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Schedule your vaccine today

In today’s edition, you can read about special efforts by the Western Tidewater Health District to reach the people who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The outreach effort will feature teams of people wearing branded vests going door-to-door in residential areas and businesses in Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County. They will offer education and information about the vaccine and the opportunity to register for upcoming clinics.

All areas of the health district are trailing the state average in percent of people fully vaccinated. That percentage here in Suffolk? Not even 50% of adults.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, across Virginia, 99.3% of COVID-19 deaths from Jan. 21 to June 25 were in people not fully vaccinated. Keeping in mind that many people didn’t even have access to the vaccine until later in that time range, that’s an astounding percent.

Additionally, 99% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 had not been fully vaccinated, and 99.4% of people who tested positive had not been fully vaccinated.

The numbers are clear: the vaccine helps prevent getting sick, getting severely ill, and dying from COVID-19.

The way we see it, it’s sad and tragic that this virus, and the lifesaving science developed in record time to help prevent it, was so politicized. Like so many other things, politicians on both sides used this virus and vaccine as a wedge to polarize and divide us, rather than a common thread to unite us in the fight. And that has cost lives, as there are still people dying of COVID-19 who may have not even gotten sick if they had taken the vaccine.

There may be some who do not think they need to get vaccinated, because they do not have any risk factors. However, we ask those people to remember that their unvaccinated status is potentially fueling the development of more dangerous variants and putting at risk people in our community who cannot get vaccinated, or for whom vaccination may not work well, because of a compromised immune system.

Schedule your vaccine today by going to www.vaccines.gov.