The United States is in its fourth wave due to the delta variant (DV) mostly in large unvaccinated or under-vaccinated areas. Cases are rising rapidly, and the death toll is soaring again.
Daily COVID-19 cases have risen above 100,000, with a death rate above 1,000 as of Sept. 7. Despite 40 million cases and 652,000 deaths, some of us have not learned the lesson and are still unvaccinated.
Political divide in the country has clouded the judgement of many people regarding this pandemic. It is taking a big toll on people’s lives. Despite availability of all three COVID-19 vaccines, only 60% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. Our goal is to reach 70-80% in order to create herd immunity. Major resistance continues to exist.
The COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer/Biotech and Moderna are messenger RNA-based vaccines that are extremely effective and have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for regular use. The Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine is only one shot with approval for emergency use authorization so far. All vaccines take two weeks to create antibodies in order to provide protection against the virus. The protection from the vaccine is supposed to last for at least six to eight months. Vaccines are safe and effective with minimal side effects. They save lives.
DV has accounted for more than 80% of the new cases and is considered more contagious and rapidly transmitted. These vaccines are highly effective at fighting against the delta variant type as well.
According to news reports, nationally, 97% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Extreme examples found in the news were a vaccinated mother that had only mild symptoms after contracting the delta variant while her two unvaccinated sons died.
One study by COVID-Net of the CDC shows that unvaccinated people are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die due to COVID-19. There are more strains, like lambda and mu, that are emerging that may become more prominent in future. They are being monitored closely by the CDC.
Approval has been granted for booster shot administration of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines to people with weakened immunity starting Sept. 20 and 8 months after an individual’s second dose of the vaccine. People qualifying for a booster shot should receive the same type that they got the first time. Antibody titers are expected to increase 20-fold after a booster shot.
There are many rules in the United States that we accept without any question like a speed limit, and certain medications for illnesses despite known serious side effects. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of health for the entire nation and each person must do their part. The people who are still hesitant are suffering the consequences.
Let us all work to get more people vaccinated. Mass vaccination all over the world is the only way to eradicate this menace. Major efforts are being undertaken by our local and state governments, health and travel industries, schools, restaurants and sports facilities to mandate vaccination for their use. These efforts and the continued rising death toll among unvaccinated are driving people toward vaccination. We hear the cries of people in their hospital bed pleading for people to get vaccinated.
MercyOne Clinton Medical Center is at the forefront of providing healthcare to our Clinton-area residents. We encourage all our healthcare workers and the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We are already starting to see new cases emerge in our area.
Even after vaccination, basic rules will still apply, including wearing a mask outside of homes in crowded areas, social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding social gatherings if possible.