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'Without A Vaccine, You Are A Sitting Duck': Wisconsin Health Officials Urge Vaccination As COVID Cases Rise

Vaccination Efforts Continue Throughout Los Angeles
Mario Tama
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A sign displays the types of COVID-19 vaccination doses available at a Walgreens mobile bus clinic on June 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Wisconsin health officials are pleading for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

The state’s COVID case numbers are ticking up to a daily average of 242 over the past week. Hospitalizations have spiked in southeast Wisconsin and the Fox Valley region.

During a press briefing Thursday, Department of Health Services (DHS) Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said it’s unvaccinated people ending up in the hospital.

"Nearly all of these patients could have avoided this fate if they had been vaccinated, so why didn’t they?" Van Dijk asked. "Many of them received incorrect information about vaccines via social media or friends or family members who were also informed by errant sources."

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Fifty-one percent of Wisconsin residents have received at least one vaccine dose. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed down to about 5,000 per day. Meanwhile, the more contagious delta variant now makes up more than 80% of COVID cases nationwide, according to the CDC.

"What is true is that vaccines are safe and vaccines are effective," Willems Van Dijk said. "And without a vaccine, you are a sitting duck for COVID-19."

DHS Chief Medical Officer Ryan Westergaard said less than 2% of COVID cases since January have been breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people.

"There’s no vaccine that’s ever been 100%. But when we’re talking about virus that when left unchecked will essentially infect every human on the planet, having a tool that can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 90% will save millions of lives," Westergaard said.

DHS officials also urged parents to get their children vaccinated. Kids age 12 and up are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, which is a two-shot series. Willems Van Dijk said students should get their first shot now in order to be protected by the start of the school year.

Emily has been reporting on Milwaukee-area education for WUWM since 2018.
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