There are many reasons Katharyn (Taryn) Kennedy, MD, (pictured above, right) our vice president of reliability, quality and safety, elected to get her COVID-19 vaccine booster. Seeing her 94-year-old father in Ireland is primary among them.
After more than a year without a hug or a meal together, Taryn reunited with her father, Michael (pictured above, left), in October of 2021 – a visit only possible with the vaccine. Taryn and Michael each getting vaccinated allowed borders to open for her to enter Ireland and for the reunion. Since then, getting the booster has provided additional levels of safety on further visits.
In Ireland, where Taryn was raised and her father lives, those aged 70 and older “cocooned” before the COVID-19 vaccine was available – meaning they were required to stay home and were severely limited in face-to-face contact. The vaccine allowed cocooning to end, and Michael could rejoin society and reunite with his daughter.
“We know boosters are not the only answer to combating COVID-19, but they certainly are one of them,” Taryn says. “I got a flu vaccine every year as an emergency department physician to protect myself and my patients. Being as current as possible with my COVID-19 vaccines includes being appropriately boosted. I’m protecting myself and those around me.”
Early in the pandemic, as large health systems came together to do everything possible to provide the best care for their patients and the best protection for all health care workers, she was inspired by the enormous willingness to collaborate. As time has passed, however, Taryn has found people to be “less willing to listen to or carry out recommendations that are in place to build additional protection from COVID-19.”
Being from Ireland, Taryn’s Irish health care contacts afford her a more global perspective. She said that as soon as people were eligible for boosters in Ireland, the majority signed up and received them. However, in the U.S., only about 25 percent of those eligible for a booster have received it.
Taryn calls on everyone to get their COVID-19 booster as another line of defense. The U.S. is still seeing patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with some of them needing care from the intensive care unit. A COVID-19 vaccine booster helps prevent serious illness and hospitalizations.
“This is something everybody in health care can do to protect themselves and their patients,” Taryn adds. “As health care professionals, we need to be encouraging those at risk to get their boosters.”
Learn more about our ministry’s COVID-19 vaccine and booster efforts.