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CDC: COVID deaths are preventable if more get vaccinated

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 4:58 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The country has hit about 65% of adults with at least one vaccine shot, but it continues to look like the U.S. will not hit President Biden’s goal of 70% by July 4.

Still, health leaders continue to push more people to get vaccinations saying it could be the meaning of life or death.

This week, the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said given the vaccines that are available, those vaccines prevent most COVID deaths if people would just get those shots into arms.

The need is even greater with the increased spread of the new Delta variant.

About two-thirds of the state of Alabama remain unvaccinated. An infectious disease doctor at UAB said there is no reason for lives to be at risk due to infectious disease.

“A year ago, we were looking for something like this silver bullet to get us out of the pandemic. We have it now and it’s available. It’s available in almost every area you can look for it,” said Dr. Jodie Dionne.

Dr. Dionne believes the threat will increase with the gradual spread of the Delta variant, which is more contagious than the initial strain of COVID-19.

Health leaders say the more people that remain unvaccinated, the more chances variant viruses can mutate and possibly develop into an infectious disease that causes problems for vaccines.

“The great concern we have is with a great unvaccinated population, we are set up to see mutations arise that may overwhelm the protection of our vaccine,” Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said.

Dr. Dionne said in the ICU at UAB, she has seen the impact on families of those who are not vaccinated.

”The family is saying what should we have done? What should have we done differently so our loved one, our daughter, our son, our mother or grandfather wouldn’t be on this ventilator and the answer we can give to prevent is this vaccine,” Dr. Dionne said.

Many national health leaders believed the Delta variant is on track to become the dominant virus in the country including Alabama.

Vaccines work against this virus, but if there were a large number of people unvaccinated, other mutations can cause even bigger problems.

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