Westfield Newsroom


Chair, Westfield Board of Health

Westfield Health Director

By Juanita Carnes FNP, Board of Health chair and Joe Rouse, health director

COVID-19 statistics are looking very hopeful this week in our country. US cases are down 22%. Over 260 million vaccines have been administered. Our city numbers are significantly lower and our state’s stats were noted in national news. Massachusetts has over 3 million or almost 50% of adults vaccinated. On Tuesday, the state reported no new deaths on a given day for the first time since June 30, 2020. Cases and deaths are steadily trending down. Sadly, on a global perspective, cases and deaths are tragically increasing in some countries. Some US states are also experiencing increased numbers. Proof of what can happen without adherence to public health guidelines and vaccinations.

Since December, Pfizer/BioNTech has been providing vaccines to the US and other countries under emergency use approval. More good news, this authorization has been expanded to 12-15 year-olds. Trials are continuing for use in 12 years and under. Emergency use approval of a vaccine is only approved in this manner during public health emergencies. Safety is evaluated before any approval but less rigorous method is used to aid in a quicker response to the pandemic. Emergency authorization only lasts until countries declare an end to the emergency.

Pfizer/BioNTech is the first company seeking full regulatory approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for 16 years and older. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson will follow. FDA approval means that its benefits outweigh the risks. The company considers approval as “an important cornerstone of achieving long-term herd immunity and containing COVID-19 in the future.” A rolling submission of data is being evaluated with a more stringent review. Six months of follow-up data is necessary before approval. Final phases of clinical trials demonstrated 95% efficacy. Anthony Fauci stated in a hearing this week that its “Real world effectiveness is even more impressive than in clinical trials.“ The company and others in public health are confident full approval will be granted in the coming months.

The ramifications of full approval are many. We need vaccine availability when the emergency status of the pandemic is officially ended. It will allow the company to market the vaccine. Employers, government agencies, military, schools and others will legally have the option to mandate the vaccine when it has full approval. Full approval may also help with vaccine hesitancy and raise public confidence.

While the world is slowly opening up, please remember this is not over. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director states, “Every death is a stark reminder of why we must remain vigilant.” Stay hopeful. Please respect and care about others, use common sense and abide by public health guidelines. Know that vaccination is a powerful tool that can end this pandemic. Get vaccinated if you haven’t yet. If you have, thank you! Considering getting the vaccine and have questions? Need education to make the decision? Please consult your health care provider or call the health department. You can learn more about the vaccine at www.cdc.gov or www.mass.gov. Take care of yourself and someone else.

Dedicated health department members who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic are: Debra Mulvenna RN, Assistant Director Evelyn Bristol RN, Steve Cipriani, Health Inspector Thomas Hibert, Health Inspector Cheryl McMordie, Office Manager Crystal Dugay, Kathi Cotugno, CORE coordinator Other Board Members: Margaret Doody, Stan Strzempko MD WE KEEP WORKING TO KEEP YOU SAFE Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Avoid gatherings. Stay home. Save lives. Look for us in next Saturday’s edition.




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