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As the Doors Open for Some, They Close for Others: The story of a Vulnerable CLL Family in Dublin, Ireland

In science and medicine, information is constantly changing and may become out-of-date as new data emerge. All articles and interviews are informational only, should never be considered medical advice, and should never be acted on without review with your health care team.

We all want this nightmare to be over. We want to be rid of masks and to be able to enjoy our social and public life again. We are tired of waiting to feel safe enough to share a show, a meal, or a pint with friends.

And we are tantalizing close, but we aren’t there yet.

The Omicron surge may have peaked in many locales, but the number is still too high to declare victory.

New effective prophylactic and treatment options have been authorized, but until they are easy to access for all that need them, what good are they?

In my recent opinion piece, Nothing is Perfect; 100% safety from infection is never coming. But if, and it’s a big if, governments and their citizens act with some logic, wisdom, and compassion, the odds of a bad outcome soon will be firmly in our favor even with CLL / SLL.

We are not there yet, and until we are, we mustn’t forget about the vulnerable, the “Prisoners of the Pandemic.” These shadow families, including those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic/lymphoma (CLL / SLL) with impaired immunity, still need to be considered in all societal decisions about “opening up” again.

Instead, the vulnerable “forgotten families'” real concerns are unheard. Ireland is a prime example of how not to handle reducing restrictions.

Once all those with CLL / SLL can have sure access to effective pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with appropriate monoclonal antibody protection and quick and easy testing and therapies, then and only then should the masks come down.

Jan Rynne is a longtime friend, a CLL patient, and a mother of school-age children in Dublin. She and her husband, Michael, were founders of the charity CLL Ireland that does such important advocacy work in Ireland.

Please listen to her short radio interview on what is happening and what should be happening in Ireland.

Stay strong.  We are all in this together.


Brian Koffman MDCM (retired) MS Ed (he, him, his)
Co-Founder, Executive VP, and Chief Medical Officer
CLL Society, Inc.