Opinion: Area psychiatrist urges Congress to push for a COVID-19 vaccine

We’re approaching the start of the third month of New Jersey’s fight against COVID-19. I regularly quantify how much time has passed as it seems the normalcy we knew earlier this year is worlds away. As a health care professional, I don’t see much relief in sight; though we’ve passed our peak, the destruction this virus has caused on our community’s health will take months, if not years, to repair.


The physical impact is being addressed by our nation’s doctors and nurses, real-life heroes who are making a difference every day in the lives of patients. The mental health impact that this pandemic will have on all of us has yet to be reckoned with, and reasonably so. However, as a psychiatrist, I know some of the damage this has caused will be irreparable, and we’ll be left to deal with this long after we’ve put this virus behind us. But the only way we will begin to reckon with this damage and towards normalcy is with a vaccine.

New Jersey’s legislators need to support America’s biopharmaceutical industry as they progress towards a vaccine. The industry is collaborating at a higher degree than ever before in pursuit of a cure, the only thing that stands to end the nightmare we’re currently living in. Without one, we’ll be forced to live in fear, knowing every time we venture out, we risk both our health and the health of those we’re living with. Without a vaccine, the collective mental health of our nation will continue to decline.

I urge New Jersey’s representatives in Congress to fully support the biopharmaceutical industry as they work overtime to find a vaccine for this horrible disease.

Gagandeep Singh, MD