Happy New Year!

2021 is here and we're kicking off January with Thyroid Awareness and the importance of donating blood, as well as the topic on the top of everyone's mind - vaccines!
Celebrate National Blood Donor Month this January

Blood donations typically drop off during and immediately after the winter holidays, which makes National Blood Donor Month in January a critical time for the American Red Cross.
Thyroid Awareness Month

Most of us have heard about thyroid glands, but we may not realize the importance of the gland or that we may have symptoms of a disease associated with it. Therefore, this month is dedicated to talking about thyroid disease – the conditions and symptoms, the importance of diagnosis and treatment, as well as the many concerns employees with thyroid issues face day-to-day.
---- Other News You Can Use! ----
Red Cross Teams Up with NFL to Tackle Critical Blood Needs During National Blood Donor Month

The American Red Cross and the National Football League are teaming up to score big for patients in need by encouraging football fans and blood donors to give now. Right now, the Red Cross is facing a critical need for all blood types—especially type O—after the busy holiday season. Those who present to donate blood or platelets Jan. 1-31 will be entered automatically for a chance for two to experience Super Bowl LIV live in Miami, Florida.
5 Things Employers of Thyroid Patients Need to Know

Because the coronavirus primarily affects the lungs, people who smoke and vape are at much greater risk for health complications if they get COVID-19. Studies suggest smokers who develop COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to need intensive treatment compared with nonsmokers. 
9 Creative Ways To Socialize Safely

With COVID-19 cases still soaring across the U.S., it can be tempting to just ride the winter out on the couch, binging on Netflix. But psychologists say it's important in 2021 for us all to keep up human contact.

But how to best do that? Get creative.
COVID-19 and Vaccines

This pandemic has upended our lives impacting every aspect from visiting friends and relatives, vacations, schooling, child and elder care, as well as how and where we work. We have to worry about physically distancing from others, wearing masks, washing our hands and whether we might catch COVID-19. Effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been developed in record times, and with two vaccines currently approved and a third potentially by the time this newsletter goes to press.
Vaccines will be a key pathway to returning us to the life we once had. However, there are still many challenges ahead with millions of people to vaccinate, not just once but twice for the two current vaccines. This is a significant manufacturing, distribution and vaccination delivery challenge which will take time, so people are going to need to be patient. Besides the logistical hurdles there will also be vaccine hesitancy issues due to individual concerns over safety, personal beliefs and social media misinformation.
Employers can play a significant role in supporting the countrywide effort to vaccinate as many people as possible. Having a vaccine strategy for employees needs to be one of the highest priorities for employers. As one of the few remaining institutions in which Americans still have some degree of confidence and trust, employers have an important role to play in disseminating accurate education and information about vaccines, and engaging employees and their families in obtaining them. Ways that employers can support vaccine deployment include:
The tailored messaging elements of a COVID-19 vaccine support program would include:

  • Education on vaccines including how the vaccine works and the advantages of being vaccinated.
  • Honest, open and truthful information about vaccine side effects, putting these into perspective.
  • As several vaccines require a second dose, a challenge we know from other 2 dose vaccines, then support with scheduling and reminders of second dose appointment, time off or transportation to get a second dose will be valuable.
  • Providing reliable information on when, where and how to sign up for vaccination.
  • Some employees will be in priority groups because of their role, age or medical history – ensuring that these employees know when and how to get vaccinated.
  • While it is uncertain if non-healthcare system employers will be able to provide on-site vaccination centers this may be feasible when more vaccines are available and the initial priority groups have been vaccinated.
  • When vaccines are available, have leadership let people know they have been vaccinated and why they were vaccinated.
Tune into Dr. Mark's recent Monday session to learn more!