A term taking center focus right now is vaccine hesitancy. As the general public is being strongly encouraged to take their place in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, some people are resisting; experiencing vaccine hesitancy. The resulting countermeasure is tagged vaccine confidence, meaning to establish trust in what is the only current way of eradicating COVID-19.

Just about a year ago, we were getting together with friends, hugging loved ones, going out to eat, seeing movies, going shopping, traveling, and engaging in the many other activities and pursuits that we enjoyed and often took for granted. Remember those times? Much of that came to a screeching halt when the country started experiencing the horrifying impact of COVID-19.  The worst health crisis in a generation has sickened and killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, closed businesses, stores, and restaurants, wreaked havoc on our economy…the list goes on and on.

Operation Warp Speed (OWS)
Largely through an initiative called Operation Warp Speed (OWS), there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. To date, two vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna have been developed and tested and are being distributed to prevent people from becoming sick with COVID.  More are likely on the way.  The spread of information, misinformation, and confusing information is almost as quick as that of the virus. However, one thing is painfully clear. Without the vaccine, there is no end of COVID -19 in sight.

So let’s take a look at some of the credible information made available by leading experts in health, medical science, and infectious disease in order to help understand more about the impact of COVID-19 and the hopeful eventual eradication of the disease through the use of the vaccine.

Some Background About Vaccines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a vaccine as “a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.”

There’s a long and interesting history about vaccines. What’s important to know in terms of vaccine confidence right now, is that vaccines are not new. The first official vaccine dates back to 1796 in England, when one was developed to combat smallpox. This was a devastating disease that, over many hundreds of years, killed countless people.  Over many years it was refined and eventually used worldwide. The 33rd World Health Assembly cited that “eradication of smallpox is considered the biggest achievement in international public health.”

Eradication of a deadly disease through vaccination. That sounds exactly like what we’re hoping for now.

Other diseases successfully eliminated or significantly limited through vaccines are polio, diphtheria, mumps, measles, and rubella. So vaccines have a long, proven, and invaluable track record.

By the Numbers
COVID-19 has played a devastating role in the deaths of more than 400,000 Americans. This number is climbing every day.

There’s a lot of skepticism about the reported number, as some people suspect it’s inflated; that COVID is being blamed for deaths because it is present in the body of the deceased but not necessarily the actual direct cause. The thought is that the number is being greatly exaggerated as a scare tactic or even as a hoax. For the purposes of defending the importance of the vaccine, however, consider this sobering fact.  While complete data isn’t in yet, preliminary numbers show that more than 3.2 million Americans died in 2020. This is at least 400,000 more Americans that died in 2020, than in 2019. This 15% increase, which could go higher when final numbers are in, marks the largest single-year percentage increase in American deaths since 1918. That was a year when tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died in WWI, and hundreds of thousands of Americans died because of the flu pandemic.  These numbers make it reasonably easy to connect the dots on the direct or indirect mortality rate of COVID-19. There’s a lot of COVID out there and a lot of people dying from it, whether or not it’s the direct cause.

Add to that the fact that thousands of more people who are surviving the disease are dealing with prolonged debilitating conditions.

Furthermore, the number of people seriously impacted by COVID have put a serious strain on our hospitals and especially our ICUs.

Look at the numbers however you choose. COVID-19 is devastating.

Is Warp Speed Too Fast?

The good news is also the frightening news?

The term ‘warp speed’ became sci-fi talk in the mid-1900s, made popular by Dr. Spock, Captain Kirk, and Scottie as they talked about the phenomenal pace of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek. What is fun and exciting for the speed of a fictional space vessel becomes more intimidating when talking about the rate of developing a major health initiative. People worry, and rightly so, that something we’re being encouraged to inject into our bodies came about fast, awfully fast. While people are glad that there’s a weapon against COVID so soon (even though it’s felt like forever), it’s fair and reasonable also to be frightened about the speed.  Were there corners cut?

Here are some facts about how this modern-day miracle was able to happen so quickly.

  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization for the two existing COVID-19 vaccines, which are available now, only after meeting rigorous criteria for safety and effectiveness. The EUA has determined that the known and potential benefits of the vaccines outweigh the known and potential risks for the vaccines.
  2. While the COVID-19 vaccines are new, much of the science started years ago for other vaccinations. We were not, in this case, starting from scratch. That helped things develop much more quickly.
  3. Collaboration overshadowed competition. The very best minds have been investigating and studying all components of the virus. Sure, pharmaceutical companies wanted to win the ‘first’ place finish, but there’s enough vaccine business to go around and more than enough pride to share.
  4. The massive infusion of money from the government helped in a number of ways, including but not limited to motivation. It also ensured that vaccine developers had the resources they needed to get started working right away.
  5. While finding volunteers to participate in medical trials is often a time-consuming challenge, such was not the case for the COVID-19 vaccines. There were many people eager to participate. This was aided through the use of social media, which helped to get the word about the need. The vaccines were tested on many thousands of people.
  6. The massive infusion of government money facilitated the opportunity for steps in the process to be done simultaneously rather than incrementally. For instance, the government invested at its own risk, in necessary manufacturing capacity in advance while development was still underway. This let developers hit the ground running with manufacturing.

Two Doses? Why Do I Need to Do This Twice?
It’s not unprecedented for a second or booster dose of a vaccination to be necessary. Such is the case with both of the existing COVID-19 vaccines. The double dose enables the immune system to provide longer-lasting protection. If someone receives just the first shot, there may be some protection, but it’s unclear how much and how long it will last. The full benefits are achieved by receiving both doses.

What About Side Effects
There are potential side effects of the COVID vaccine. However, many people experience none at all.  Some people’s side effects that are experienced include soreness at the injection site, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, and fever. These tend to go away after a day or two. There have also been some allergic reactions, especially by people who have had allergic reactions in the past. You’ll also, no doubt, hear about extreme reactions. While under careful investigation, most of these have not been tied to the vaccines.

There’s an important takeaway. There’s no apparent rhyme or reason why even young, healthy people are hit hard by COVID; sometimes extremely hard, and even fatally. You don’t know how COVID-19 will effect you. On the other hand, the most likely side effects of the vaccine pale in comparison to the potentially serious impact of the virus.

Is the Vaccine Going to Change my DNA?
The vaccine does not change one’s DNA. In a nutshell, the COVD-19 vaccines use messenger RNA (nRNA). This is a genetic material that contains instructions for making proteins. It enters human cells and instructs them to produce the ‘spike protein’ that stimulates the body’s immune system to attack the coronavirus. The cell then degrades the mRNA, and there is no evidence that it remains in the cell. Dr. David Skorton, the President and CEO of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), reported that mRNA vaccines were made possible for COVID-19 “by decades of biomedical research within the  academic medicine community.”

Will the Vaccine Protect Me? Will it Protect Those Around Me?
According to the FDA, most vaccines that protect from viral illnesses also reduce viral transmission; the process by which viruses are spread by those who have been vaccinated. While there’s optimism about this being the case for the COVID-19 vaccines, the information is inconclusive at present. So while receiving the vaccine will protect you from getting sick, it’s unclear whether or not you can still transmit the virus to others. Therefore, for the time being, it’s strongly recommended to keep wearing a mask to protect other people.

Herd Immunity
Also known as community immunity, herd immunity is a confusing concept. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health explains that herd immunity results when the majority of the population is immune from a disease, providing indirect protection to people who are not immune. To achieve herd immunity, a large percentage of the population needs to get infected and/or get the vaccine. If we waited for enough people to get infected, it’s estimated that millions would die during the process. Consequently, becoming vaccinated is crucial to developing herd immunity.

Become Informed by the Experts
The available information about vaccines is abundant; some is reassuring, some is frightening, some is made by informed experts, some is theorized, some is accurate, some is false.  As you decide whether or not you want to become vaccinated, do your own research and make sure you reference authorities who have informed insight. Make your decision based on fact, science, and expert knowledge. Don’t do yourself the disservice of depending on theorists or alarmists for determining your future.

In closing, a nurse was recently asked if she was going to get the vaccine. She responded with an emphatic ‘yes.’ When countered, “Aren’t you afraid?” She said, “I’ve seen COVID-19 and how it ravages people, and so that is what makes me afraid.”

Stay healthy!

 

 

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!

×

IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.

×

As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.

×

All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.

×

It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.

×

Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!

×

Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!

×

Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.

×

I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.

×

My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!

×

I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.

×

I love being able to use my skills to help improve other people’s lives, and with a growing elderly population, it’s important to create meaningful and user-friendly digital solutions to aid the senior living industry.I have a wide range of technology and design skills with a deep interest in Human-Computer Interaction– helping IVY provide outstanding web design and print design services. IVY has a long-proven track record of excellence, and I’m proud to be able to help carry on that tradition. 

×