Thursday, March 30, 2023

Guest column: We’re here to answer COVID-19 questions

| April 5, 2022 7:10 AM

Spring is often about the renewal of life. This "spring feeling" is even more robust as the cases of COVID-19 receded, and our lives around Lake County are moving back to their regular pace. Still, as physicians, we cannot forget what we have gone through over the last two years. We have taken care of some of our sickest residents throughout this pandemic. And while we feel a sense of relief with the pandemic subsiding in Montana, we have trepidations seeing the COVID-19 case numbers rising again in Europe with this newest variant.

Of course, we don't want our families, neighbors or friends to go through any more suffering due to the coronavirus. And we do have a great option now to prevent another significant surge: vaccinations.

The providers at St. Luke Community Healthcare believe strongly in the value and safety of vaccines, and we feel the same about the COVID-19 vaccine that has gone through the same research process as other vaccines. Since the vaccines have been released, they have had greater oversight and safety monitoring than any previous vaccine. Plus, over 10.5 billion vaccine doses have already been given worldwide.

We understand that community members have important questions about the vaccine. At the same time, there has been significant misinformation and disinformation, which has made it hard to get a straight answer when one is only trying to do what is best for themselves, their families and their community. We appreciate that and want the community to know we are available to answer questions. We also recommend individuals review reputable health websites to get the best-known information. Websites like Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, YourBestShotMT and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, an excellent website for pediatric questions.

If you have not yet received your booster shot, please consider scheduling to get that now. Call 528-5331 to do this. If you have never gotten the vaccine, we highly encourage you to get it, and you can by calling the same number. And if you have any questions, please know we are here as your local health care professionals to answer those questions. So let's all work together to make the COVID-19 pandemic a part of the past. And let's enjoy getting back to our Montana way of life.

Co-signed by St. Luke staff members Isaac Billings, DO; Joanna Billings, DO; John Foster, MD; Ben Grass, MD; Laura Hoganson, MD; Zach Hovorka, DO; Kena Lackman, MD; Kelli Larson, DO; David Springs, MD; Tyler Thorson, MD; Megan Vigil, MD; Ed Vizcarra, MD; Steve Shepro, PA-C; Simon Crawford, PA-C; Jamie Engeldrum, PA-C; Mike Schallock, PA-C; Peggy Martino, FNP; Katherine Mitchell, FNP.

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