Well being professional: Vaccine hesitancy inflicting concern as Delta COVID-19 variant spreads | WJHL

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – As COVID-19 positivity rates and hospital admissions rise, health experts warn that the Delta variant is the culprit. A healthcare leader fears the reluctance to vaccinate is putting the population at risk.

Ballad Health Physician Executive Dr. Clay Runnels told News Channel 11 that the hospital system had 20 COVID-19 patients on July 5. He said the number rose to 44 on Tuesday.

“I think based on the information we have about the Delta variant, it is safe to say that the Delta variant is here and is spreading in our community,” said Runnels. “Hospitals remain a major problem for both patients and the hospital system, and we continue to promote vaccines as the best way to prevent this. In our data we see that the vast majority of people who are hospitalized in spring and summer are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. “

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He said the data collected by local health experts suggests the Delta variant may be a bigger cause for concern than expected, especially for those who remain unvaccinated.

“All of the vaccines currently available may be less effective at preventing some level of infection than the original Wuhan virus that was present in the states. However, it appears to be very effective in prevention – the vaccines – appear to be very effective in preventing hospitalizations and death. We continue to see about 95% of our hospitalizations and about 95% of our deaths are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, suggesting that the vaccines are still very effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, even if they are less effective at keeping one prevent some level of infection, “he said.

Although some data showed the Tri-Cities region saw an increase in COVID-19 vaccines last week, Runnels said Ballad Health saw no increase in the number of people looking for the vaccine.

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However, he said he is encouraging people to get the vaccine. Runnels said the data shows that those who are fully vaccinated and contract COVID-19 are less contagious to others.

“All the evidence related to vaccinations, and we have had well over 300,000 vaccinations in our area between different vaccine providers. It has been shown to be very safe, very effective, and a great way to protect yourself.” against serious illnesses and protect your fellow human beings against a serious illness of COVID-19. So I think the most important thing I, as a doctor and a health care leader, can highlight to the audience is the safe and effective availability of vaccines and what that means for them and the people around them. ” he said.

Runnels added that he hoped the less vaccinated areas of the region heed the warning.

“I think there is still good growth in vaccines, and there are certain counties that are getting close to that 50% mark, but there are big disparities in our region in many regions with lower immunization rates that worry me about patients in these churches, ”he said.

One local who heeded the warning is Mitchell Hancock, who works as a missionary in Spain except during the summer months.

“I’m here for the summer as there are no students and I got the vaccine as soon as I got back because it’s just not yet available for my age group in Spain,” said Hancock.

He said he had friends in their twenties – the same age as him – who received their injections, but only under very specific circumstances.

“One of them is a volunteer with the Red Cross, one of them is a teacher, and that’s how they got it, but one of them even got the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is now like they took it back, like they got it to not give.” now to anyone else. But I’m not exactly sure when my age group is, for example when it’s our turn in Spain, but I figured I might as well do it while I’m here, ”he explained.

One man in his twenties who has heeded warnings from health professionals is Mitchell Hancock, who works as a missionary in Spain except during the summer months. He was finally able to get his second dose of COVID vaccine this week. @ WJHL11 @ABCTriCities pic.twitter.com/QAV4N1sTOP

– Bianca Marais WJHL (@BiancaWJHL) July 20, 2021

He said he works closely with people on college campuses in Salamanca, Spain, so getting the vaccine is important to him.

“One of the difficult things about the ministry last year was that we had limited ourselves to liking certain small groups or just going outside. I’ve never hesitated – I don’t like vaccinations or vaccines, but I thought it was for the common good, and especially in a job like mine where I’m with people every day as if my job is to be in conversation being and being in the community with people, so I think that’s even more important, ”he said.

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Hancock said other countries don’t have vaccines as readily available as they do in America, so he urges anyone who is eligible to get the vaccine.

“If you can – get vaccinated. I understand there are a lot of people out there who can’t for health reasons or whatever, but I think it’s the right thing I think. I mean, if we get vaccines, fewer people will die. For example, I’m not a great scientist, but when fewer people are going to die from a simple decision I can make, I feel like it’s a no-brainer, ”he said.

He said he had no adverse side effects other than drowsiness after receiving his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a Walgreens pharmacy in Johnson City.

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