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National Immunization Awareness Month: “Not only protecting yourself, you’re protecting the people around you”

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:59 PM EDT
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - As the Delta variant continues to gain traction, cases are increasing throughout the country.

“The way we’re going right now. It is not a good outcome. Everyday the country is reporting 100,000 cases per day,” said Chief of Infectious Disease at ARH and MCHC Dr. Fares Khater.

Just one week ago there was an influx of COVID-19 patients at all ARH hospitals.

“We had around 77 patients. 18 were in the ICU and 8 were on the ventilators. But just to be clear here, only 7 of the 77 had been vaccinated,” he said.

Health Officials say this makes the push for vaccination even greater.

“The ultimate end game of all this is vaccination, and that is why we continue to harp on that in a very very - proactive way,” said Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Dr. Anthony Fauci.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness for the role vaccines play by preventing diseases.

“Not only protecting yourself, you’re protecting the people around you because the COVID-19 can get from you to other people and make them sick,” Dr. Khater said.

While some COVID-19 vaccines are still in the works, routine vaccinations should continue despite the pandemic to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

“Mainly children who don’t have access to vaccination yet… elderly patient who is low in immune system and patient who is organ transplant,” he said. “That should not be the case. Vaccinations for children is very important way to prevent diseases that we don’t see anymore.”

Dr. Khater and other health officials encourage people to seriously consider getting the vaccine.

“So we can get to herd immunity which is 70 to 80% of the United States having protected immunity against the virus,” he said. “The best way, the least painful way to do this is to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Khater says the Food and Drug Administration is hoping to fully approve the Pfizer vaccine sometime in August.

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