In most instances, we cheer when our state holds the top spot in a given category against other states, especially neighboring rivalries like Kansas or Arkansas. But this week Missouri tops a list that does not reflect well on our state. As of June 29, Missouri led the nation in new Covid-19 cases.
This was due, in large part, to the lower vaccination rates is some Missouri communities. And while the percentage of Saline County residents who have been vaccinated stands at about 36%, Fitzgibbon Hospital and clinic sites still have vaccine available for anyone wishing to receive a vaccine.
The positive aspect of the recent uptick in cases is that, for the two virus variants that are making their way across the state, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been proven to be highly effective in preventing acquisition of the virus or severe illness. For those who do test positive for Covid-19 following administration of both doses of vaccine, their symptoms have been shown to be significantly less severe than those who were never vaccinated. The Food and Drug Administration has now expanded its emergency use authorization to include children aged 12 and up.
“When the vaccines first came out, Fitzgibbon Hospital and our partners in the community came together in a full-court-press to make sure that everyone who wanted to be vaccinated had that opportunity,” said Angy Littrell, President and CEO of Fitzgibbon Hospital. “Our vaccination efforts continue to this day through our clinics in Marshall, Slater, Brunswick and Fayette. We know the demand for the vaccine waned a bit in late spring, but it is our hope that when people see this new, highly contagious variant sweeping across our state, they will seek out the vaccination. This will help minimize the effect of the variants that we are already seeing in our area.”
Figures from testing conducted at Fitzgibbon Hospital show 46 new cases of Covid-19 since June 6. It is unclear whether the cases are the new variant, as exact identification of the variant requires processing at a Missouri state-run laboratory.
The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of the Covid-19 virus was first identified in India in December 2020. Experts say it spreads far faster. The Delta variant is 50 percent more transmissible than the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant, which is 50 percent more transmissible than the originally identified Covid-19 virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in a warning on their website, “These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of Covid-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths. So far, studies suggest that the current authorized vaccines work on these circulating variants.”
Obtaining the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine is free to the public, and the process for obtaining the vaccine is very easy. Simply go online to www.fitzgibbon.org/preregister. Fill out the web form and hit submit. A member of the patient registration team will call to setup your appointment. If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, you can call the Fitzgibbon Hospital Vaccine message line for telephone pre-registration at (660)831-3783.