedad es la incertidumbre. ¿Qué se requiere de mí? Ya sea que se esté utilizando el mandato, aumentando el seguro de salud, lo que sea, está claro es que hay que tener un mensaje claro con la menor ambigüedad posible para que las personas sepan en qué se están metiendo si ingresan al lugar de trabajo. Saben cuál podría ser la carga financiera. ¿Sabe que? Es un baile complicado, Bill. Realmente lo es.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Ha visto grandes empleadores optar más por castigos o incentivos para que sus empleados se vacunen?

 

Chester Elton: Es interesante. Creo que el Gobierno ha ofrecido muchos incentivos, ¿no? La vacuna es gratuita. Puede ir a cualquier parte. Muchos empleadores trabajan desde casa, etc. Creo que muchos empleadores han agotado las zanahorias, los incentivos. Y ahora, para superar esa situación, están sacando los palos y diciendo: “Mira, si vas a trabajar aquí, tienes que estar vacunado. Si no quieres vacunarte, está bien. Pero no puedes trabajar aquí”. Creo que se verán muchos más palos y mandatos en los próximos meses.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Muchas gracias por eso, Chester. Como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3. Llegaremos a esas preguntas en vivo en breve, pero antes de hacerlo, quería traer a Kristin Dillon. Kristin es la vicepresidenta sénior de Compromiso Estatal y Comunitario aquí en AARP. Bienvenida, Kristin.

 

Kristin Dillon: Hola, Bill, un placer estar aquí.

 

Bill Walsh: Es un placer tenerla aquí. Además de compartir la información más reciente sobre el coronavirus, nos gustaría tomarnos unos minutos para actualizar a nuestros oyentes sobre los temas importantes que enfrenta el Congreso y cómo AARP está luchando por ellos. Kristin, esta semana, los comités del Congreso están trabajando en algunos proyectos de ley que afectarán directamente a los estadounidenses mayores. ¿Puede contarnos un poco sobre eso?

 

Kristin Dillon: Sí, por supuesto. Los tres grandes puntos de esta semana incluyen los precios de los medicamentos recetados, los nuevos beneficios de Medicare y la prestación de cuidados. Primero, AARP está luchando para detener los precios injustos de los medicamentos recetados. Los precios de los medicamentos de marca en EE.UU. cuestan tres veces más que en países similares. Sin embargo, Medicare tiene prohibido negociar por menores costos de medicamentos. Entonces, AARP está instando al Congreso a darle a Medicare el poder de negociar mejores precios.

 

En segundo lugar, el Congreso también tiene la oportunidad de cubrir las brechas de cobertura en Medicare al agregar beneficios dentales, auditivos y de la vista, que AARP también respalda. En tercer lugar, AARP aboga por ayudar a abordar los desafíos financieros de los adultos trabajadores que cuidan a un ser querido, instando al Congreso a aprobar un nuevo crédito fiscal para los cuidadores familiares elegibles.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, esos serían cambios enormes y grandes beneficios para muchos de nuestros oyentes y consumidores en todo el país. Gracias por actualizarnos sobre eso. Cambiemos de tema. Este fin de semana marca un hito aleccionador en Estados Unidos con el vigésimo aniversario de los ataques del 11 de septiembre. Sería negligente no detenernos y recordar. ¿Existe una forma positiva de hacer eso? ¿De poner los pensamientos en acción?

 

Kristin Dillon: Sí, hay cosas que podemos hacer y formas en las que todos pueden ayudar. El 11 de septiembre es ahora el día nacional de servicio reconocido a nivel federal en Estados Unidos. De hecho, el 11 de septiembre ha crecido hasta convertirse en el día de servicio caritativo más grande del país.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Tiene AARP algo planeado para este día de servicio?

 

Kristin Dillon: Sí, AARP está participando. El servicio comunitario siempre ha estado en el corazón de nuestra misión, pero rendimos un tributo especial cada año el 11 de septiembre. Mañana, el personal y los voluntarios de AARP prestarán servicio en sus propias comunidades, preparando comidas, apoyando a organizaciones sin fines de lucro y cuidando a los demás. Con la COVID-19, no podemos reunirnos en grupos grandes, por lo que el voluntariado puede verse diferente, pero el espíritu es el mismo y el trabajo es más importante que nunca.

 

Bill Walsh: AARP se fundó en el servicio, ¿no?

 

Kristin Dillon: Sí, así es. El servicio es una piedra angular y cómo se fundó es una gran historia. Hace más de 60 años, nuestra fundadora, Ethel Percy Andrus, descubrió a una maestra jubilada que vivía dentro de un gallinero abandonado. Después de la jubilación, la maestra no pudo pagar una vivienda segura. Cuando Ethel vio su condición de vida, se sintió obligada a hacer algo. Entonces, decidió dedicar su vida a luchar contra la injusticia y transformar vidas. Esa es la historia del origen de AARP. No una sala de juntas, sino un gallinero, con una persona decidida a generar un cambio. Ethel fundó AARP con el lema de servir y no ser servido. Ese lema todavía nos guía hoy.

 

Bill Walsh: Esa es una historia maravillosa. Si otros quieren ser voluntarios para el 11 de septiembre o después, ¿hay formas de ayudar y aún estar a salvo de la COVID-19?

 

Kristin Dillon: Absolutamente. Hay muchas formas de ayudar, incluso de forma virtual o desde su casa. AARP tiene muchas ideas en su sitio web para voluntarios, createthegood.org. Create the Good tiene oportunidades de voluntariado local en su área y también tiene una sección especial sobre oportunidades de voluntariado que pueden hacer desde casa. Hay formas de mantenerse a salvo y ayudar para cualquiera que desee hacerlo.

 

Bill Walsh: Createthegood.org. Muy bien. Muchas gracias, Kristin, por compartir la actualización legislativa y por estar con nosotros hoy.

 

Kristin Dillon: Gracias por invitarme.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, ahora es el momento de abordar sus preguntas sobre la pandemia de coronavirus con el Dr. Oliver Brooks, el Dr. Warren Hebert y Chester Elton. Presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta en vivo. Si desean escuchar en español, presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

 

[En español]

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, ahora me gustaría traer a mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas hoy. Bienvenida, Jean.

 

Jean Setzfand: Gracias, Bill. Encantada de estar aquí.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Tomemos nuestra primera llamada.

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra primera llamada es Elsie de Wisconsin.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Elsie, bienvenida al programa. Continúe con su pregunta. Hola, Elsie, ¿está ahí? Hola Elsie. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

Elsie: Hoy cumpliré 90 años en mi vacunación.

 

Bill Walsh: Lo siento. Repita la pregunta una vez más.

 

Elsie: Voy a tener 90, 90 años.

 

Bill Walsh: Fantástico. ¿Cuál es su pregunta para nosotros hoy, Elsie?

 

Elsie: ¿Necesito una vacuna?

 

Bill Walsh: Me atrevería a decir que sí, pero dejaré que el Dr. Brooks le dé una respuesta más completa que eso. Dr. Brooks.

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Como dijo, Bill, la respuesta es sí. Si ella está por cumplir 90, felicidades, Elsie, por vivir una vida tan larga. Si tiene 90 años, en el rango de edad, es más probable que tenga complicaciones por contraer COVID-19, por lo que absolutamente debe vacunarse. Sin embargo, otra cosa que diría es que nunca es demasiado tarde. Creo que eso es importante. Debería vacunarse con cualquier vacuna disponible y hacerlo lo antes posible.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Gracias por eso, Dr. Brooks. De acuerdo, Jean, ¿de quién es la próxima pregunta?

 

Jean Setzfand: La próxima pregunta es de Alice de Nueva Jersey.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola Alice, siga adelante con su pregunta.

 

Alice: Sí, hola, mi pregunta es que soy maestra suplente y estuve en casa un año y medio debido a la pandemia. Mis beneficios de desempleo se agotaron, así que ahora estoy considerando regresar, pero aunque estoy vacunada, recibí mis dos inyecciones en marzo, pero todavía estoy preocupada por la infección posvacunación, posiblemente, y contraer COVID-19 a pesar de estar vacunada. ¿Qué tengo que hacer? ¿Debería preocuparme? ¿Qué medidas podría tomar?

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Se refiere a volver al salón de clases?

 

Alice: Sí.

 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, ¿quiere responder?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Claro. Esto es lo que recomendaría. En primer lugar, apreciamos mucho a los maestros. Estos niños han perdido un año completo, más o menos. Han perdido mucho tiempo de estar en el aula y eso es parte de la vida, la socialización. Lo que diría es que si está vacunada, tiene una probabilidad mucho menor de contraer COVID-19, enfermarse por COVID-19, morir por COVID-19.

 

Dicho esto, cuando ingrese al aula, debe seguir los procedimientos de control de infecciones lo mejor que pueda. Use una mascarilla, lávese las manos con frecuencia, lo mejor que pueda, mantenga una distancia de 6 pies de los demás. Y luego, muchos distritos escolares tienen un protocolo formal de pruebas de detección. Siga el protocolo formal de pruebas de su distrito escolar, que se aplica tanto para los maestros como para la administración y, probablemente, también para los estudiantes. Creo que es de vital importancia que las escuelas vuelvan a funcionar. Creo que es razonable que regrese al aula.

 

Bill Walsh: Chester, déjeme presentarle una discusión. Alice es maestra, pero muchos empleados en todo el país en diferentes industrias tienen el mismo tipo de preocupaciones. ¿Tiene algún consejo para ellos? ¿Alguna pregunta que deban hacerle a sus empleadores?

 

Chester Elton: Por supuesto. Nuevamente, amo los consejos del Dr. Brooks. Sigan los protocolos vigentes en su lugar de trabajo. Escuchen, hagan muchas preguntas. Es realmente interesante. Estaba pensando el otro día, cuando conseguimos un nuevo trabajo, planificamos viajes, dónde vamos a almorzar, y llenamos todos esos espacios en blanco. Lo mismo debería suceder cuando regresemos al trabajo.

 

Hagan muchas preguntas. ¿Necesito usar una mascarilla? ¿Existe un distanciamiento social? ¿Tengo que traer mi cartilla de vacunación? ¿Cuales son los protocolos? Entonces, entra realmente informado. Los niveles de ansiedad y estrés aumentan cuando no estás seguro de lo que está sucediendo. ¿Están vacunadas las demás personas? ¿Cuál es el porcentaje de vacunación?

 

Todas esas preguntas son válidas y los empleados deberían poder responderlas fácilmente. Una vez que sepan dónde podrán almorzar, sabrán cuáles son sus horarios, cómo es el viaje diario. Creo que eso reduce bastante los niveles de ansiedad y permite interactuar más libremente con los compañeros de trabajo. Saben dónde es seguro. Esa es mi recomendación. Hagan muchas preguntas, aprendan cuáles son las reglas y cumplan con las reglas.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, muchas gracias, Dr. Brooks y Chester. Jean, tomemos otra pregunta.

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima pregunta viene de Lana de Massachusetts.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Lana, bienvenida al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

Lana: Gracias. Mi pregunta es en respuesta a un artículo que apareció en Lowell Sun. Creo que podrían haber obtenido el estudio también de un artículo que apareció en el Boston Herald o en el Boston Globe debido a la forma en que se hizo referencia. Olvidé quién escribió exactamente el artículo. Hubo un estudio que se realizó desde la embestida de COVID-19 con respecto al alcohol.

 

Hubo un aumento en la ingesta de alcohol de las personas durante ese período. Sé que la gente podría estar lidiando con personas que han muerto, con el duelo, la pérdida del trabajo o lo que sea. ¿Cómo podemos lidiar con la COVID-19 de una manera constructiva? Estas personas, si son adictas o algo así, van a terminar en un hospital que ya está desbordado. Además de eso, tenemos opioides en algunas ciudades. Me pregunto cómo podemos lidiar un poco mejor con las cosas.

 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Hebert, me pregunto si puede opinar sobre la pregunta de Lana, que realmente trata sobre cómo lidiar con el estrés frente a la pandemia en curso.

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Lana, gracias. Esta es una pregunta muy importante. Hablamos mucho de resiliencia. En un día típico promedio, ¿cuáles son las cosas que puede manejar desde una perspectiva emocional y psicológica desde el punto de vista del estrés con el que está lidiando? Saca a relucir un punto excelente de que, no solo la COVID-19 nos ha empujado a muchos de nosotros más cerca de esa línea en la que, tal vez, ya no tenemos el control de nuestra situación, sino que cuando observamos muchos de los desafíos políticos que hemos vivido en los últimos cinco o seis años, esas cosas también han añadido mucho estrés.

 

Volveré a lo que Bill me había preguntado antes, incendios forestales y tormentas, y ese tipo de cosas. ¿Qué puede hacer uno para ser más resiliente? Algunas cosas que dicen los expertos es que el ejercicio es muy importante. Salir a caminar, quizás, a una hora del día que se ajuste a su horario. Las creencias de fe de una persona.

 

No importa qué sabiduría, tradición o religión sigan, las personas que tienen una vida de fe sólida a menudo pueden lidiar con el estrés de una manera mucho mejor. Si tienen la suerte de tener conexiones con alguien que sea un consejero, o quizás un pastor, poder hablar de las cosas, sin duda ayuda. Si está en una relación en la que puede hablar sobre las cosas que le preocupan, esas relaciones, tener buenas relaciones pueden hacer una gran diferencia. Lo último que mencionaré es conectarse con otras personas.

 

El aislamiento. El hecho de que la gente esté lidiando con la soledad y eso aumente en momentos como estos significa que habrá mucho más estrés. Encontrar formas de conectarse con otros, ya sea en la unidad familiar, ya sea dentro de las organizaciones comunitarias a las que uno pertenece. Extender la mano realmente ayuda mucho. Esa es una buena pregunta, Lana.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Dr. Hebert. Muchas gracias por eso. Jean, ¿quién sigue?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestro próximo interlocutor es John de Carolina del Sur.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, John, bienvenido al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

John: Gracias. Tenía una pregunta sobre la vacuna de refuerzo. ¿Qué nos puede contar sobre ellas? Cuándo deberíamos recibirla. Por qué deberíamos recibirla. ¿Cuándo estarán disponibles?

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Cuándo estarán disponibles? De acuerdo, Dr. Brooks, ¿puede ayudarnos con algunas preguntas sobre los refuerzos?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: John, esa es una excelente pregunta. Creo que esa es una de las preguntas del día. Hagamos una distinción entre los refuerzos y una vacuna adicional. Las personas que necesitan una inyección adicional son 28 días después de la primera. Eso es para aquellos que están inmunodeprimidos. Eso ya ha sido determinado. Eso es aproximadamente el 3% de la población.

 

El término refuerzo significa que tenías inmunidad y, por cualquier motivo, es necesario aumentar la inmunidad. Los niños, cuando van al jardín de infantes, reciben sus vacunas de refuerzo. Eso es solo un requisito para el jardín de infantes en la mayoría de los estados. Ese es el concepto.

 

Hasta el momento, ni el ACIP ni la FDA han aprobado por completo una vacuna de refuerzo. Honestamente, ahora mismo, estamos poniendo el carro delante del caballo. Habrá una reunión sobre estos temas, o este tema sobre la vacuna de refuerzo, probablemente en el próximo mes más o menos. Probablemente menos que eso. Se tomará la determinación.

 

Si existe una aprobación, y “recomendación” es una palabra aún mejor, para un refuerzo, sería solo para las vacunas de ARNm, Pfizer y Moderna, sería ocho meses después de que uno recibió su segunda dosis. Aquí es más o menos donde estamos en este punto. No sé si hay algo más sobre lo que pueda hablar en este momento, sobre lo que se debería hablar, pero creo que es importante entender que en este momento no existe una recomendación formal para una dosis de refuerzo.

 

Por último, hablaré de la vacuna J&J. La vacuna J&J salió al mercado aproximadamente tres meses después de la vacuna de ARNm, o sea Pfizer y Moderna, por lo que aún no hay datos suficientes para determinar si, si uno recibiera la vacuna J&J, si siquiera necesitaría un refuerzo. Esa fue una excelente pregunta.

 

Bill Walsh: John, quédese con nosotros porque tengo algunas otras preguntas relacionadas con los refuerzos en nuestro próximo segmento, así que quédese con nosotros que ya llegaremos a ellas. Quiero agradecer a nuestros oyentes por todas las preguntas. Responderemos más de esas preguntas en breve. Recuerden, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora, y si desean escuchar este programa en español, presionen * 0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

 

[En español]

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Dr. Brooks, profundicemos un poco más en los refuerzos. Sé que esto es lo más importante para muchas personas. Hemos recibido muchas preguntas sobre esto en las últimas semanas. Voy a hacer cinco preguntas. Quizás pueda darnos algunas respuestas rápidas a cada una de ellas.

 

Sé que acaba de hacer sus comentarios sobre los refuerzos y el hecho de que aún no han sido aprobados para su uso, pero ¿se espera que alguien pueda recibir un refuerzo antes de los 8 meses que hemos escuchado tanto?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: ¿Qué pasa con cualquier medicamento si está aprobado por la FDA? El médico puede “usarlo”. Ahora mismo, la idea es que pasarán ocho meses después de la segunda dosis. En teoría, alguien podría obtenerla, pero el problema de hacerlo es que no hay datos que muestren que eso está indicado.

 

Entonces, si hubiese algún tipo de reacción adversa, no habría una buena cobertura para el médico que lo habría hecho ni para el paciente que recibió la vacuna fuera de la recomendación formal. Diría que, en este momento, ni siquiera hay datos que digan que se necesita recibirla antes de los ocho meses. Mi recomendación es que, suponiendo que se apruebe, se sigan las recomendaciones, que probablemente serán ocho meses después de la segunda dosis.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, ¿cuándo podemos esperar escuchar una aprobación formal relacionada con los refuerzos?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Yo diría que en las próximas semanas.

 

Bill Walsh: Un par de semanas. De acuerdo, los refuerzos de Pfizer y Moderna, ¿serían compatibles?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: La recomendación general para casi todas las vacunas es completar una serie con la misma vacuna. Esa será probablemente la recomendación para la vacuna Pfizer-BioNTech o Moderna. Sin embargo, lo que es más importante, si la que uno obtuvo no está disponible o simplemente no sabe cuál obtuvo por cualquier motivo, el refuerzo, cuando se indique, podría ser cualquiera de ellas. Elija la que recibió, pero si no lo sabe o si no está disponible, obtenga la que esté disponible.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. ¿El refuerzo tiene la misma potencia que las dos primeras dosis?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: En este momento, parece que sí, pero nuevamente, esos serán los datos que serán revisados ​​por la FDA y la comunidad asesora de ACIP sobre las prácticas de inmunización de los CDC.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Hay algo que podamos decir sobre los efectos secundarios? ¿Serían similares a las vacunas originales?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Lo que hemos estado viendo es que los datos muestran que en las personas que recibieron una tercera vacuna de ARNm, los efectos secundarios fueron similares a los de la serie de dos dosis, la fatiga y el dolor y el lugar de la inyección fueron los efectos secundarios más comúnmente reportados. La mayoría de los síntomas fueron de leves a moderados. El perfil de efectos secundarios parece ser el mismo que con las dos primeras dosis.

 

Bill Walsh: Finalmente, ¿qué sabemos sobre los refuerzos para las personas con la vacuna J&J, Johnson & Johnson?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Lo mencioné. Nuevamente, recuerden que la razón por la que las personas necesitan refuerzos es porque la inmunidad parece disminuir un poco con respecto a las dos primeras, para las ARNm. Para J&J, simplemente no lo sabemos.

 

Yo diría que quien recibió la vacuna J&J debe tener paciencia, porque lo primero es que la recibió más tarde porque no salió hasta marzo, por lo que su inmunidad todavía existe. A medida que lleguen los estudios, tan pronto como haya más información sobre la inmunidad de la J&J, y la longevidad de esa inmunidad, y la necesidad de un refuerzo, revisaremos esa información y haremos una recomendación.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, vigilaremos las cosas durante las próximas dos semanas y veremos qué va a decir el panel de la FDA sobre los refuerzos. Muchas gracias, Dr. Brooks. Me gustaría que el Dr. Hebert y Chester Elton volvieran a la conversación, que cada uno de ustedes responda a la siguiente pregunta.

 

Un estudio de AARP encontró que la mayoría de los cuidadores que trabajan están preocupados sobre cómo manejarán todo cuando regresen al trabajo. Les preocupa dejar a sus seres queridos en casa y que se les quite la flexibilidad que tuvieron durante la pandemia. ¿Qué opciones tienen para cuidar a sus seres queridos cuando regresan al trabajo? ¿Qué debe hacer alguien si experimenta estrés o ansiedad por regresar al trabajo? Hablamos de eso un poco antes. Dr. Hebert, ¿quiere comenzar?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Gracias, Bill. Creo que el verdadero regalo de este panel es que todos apoyamos gran parte de la buena ciencia que existe. El Dr. Brooks habló un poco antes sobre la importancia de vacunarse. Si ese cuidador está vacunado, entonces será mucho, mucho menos probable que lleve algo del trabajo a un ser querido al que cuida.

 

La variante delta ha demostrado que existe una mayor probabilidad que la que había en el pasado con la cepa original del virus, pero las cosas que podemos hacer, nuevamente, estoy haciendo eco de lo que dijo el Dr. Brooks antes, y eso es el uso de mascarillas, el lavado de manos, el distanciamiento, estar al tanto de los protocolos de pruebas de detección que existen dentro de un lugar de trabajo. Todas esas cosas significarán que estará más seguro al regresar a casa con ese ser querido.

 

Otra cosa es que el entorno de trabajo varía. Si se trata de alguien que está desempeñando una labor profesional como cuidador formal, enfermera o trabajando en un servicio de asistencia técnica, entonces esas son cosas que deben tenerse en cuenta con respecto al aumento del riesgo.

 

Por otro lado, alguien que podría estar trabajando al aire libre, que se encuentra en un lugar donde no está en espacios reducidos con otras personas, correría menos riesgo. Por lo tanto, varía dependiendo de dónde esté trabajando ese cuidador informal o familiar.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Chester, ¿qué opina usted? ¿Qué opciones tienen las personas para cuidar a sus seres queridos cuando regresan al trabajo?

 

Chester Elton: Creo que es muy importante tener protocolos. Al igual que los médicos cuando van a realizar una cirugía, hay una rutina por la que pasan. Hablamos de esto con los otros dos médicos. Creo que es muy importante. ¿Cuáles son sus protocolos? Lavarse las manos, usar mascarilla, mantener el distanciamiento social. Si tienen buenos protocolos y se mantienen a salvo, a su vez, mantienen a todos los demás a salvo. Una vez más, no lo puedo enfatizar lo suficiente.

 

Obtengan tanta información como puedan de su empleador, tanta información como puedan sobre el entorno, los protocolos para todo el equipo, todo el lugar de trabajo. Creo que es muy importante, también, cómo están viajando. Si conducen, eso lo hace bastante simple. Vivo cerca de la ciudad de Nueva York. A veces manejo al tren, atravieso la estación de tren, del tren al metro, del metro al... Hay mucho movimiento.

 

Entonces, aclaren sus protocolos. Hagan que sus rituales, si quieren llamarlos así, sean claros, y asegúrense de hacer todo lo posible para mantenerse a salvo ustedes mismos para que todos los que los rodean estén a salvo. Creo que eso reduce mucho su propia ansiedad. Saben que han hecho todo lo que se les pidió. Eso tiene sentido, ¿no creen?

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, seguro que sí. Chester, ya ha hablado mucho sobre el aumento del estrés por la anticipación de regresar al trabajo. ¿Los empleadores esperan un aumento en los problemas de salud mental en el lugar de trabajo una vez que la gente regrese a la fuerza laboral? ¿Y qué pasos están tomando para prepararse para eso?

 

Chester Elton: Por supuesto. Ya está sucediendo. Estamos viendo... Escuche, mi coautor, Adrian Gostick y yo, también hacemos mucho coaching ejecutivo. Esto es... salud mental en el lugar de trabajo, si no es su principal problema, si no es el número 1, es 1A. Se ven muchos más programas de asistencia para los empleados. Realmente alentador.

 

Estamos viendo que Walmart, por ejemplo, ha hecho de la salud mental su preocupación número uno. Están capacitando, están haciendo consejería. Incluso hicieron algo, fue algo divertido, les dieron a todos una descarga gratuita de una aplicación, una aplicación de meditación. Eso suena algo gracioso y, sin embargo, los rituales personales de meditación, comer bien, dormir y hacer ejercicio, algunas de las cosas de las que hablamos, creo que son muy, muy importantes.

 

Absolutamente, los empleadores están viendo un repunte, ya sea que mantengan el trabajo a distancia o regresen al lugar de trabajo. Se está viendo que muchas empresas adoptan un enfoque muy proactivo al respecto. Mi hijo trabaja en American Express, por ejemplo, en la ciudad. Sus líneas directas y sus líneas de información, sus sitios web y sus empleados, ¿cuándo se espera que regresemos al trabajo? Esto es lo que es bueno y lo que será.

 

También lo hemos escuchado antes. Diferentes partes del país van a tener diferentes protocolos. Si uno se encuentra en un estado con bajo índice de vacunación, los protocolos serán diferentes a si se encuentra en un estado con un alto nivel de vacunación. Si los empleadores no muestran ese tipo de cosas, serán cada vez más escasos.

 

Me parece que todas las empresas de cualquier tamaño saben que la salud mental será su problema número uno. Por supuesto, si están preocupados por su salud, si están ansiosos, si están estresados, no hacen un buen trabajo. No pueden ser innovadores, no pueden brindar los niveles de servicio que desean a sus compañeros de trabajo y a sus clientes. Respuesta larga a una pregunta corta. Sí, es la respuesta.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Gracias, Chester. Realmente lo aprecio. Ahora es el momento de abordar más preguntas con el Dr. Oliver Brooks, el Dr. Warren Hebert y Chester Elton. Por favor presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y estar en la cola para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora en la línea?

 

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos bastantes preguntas en YouTube y Facebook. Voy a usar una de YouTube de Martin. Martin pregunta, ¿cuál es el tiempo recomendado entre una vacuna contra la gripe y una vacuna de refuerzo contra la COVID-19?

 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, ¿puede responder eso?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Sí, inicialmente, queríamos al menos dos semanas de separación entre cualquier vacuna y una vacuna contra la COVID-19, pero eso era principalmente para poder determinar los efectos secundarios. Si reciben una vacuna contra la gripe y una vacuna contra la COVID-19, ¿cómo sabrían si la fiebre venía de una o la otra? La recomendación ahora es que no es necesario que haya separación.

 

Pueden recibirse al mismo tiempo. Cuando van a vacunarse contra la gripe, si no están vacunados, también pueden recibir la vacuna contra la COVID-19.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Jean, ¿quién es el siguiente?

 

Jean Setzfand: La siguiente oyente es Lori de Maryland.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Lori, bienvenida al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

Lori: Gracias por responder a mi pregunta. Mi pregunta es esta. Mi madre tiene 95 años y tiene una cuidadora que viene a su casa y que está vacunada, pero tiene dos niños pequeños que van a la escuela pública y acaban de regresar a la escuela. Mi preocupación es la variante delta y qué tan protegida puede estar mi madre con esta mujer que viene y la cuida.

 

Bill Walsh: Pregunta interesante. Dr. Hebert, ¿puede opinar sobre eso?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Con gusto. Lori, estoy viviendo con mi mamá de 89 años en este momento. Mamá acaba de recibir noticias de que tiene dos nuevos bisnietos que serán primos, y nacerán el 1 de mayo. Todos estos nietos, tataranietos que va a tener. Ciertamente, una parte del problema para aquellos de nosotros que cuidamos a padres que están envejeciendo. Lo primero que diría es felicitaciones y bravo a la cuidadora que está vacunada.

 

Desafortunadamente, muchas personas que trabajan en estos roles aún optan por no vacunarse. Es maravilloso que su madre tenga a su cuidadora vacunada. Seguir los protocolos, incluso después de la vacunación, es algo muy bueno porque el uso de mascarillas, el lavado de manos, el distanciamiento, esas cosas son muy importantes. Sugeriría que esa cuidadora, aunque esté vacunada, por el hecho de que está con niños, pero en general, es bueno que use una mascarilla como cuidadora, que se lave las manos con frecuencia.

 

Hay aspectos de la prestación de cuidados que se pueden realizar al aire libre. Mi hija es una enfermera especializada que trabaja en un entorno de atención domiciliaria. Cuando todo esto comenzó, ella dijo: “Papá, ¿qué piensas?” Le dije: “Si puedes visitar en el porche o en el patio”, esas son algunas cosas desde la perspectiva del cuidador que ayudan a reducir el riesgo. Una vez más, es genial que la cuidadora esté vacunada. Todavía hay muchas buenas precauciones que se pueden tomar y que están bien documentadas. Gracias.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Cree que Lori, con su madre de 95 años, debería pedirle a la agencia un cuidador diferente, o cree que el tipo de precauciones que acaba de describir sería suficiente?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Creo que ciertamente puede tener esa conversación, Lori. Lo que sea que la haga sentir cómoda como miembro de la familia. Tener esa conversación sería importante. Creo que esta cuidadora en particular encaja bien y es una buena pareja para su madre. Quizás esté asumiendo un nuevo desafío si contrata a un cuidador diferente que no tenga hijos, pero tal vez no sea tan adecuado. Realmente se trata de un acto de equilibrio cuando hablamos de los cuidadores que vienen al hogar de uno.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Dr. Hebert, muchas gracias. Jean, tomemos otra pregunta.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien, nuestra próxima llamada es de Shahir desde California.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Shahir, bienvenido al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

Shahir: Hola, Bill, gracias por atender mi llamada. Soy agente de seguros y me estoy preparando para la AAP. Parte de ese proceso es que tengo varias reuniones comunitarias programadas. Ocurren en una sala cerrada dentro de un restaurante. Mi pregunta para su panel es la siguiente. Esperamos que entre 15 y 25 personas asistan a esta reunión.

 

Mi compañero y yo nos apartamos. Usamos mascarillas. Mi pregunta es, ¿es seguro estar en ese tipo de entorno con otras 15 a 25 personas si no sabemos si tienen sus vacunas o si van a usar mascarilla o no? ¿Podemos pedirles que usen mascarilla?

 

Bill Walsh: Esa es una buena pregunta. Chester, me pregunto si podría abordar eso.

 

Chester Elton: Por supuesto. En entornos comerciales, es absolutamente posible establecer las reglas en cuanto llegan. Si siente que va a ser un espacio bastante reducido, puede absolutamente repartir mascarillas en la puerta. Hemos estado conviviendo con el virus lo suficiente, que ahora esas cosas simples... Voy a subirme a un avión esta tarde. Todo el mundo lleva una mascarilla. Ese es el trato. Si subes al avión, usas una mascarilla.

 

Simplemente prepárelo de la manera que desee y de manera que las personas se sientan seguras y usted se sienta seguro. Tener mascarillas en la puerta, tener desinfectante en la puerta. Diga: “Bienvenido. Aquí está la etiqueta con su nombre”. Ponga un poco de desinfectante en la mano. “Realmente nos encanta que esté aquí. Para mantener a todos a salvo y mantenerse a salvo, realmente apreciaríamos que usara una mascarilla”.

 

Mantiene una actitud muy positiva, de que realmente lo está haciendo por ellos, para mantener a todos a salvo. La mayoría de las veces, y estoy convencido de que más del 90%, las personas aprecian el hecho de que las esté cuidando. Habrá unas pocas personas que causarán un poco de alboroto, y está bien. No necesitan venir a la reunión, ¿verdad? Por el bien de las personas presentes en la reunión, prepárelo, haga algo realmente positivo, colóquese como un aliado. Estamos en esto juntos. Yo lo estoy cuidando, usted me está cuidando. Tendrá una buena reunión. Será genial.

 

Bill Walsh: Me encanta, Chester. Muchas gracias. Tomemos otra pregunta.

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra siguiente pregunta viene de Bill de Georgia.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Bill. Me encanta su nombre. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

Bill: De acuerdo. Tuve COVID-19, pero también me vacunaron por completo. Me preguntaba cuánta inmunidad se confiere al tener COVID-19 en comparación con la inmunidad que se obtiene de la vacuna de ARNm.

 

Bill Walsh: Dr. Brooks, ¿puede responder esa pregunta para Bill?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Sí, Bill. En primer lugar, gracias por estar vacunado. Siento que haya tenido COVID-19. Han salido muchos datos. Algunos en realidad pueden ser un poco conflictivos. Los datos que vi mostraron que se tiene una inmunidad menguante o baja después de contraer COVID-19. También he escuchado el otro lado, que COVID-19 puede conferir una excelente inmunidad.

 

La infección natural generalmente confiere una excelente inmunidad. Eso realmente no parece ser el caso en general. La clave es que si uno tuvo COVID-19 y luego está completamente vacunado, no hay datos claros que pueda comentar, pero probablemente tenga una inmunidad muy fuerte al virus. Yo diría esto. Para mí, para responder esa pregunta, para aquellos que han tenido COVID-19, todavía recomiendo, y se recomienda, que se vacunen por completo.

 

Bill Walsh: Muchas gracias, Dr. Brooks. ¿Quién sigue en la línea, Jean?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es JoAnn de Delaware.

 

Bill Walsh: JoAnn, bienvenida al programa. Continúe con su pregunta.

 

Joanne: Tengo cuidadores en el hogar y me pregunto acerca de... Sé que cuando sale, está caminando donde las personas que han tenido COVID-19 han caminado. Cuando entran a su casa, ¿deberían quitarse los zapatos? Podrían quitarse los zapatos en la puerta de mi casa.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien. Dr. Brooks, ¿quiere opinar sobre eso? ¿Qué tipo de precauciones deben pedir que tomen, JoAnn y otras personas, a los visitantes cuando vengan a su casa?

 

Dr. Oliver Brooks: Mi madre, nuevamente, la madre de 95 años. Cuando llegaron los cuidadores, se pusieron los botines por encima de los zapatos. Eso no fue por la COVID-19. Creo que fue solo por limpieza general. En mi experiencia, es una práctica estándar. Creo que eso no es descabellado.

 

Para responder a su pregunta de manera más directa, hay poca evidencia de que cubrirse los zapatos haga alguna diferencia. La COVID-19 no está, en general, en su zapato. Es un virus respiratorio. Hay un riesgo mínimo o nulo de contagio de COVID-19 entre alguien que use zapatos y alguien que no use zapatos y se los quite en su casa.

 

Bill Walsh: Muchas gracias por eso, Dr. Brooks. Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra siguiente pregunta proviene de YouTube. La pregunta proviene de hero798. Quiere saber cómo averiguar si su proveedor de atención médica está vacunado. ¿Hay una manera de hacerlo?

 

Bill Walsh: Imagino que sí. Dr. Hebert, ¿quiere opinar sobre eso?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Bill, gracias. Hero798, esa es una buena pregunta. De hecho, mi madre recibe atención médica domiciliaria. De hecho, le pregunté a la enfermera de admisiones si estaba vacunada o no. Ciertamente puede hacer la pregunta. Otra cosa que puede hacer es llamar a la empresa si se contrata a un cuidador formal. La mayoría de las empresas no le permitirán saber si esa persona está vacunada o no, pero el hecho de que esté haciendo la pregunta puede convertirse en una solicitud, para que la persona que va a la casa para cuidar de su madre, para que cuide de la persona mayor, o para cuidar de uno, puede solicitarle que envíe a alguien que esté vacunado.

 

Bill Walsh: Claro, o pedir alguien más. Gracias por eso, Dr. Hebert. Volvamos a nuestro panel de expertos por un momento. Dr. Brooks, a pesar de la evidencia que respalda lo contrario, algunos expertos y políticos han culpado recientemente a los afroamericanos no vacunados del último aumento en muchos estados. ¿Cómo responde a esos comentarios?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Interesante. Yo diría esto. La tasa de vacunación es algo más baja en los afroamericanos que en la población general. Diría que aproximadamente el 50% de los caucásicos están completamente vacunados frente al 40% de los afroamericanos. Esa es una diferencia. Sin embargo, los afroamericanos son solo el 12% de la población. Estamos hablando de una población relativamente pequeña. Existe esa disparidad.

 

En otros datos de la Kaiser Family Foundation, el 70% de los caucásicos dijeron que ya se vacunaron frente al 65%. Las diferencias en las tasas de vacunación no son tan grandes. Diría que no creo que la información sea precisa. Yo también diría, y lo hemos probado, la otra cosa es que la forma en que esta variante delta se está propagando no es... Es parcialmente, obviamente, vacunados versus no vacunados, pero el uso de mascarillas es enorme.

 

Si todos usaran mascarilla, el 100% de las personas y estuvieran alrededor de otras personas, entonces tendríamos menos propagación. Los datos muestran que el uso de mascarilla se ha vuelto partidista. Los datos muestran que la mayoría de los republicanos nunca usa mascarilla frente a la mayoría de los demócratas que sí lo hacen. Honestamente, así es como realmente lo veo yo.

 

Por último, diré que el 57% de la población de Estados Unidos son caucásicos no vacunados. De nuevo, déjame... Aquí es a donde voy con todo eso. Todo eso es, más o menos, irrelevante. Esta es la razón: la única forma de llegar al otro lado de esta pandemia es vacunándonos y siguiendo el control de infecciones, que es el uso de mascarillas.

 

Hay un tercer elemento. En la película “La guerra de los mundos”, cuando estábamos siendo atacados por extraterrestres, nos unimos todos. Estábamos hablando del vigésimo aniversario del 11 de septiembre. Cuando golpeó el 11 de septiembre, el mundo se unió en apoyar a Estados Unidos. Nuestros adversarios, por así decirlo, Rusia y China enviaron mensajes buenos y positivos.

 

Lo último es que la única forma en que vamos a llegar al otro lado de esta pandemia es trabajando juntos, uniéndonos como nación, no como estados bálticos de blancos, negros, pobres, rurales, lo que sea. Eso no va a funcionar. Esta es una pandemia mundial. Está empeorando en este momento, en lugar de mejorar.

 

Creo que tenemos que pensar más allá... En última instancia, si alguien dijera que su próxima declaración sería, para mí, cómo lograría que que más negros se vacunen. Eso es lo que me gustaría escuchar. Supongo que si realmente se sintieran así, la respuesta no es señalar con el dedo, la respuesta es mejorar el problema. No es un problema, pero la preocupación más profunda en esa declaración es el individualismo partidista dividido, la falta de cohesión. Tenemos que superar eso o esta pandemia no desaparecerá.

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias, Dr. Brooks. Dr. Hebert, quiero hacerle una pregunta que realmente ha estado en la mente de muchos de nuestros oyentes. A medida que aumentaron los casos de COVID-19, los hogares de ancianos están limitando las actividades y reduciendo las visitas. Es un gran paso hacia atrás para las familias. ¿Cómo podemos mantenernos conectados con nuestros seres queridos y qué consejo tiene para las familias en esta situación?

 

Dr. Warren Hebert: Fue un verdadero desafío cuando la COVID-19 nos visitó por primera vez, y la separación que experimentaron los miembros de la familia. Desde entonces, hemos aprendido mucho. Hemos aprendido que podemos conectarnos a través de FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype. Podemos realizar llamadas telefónicas de forma regular.

 

Me encantó en uno de los talleres que hice, usé el acrónimo POTS, Plain Old Telephone System (Sistema de Telefonía Básico). Hacer llamadas telefónicas. La otra cosa que sugeriría es que, cuando hagan esas llamadas telefónicas, consideren la posibilidad de tener una conversación más enfocada.

 

Ciertamente, solo quiere saber y ver cómo van las cosas, pero lo que he aprendido en mi experiencia con mi madre, que tiene 89 años, es hacerle preguntas. Estuvimos juntos por el 15.º aniversario de la muerte de papá y lo recordamos. Le pregunté sobre sus recuerdos de toda esa experiencia. Papá tuvo demencia durante siete años y pudimos cuidarlo en casa durante todo ese tiempo.

 

Creo que es una pregunta más enfocada, usando parte de la tecnología disponible. Otra cosa que diría que es realmente importante, es que si tiene un miembro de la familia en un hogar de ancianos, haga todo lo posible por hacerse presente con frecuencia. Cuando no estamos en medio de tiempos de COVID-19, poder visitar a menudo brinda la oportunidad de pasar un tiempo con algunos miembros del personal.

 

Es útil establecer una relación de confianza con el personal con anticipación. Si no ha podido hacer eso y no puede visitar, busque la manera de volver a intentarlo, tal vez usando algo de tecnología para construir una relación de confianza con los miembros del personal. Eso ayudará a tener más facilidad para conectarse con su familiar.

 

Bill Walsh: Gracias, Dr. Hebert. Para nuestros oyentes, AARP tiene un excelente recurso que pueden utilizar. Es aarp.org/nursinghomes. Allí, tenemos un panel de control de hogares de ancianos, con datos sobre las tasas de vacunación entre el personal y otros datos de instalaciones particulares. En este sitio también hay información sobre preguntas para hacerle al hogar de ancianos o centro de vida asistida.

 

Este es el momento de ser un verdadero defensor de sus seres queridos. Tienen muchas herramientas a su disposición, así que visítenos. aarp.org/nursinghomes. Gracias a cada uno de nuestros expertos por responder a nuestras preguntas el día de hoy. Esta ha sido una discusión realmente informativa. Gracias a nuestros miembros, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP por participar en el programa de hoy.

 

AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los estadounidenses mayores durante más de 60 años. Frente a esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus, prevenir su propagación y, al mismo tiempo, cuidar de sí mismos.

 

Todos los recursos a los que se hizo referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, se podrán encontrar en aarp.org/coronavirus a partir de mañana, 10 de septiembre. Una vez más, esa dirección web es aarp.org/coronavirus. Visiten ese sitio si su pregunta no fue respondida. Encontrarán las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

 

Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo que pueda ayudarlos a ustedes y a sus seres queridos a mantenerse sanos y salvos. Acompáñennos nuevamente el 23 de septiembre a la 1 p.m. hora del este para participar en otro evento en vivo, donde responderemos sus preguntas sobre la pandemia de coronavirus. Esperamos que puedan unirse. Gracias, que tengan un buen día. Con esto concluye nuestra llamada.

 

 

September 9: Coronavirus: Staying Safe, Caring for
Loved Ones & New Work Realities

Listen to a replay of the live event above.

As the COVID-19 Delta Variant continues to impact lives, concerns regarding safety at home and at work are increasing. This event addressed questions related to vaccines, booster shots, protecting loved ones, and navigating the changing workplace. 

The experts:

  • Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D.
    Chief Medical Officer,
    Watts Healthcare

  • Warren Hebert Jr., DNP, RN
    Nursing Professor, Loyola University of New Orleans,
    CEO, HomeCare Association of Louisiana

  • Chester Elton 
    Bestselling author and business coach


For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


Replay previous AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • November 4 - Coronavirus: Boosters, Health & Wellness
  • October 21 - Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health & Caring for Loved Ones
  • October 7Coronavirus: Boosters, Flu Vaccines and Wellness Visits
  • September 23 - Coronavirus: Delta Variant, Boosters & Self Care
  • September 9 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, Caring for Loved Ones & New Work Realities
  • August 26 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, New Work Realities & Managing Finances
  • August 12 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe in Changing Times
  • June 24 - The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era
  • June 17 - Coronavirus: Vaccines And Staying Safe During “Reopening”
  • June 3 - Coronavirus: Your Health, Finances & Housing
  • May 20 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • May 6 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • April 22 - Your Vaccine Questions Answered and Coronavirus: Vaccines and Asian American and Pacific Islanders
  • April 8 - Coronavirus and Latinos: Safety, Protection and Prevention and Vaccines and Caring for Grandkids and Loved Ones
  • April 1Coronavirus and The Black Community: Your Vaccine Questions Answered
  • March 25Coronavirus: The Stimulus, Taxes and Vaccine
  • March 11 - One Year of the Pandemic and Managing Personal Finances and Taxes
  • February 25Coronavirus Vaccines and You
  • February 11 - Coronavirus Vaccines: Your Questions Answered
  • January 28 - Coronavirus: Vaccine Distribution and Protecting Yourself
    & A Virtual World Awaits: Finding Fun, Community and Connections
  • January 14 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying Safe & Coping and Prevention, Vaccines & the Black Community
  • January 7 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Stimulus & Staying Safe
  • Dec 3 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe & Coping This Winter
  • Nov 19 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying and A Caregiver's Thanksgiving
  • Nov 12 - Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • Oct 1 - Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic
  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal