“We also had a great deal of adoption of vaccines by all employees,” said Wolbert. “We haven’t had any Covid-positive staff for a month and a half.”
Unvaccinated patients have become a rarity at Gates Vascular and Buffalo General in need of procedures that include cardiac, vascular, and neurological screenings, stents to open blood vessels, and valve and aneurysm repair. These patients are usually older and have more than one condition.
“Most of them got the vaccine either on their own initiative or with encouragement from their GP practice,” said Iyer, who performs about 5% of the 200 or so procedures per day. “I’ve probably seen a person this week who is really unvaccinated.”
Vargo – a native of Southtowns who began seeing patients at Excelsior in mid-September – understands the ramifications of the pandemic from both sides of the patient-doctor equation. His son Daniel Jr. was born October 1 and spent a week in the neonatal intensive care unit at the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.
“It’s very strange when you go to a hospital and everyone is wearing masks,” said the doctor. “When you’re on the patient side, so to speak, it certainly feels a lot more stressful.”
Iyer predicted that many of the virus prevention protocols will stay in place for at least this year as concerns about virus variants persist, along with about 30% of Americans’ reluctance and opposition to vaccines.