‘You only have 2 choices...get the vaccine or get COVID-19′ Delta variant driving local case rises

Pointing to new data showing a rise in coronavirus cases across the state, the top doctor at the Ohio Department of Health issued a plea to people who have not received the vaccine so far to get the shot.

”We are now looking at a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer of the Ohio Department of Health.

In an on-line briefing with reporters Wednesday, Vanderhoff said despite what some people are saying on social media and anti-vaccine web sites, the vaccines are safe and effective. “You only have two choices, to get the vaccine or get COVID-19,” Vanderhoff said.

>> Vandalia camera program aims to become new style of neighborhood watch

When Vanderhoff spoke, the data from earlier in the week indicated 744 new cases of the virus in a 24-hour period. Later in the day it jumped to 785 new cases, far more than the 21-day average of 380. The culprit? Vanderhoff said the increase of cases is due to the spread of the Delta variant, which he identified as being more contagious.

So why are people avoiding the vaccine? Doctors joining Vanderhoff on the briefing said some people may be resisting because they do not trust the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. Dr. Amy Edwards, UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Cleveland, said parents should talk with their doctor if they have questions about the vaccines. She said all medications, vaccines included, come with risks, but they are small compared to the illness. “The risk of the vaccine is much less than COVID itself,” Edwards said.

>> Local organization gets $6M in funding to upgrade infrastructure

Edwards added that some people declined to follow doctors’ advice because the vaccines only had emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. She said full authorization may not come until late this year.

So far, children under 12 do not qualify for the vaccines. Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, urged people to get the vaccine, if not to protect themselves, then to protect children in their own families. “That way you take care of the kids in your life,” Manning-Courtney said.