Vaccination efforts continue as concern for the holiday season inflates

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A lot has happened in the past few weeks. Children ages 5-11 got approved for Pfizer, and those aged 18 and over are approved for a booster.

While this is good news for doctors, there’s still tremendous concern heading into the holidays.

Cases are climbing once again, and health officials say you have ten times the risk of being hospitalized if you’re not vaccinated.

The 7-day average for Monroe County is just over 8%, higher than surrounding regions throughout the state. According to medical experts, the best thing you can do is get vaccinated, whether that’s getting your first dose, or getting your booster if eligible.

Cases are especially on the rise for school-aged children. Health officials say it could be due to a number of reasons: being in the classroom again, colder weather and the delta variant.

Justine Hoffmann, nurse manager for vaccine clinic at Arnett Boulevard, says she’s encouraging parents to get their child vaccinated right away, if they’re old enough.

“We had a great turnout here at His Branches, this is our first pediatric vaccine clinic that we’ve done, we had upwards of a couple dozen kids come in get their first vaccine,” Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann says while they’re pleased with the recent turnout, there’s still plenty of parents with questions.

“We had a parent this morning on the fence about getting her kids vaccinated, she was able to talk to one of the great pharmacists here from St. John Fisher who came and volunteered with us,” Hoffman said. “We know the science is solid and the vaccine is safe.”

The booster shot is another topic gaining a lot of interest. On Friday, the CDC and FDA approved the third shot for anyone over the age of 18, at least six months out from the second dose.

Dr. Emil Lesho with Rochester Regional Health says this is the time frame where doctors see waning immunity – contributing to more breakthrough cases. On top of that, the push to get a first dose to those not vaccinated at all, still remains a priority.

“Nine out of 10 patients in the intensive care unit for COVID, and on ventilators or on heart-lung machines, are unvaccinated patients,” Dr. Lesho said.

The advice for the public remains the same — don’t let your guard down. Wash your hands, wear a mask in high-risk settings.

Recognizing symptoms is another big step in mitigation. Call your doctor and get tested right away the minute you start feeling sick.

Despite 70% of the local population being vaccinated, 80% of patients are not vaccinated in URMC hospitals, according to the chief medical officer there.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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