White flags on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. representing over 600,000 lost to COVID-19.
Photo by Joe Flood

Every day I read stories on the Internet and in the newspaper of the deaths of previously healthy people who died of COVID-19. They were good people, caring parents, working people who seemed like responsible citizens. What they all shared was not being immunized against COVID-19. 

Maybe they were just “vaccine hesitant” — one of those who wasn’t convinced of the value and safety of the vaccines. Maybe they didn’t understand the true implications, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say the lack of implications, of an “emergency use authorization” by the FDA rather than a full approval. 

Perhaps they believed they were healthy enough that they didn’t need the vaccination. They harbored the belief that their immune system was functioning well. After all, they felt they were healthy, exercised regularly, and took supplements.

Maybe the possible side effects of the vaccine were what discouraged the vaccine-hesitant. Most people who receive the vaccine have no

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September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, also known as Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. Leukemia and lymphoma are types of cancer that can affect the bone marrow, blood cells, lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system

Someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer every three minutes, with someone dying as a result every nine minutes. An estimated combined total of 186,400 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma in 2021, leading to an estimated 57,750 deaths this year.

There are multiple types of leukemia, some more common than others. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) affects bone marrow and blood and has several subtypes that affect the type of treatment and likely outcomes, though will progress quickly if left untreated; acute myeloid leukemia (AML) affects cells that are not fully developed limiting their ability to carry out their normal functions, and can be difficult to treat; chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia

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It looks like COVID-19 will be with us for a while longer, probably many years if we continue the way we are going. 

Nationwide there is significant variation in both the COVID vaccination rate and the number of new COVID-19 cases. A recent increase in the number of cases, doubling or tripling in some areas, occurred in unvaccinated individuals due to the Delta variant. The Delta variant is currently the most contagious form and makes up 98.8% of new COVID cases. In response to this vaccinations have increased in some, though not all, areas. While the COVID infection rate is decreasing in areas with higher vaccination rates and the rate continues to increase in areas with lower vaccination rates, the overall rate may be leveling off for the moment.

When comparing COVID vaccination and infection rates, there seem to be two different Americas

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NeedyMeds was started in 1997 when a family physician and a medical social worker realized there were dozens of pharmaceutical patient assistance programs available, providing medications to those in need at low- or no-cost, but no centralized resource for the information.  We became that resource, using the relatively new (at the time) Internet as the perfect medium for the constantly changing information. Despite growing significantly since our inception, we still have an expanding database of Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) to help those unable to cover the costs of prescriptions.

Patient assistance programs are typically funded by pharmaceutical companies to help uninsured and underinsured patients get their medication for free or low-cost. There are no regulations or laws dictating that pharmaceutical companies must provide PAPs, so the eligibility requirements often vary from program to program. Most require personal information (full name, address, date of birth, social security number), information from your doctor, and a valid prescription. Some PAPs require information on insurance

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The number of new COVID-19 cases in our country is increasing again. This is occurring almost entirely in unvaccinated individuals. Despite this, the vaccination rates are declining. One of the major deterrents to vaccination is the misinformation being spread by social media and some news outlets. This blog will identify and attempt to dispel some of the common myths about COVID-19 vaccines.

Myth #1 They are dangerous because we don’t know enough about the side effects. 

When it comes to vaccinations, over a century of experience has shown that side effects are almost always seen within the first two weeks after the immunization, and definitely by two months. Since there have been over 365,800,000 doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines given over the last 8½ months in the U.S alone, there is little likelihood that there are any unknown short or long-term side effects.

As far as being dangerous, the most important point about vaccine side effects is that they are usually minor compared

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