Local vaccine rates are too low, putting the CSRA at risk from the Delta variant

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Augusta, GA (WJBF)- President Joe Biden missed his July 4th vaccine goal of 70% of Americans having at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. The reason for these low numbers? Many Southern states have much lower vaccine rates.

Dr. Joshua Wyche at Augusta University Health said in Richmond and Columbia counties about 30-35 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. That number increases to about 40% when you add in partially vaccinated people.

He said vaccines have slowed down because people are experiencing a false sense of security.

“A couple factors played into that. Number one, the vaccine was readily available at that time. Everybody could go get it that wanted it. And number two, we saw a decline in the number of people being sick and hospitalized within our area. I think it gave us a false sense of confidence that COVID was going away,” said Dr. Wyche, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Pharmacy Services.

He said people stopped going to get vaccinated last spring despite the Alpha variant running rampant.

“And I think the real story out of that is that as more and more people got vaccinated we saw less and less incidence of disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID. From the alpha variant which was running rampant during the winter time frame.”

Dr. Wyche said the Delta variant, which is responsible for more than half of current COVID cases nationwide, still poses a threat, especially among unvaccinated people. He said he strongly encourages people who have not yet been vaccinated to go get their shot.

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