The Oto Observer is a biannual publication of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Please direct any questions or comments to Otolaryngology@augusta.edu

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Chair's Note

kountakis

         February 4, 2022

         Dear readers,

I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are looking forward to the New Year. I was personally hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic would be over by now, but I am writing this as the pandemic rages everywhere and as a recovering COVID-19 patient. I contracted COVID-19 even though I am fully vaccinated with a booster, but luckily, I am recovering mostly intact, except for my complete loss of sense of smell. It seems the virus hit where it hurts, since I enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner and would spend time sensing its flavor and aroma. So much for that… at least for now.

I also see many of my colleagues, residents and staff contracting COVID-19 even though they are fully vaccinated and am thankful that all have recovered with minimal morbidity. It looks like current vaccination does not prevent infection but limits COVID-19 disease severity. 

I am also watching the debate against vaccination and am perplexed as to why anyone would deny vaccination, especial the ones with other disease morbidity, so they receive experimental monoclonal antibody therapy that is probably as, or even more, toxic than the vaccine itself. But logic entails that vaccination would not prevent these COVID-19 variants from appearing since it is not possible to vaccinate the whole world at the same time. The Delta and Omicron variants came from other continents and they could not be prevented even if everyone in the United States was vaccinated. So I advise patient education and limit the negative feelings against the unvaccinated. The enemy are not the patients, but misinformation and ignorance. Socrates said: “There is only one good: knowledge and one bad: ignorance”. So our duty is to educate and inform our patients about the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination, even if it takes time from our practice. Our duty is to take care of the sick regardless of their background and any other characteristic that defines them, ideology or ignorance, as we are healers and not judges or juries.

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

Stil Kountakis, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Edward S. Porubsky, MD Distinguished Chair in Otolaryngology
skountakis@augusta.edu 

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