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Vaccination count lagging

We reported in last week’s edition about special efforts by the Western Tidewater Health District to reach the people who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The outreach effort features teams of people wearing branded vests going door-to-door in residential areas and businesses in Isle of Wight, Suffolk, Franklin and Southampton County and offering education and information about the vaccine and the opportunity to register for upcoming clinics.

As of July 19, all areas of the health district were trailing the statewide number of 61% of adults fully vaccinated. Isle of Wight was highest in the region but still inadequate at 56.2%. Surry, while not part of the Western Tidewater Health District, also was lagging at 52.8%.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, 99.3% of COVID-19 deaths statewide from Jan. 21 to June 25 were people not fully vaccinated. Keeping in mind that many people didn’t even have access to the vaccine until later in that time range, that’s an astounding percentage.

Additionally, 99% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 had not been fully vaccinated, and 99.4% of people who tested positive had not been fully vaccinated.

The numbers are clear: The vaccine helps prevent getting sick, getting severely ill and dying from COVID-19.

It’s sad and tragic that this virus, and the lifesaving science developed in record time to help prevent it, was politicized rather than used as a common thread to unite us in the fight. And that has cost lives, as there are still people dying of COVID-19 who may have not even gotten sick if they had taken the vaccine.

There may be some who do not think they need to get vaccinated, because they do not have any risk factors. However, we ask those people to remember that their unvaccinated status is potentially fueling the development of more dangerous variants and putting at risk people in our community who cannot get vaccinated, or for whom vaccination may not work well, because of a compromised immune system.

Schedule your vaccine today by going to www.vaccines.gov.