Sunday, September 26, 2021

‘We cannot stress enough the importance of becoming vaccinated’


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Capital Regional Medical Center released a joint statement Wednesday urging the community to get vaccinated as the delta variant spreads in Leon County.

The hospitals say they’re seeing a “dramatic increase” in COVID-19 hospitalizations in unvaccinated people under 50 years old, including many people in their 20s and 30s.

Together, TMH and CRMC had 47 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on July 21, a number they say is much higher than the week before.

The number of hospitalizations in Leon County residents over the age of 65 has decreased since more than 77 percent of that population is vaccinated.

CRMC Chief Medical Officer Trey Blake says the Tallahassee healthcare community wants the trend of younger people getting hospitalized to stop.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of becoming vaccinated. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be one of the most effective tools we have to stop the spread of the virus,” Blake says. “It is imperative that everyone continue to take measures to protect yourself, your family and our community, and follow guidance from public health officials to help stop this new wave in its tracks.”

TMH Chief Integration Officer Dean Watson says the delta variant has reached Leon County.

“This variant is significantly more contagious than the original (alpha) variant of the virus,” Watson says. “The good news is the COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be incredibly effective against the delta variant. Because of this, the delta variant is spreading predominantly amongst the unvaccinated population.”

Watson also says past COVID-19 infections do not ensure immunity to variants.

“Many individuals feel they don’t need a vaccine if they have had COVID-19 previously. This is a myth,” Watson says. “The best mode of ensuring immunity is by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is proven to be effective.”

The hospitals’ joint statement says there are rare cases in which fully vaccinated individuals may contract COVID-19; however, those cases “are likely to be significantly less severe than if the individuals had not been vaccinated.”

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool to protect people from getting COVID-19 or becoming severely ill from the virus, including reducing the risk of hospitalization and death,” the statement says.

The hospitals explained the COVID-19 vaccines have efficacy rates of 90 to 95 percent, and no vaccine prevents illness 100 percent of the time.

You can read the full joint statement below.

The Tallahassee healthcare community is seeing a dramatic increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the non-vaccinated, under age 50 population, including many individuals in their 20s and 30s. Together, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Capital Regional Medical Center currently have 47 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, which is significantly higher than last week.

With over 77 percent of Leon County residents aged 65 and over already vaccinated, we are seeing the number of hospitalizations in this population decrease.

“We are closely monitoring this spike in positive cases and continuing to practice the same mitigation strategies we have used throughout the pandemic to protect our colleagues and patients,” shared Trey Blake, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Capital Regional Medical Center. “Across the nation, we are seeing younger patients, on average 40-50 years old and unvaccinated, who need treatment and hospitalization. We want to ensure this trend does not continue. We cannot stress enough the importance of becoming vaccinated. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be one of the most effective tools we have to stop the spread of the virus. It is imperative that everyone continue to take measures to protect yourself, your family and our community, and follow guidance from public health officials to help stop this new wave in its tracks.”

“We now know the delta variant has reached Leon County,” said Dean Watson, MD, Chief Integration Officer at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Capital Health Plan. “This variant is significantly more contagious than the original (alpha) variant of the virus. The good news is the COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be incredibly effective against the delta variant. Because of this, the delta variant is spreading predominantly amongst the unvaccinated population. Many individuals feel they don’t need a vaccine if they have had COVID-19 previously. This is a myth. Past infection does not ensure immunity to variants. The best mode of ensuring immunity is by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is proven to be effective.”

While COVID-19 vaccines have proven to have efficacy rates of 90 to 95 percent, no vaccine prevents illness 100 percent of the time. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated individuals who contract the virus. However, the vaccine remains a highly effective, lifesaving tool; symptoms in these “breakthrough cases” are likely to be significantly less severe than if the individuals had not been vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool to protect people from getting COVID-19 or becoming severely ill from the virus, including reducing the risk of hospitalization and death.

Copyright 2021 WCTV. All rights reserved.



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