VHHA intensifies effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard – stock.adobe.com)

The seven-day moving average of new cases in Virginia is at 3,630 as of today, nearly 15 times the seven-day moving average (228) as of July 5. Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations have likewise risen from 195 in early July to more than 2,100, a 1,005 percent increase.

As hospital and ICU beds fill due to growing COVID-19 caseloads, Virginia hospitals are also experiencing increased demand for emergency department services for other acute medical needs and are providing care to Afghan refugees newly arriving in the United States.

The combined impact of these conditions is placing significant strain on the Commonwealth’s health care delivery system as we brace for a looming fall COVID-19 surge.

Against this backdrop, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association has launched a new statewide public education and outreach campaign promoting the importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19 as new infections and hospitalizations surge across the Commonwealth, especially among those who are unvaccinated.

This campaign features a digital video that is being circulated on social media platforms and targeted to reach vaccine hesitant audiences. An audio-only version of the video has also been shipped to radio stations throughout Virginia as a public service announcement.

The 30-second video emphasizes the importance for unvaccinated Virginians to help save lives and slow the spread of this deadly virus by getting vaccinated. Virginia Department of Health data shows that since Jan. 17, 2021, just 0.4 percent of fully vaccinated Virginians have had a breakthrough COVID-19 infection, 0.017 percent have been hospitalized, and 0.0038 percent have died from the virus. And a recent analysis from the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker found that 98 percent of U.S. adults hospitalized for COVID-19 in June and July were unvaccinated.

“Increasing Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is a safe and effective way to help us move beyond the pandemic and return to some version of normalcy. Vaccines are free, federally-approved, and proven to be highly effective in preventing infection and hospitalization,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “In addition to protecting yourself and the people around you, getting vaccinated is a way to honor the dedicated health care professionals across the Commonwealth who have bravely served on the frontlines of this pandemic for more than 18 months. So please, make a plan today to get vaccinated if you haven’t done so already.”

VHHA unveils this campaign as Virginia finds itself in the midst of a more than two-month surge of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that began in July and has continued on an alarming upward trajectory since. The highly transmissible delta variant is fueling much of the current surge, which is disproportionately impacting unvaccinated individuals.

This latest outreach is a continuation of efforts by Virginia hospitals and health systems, VHHA, and other health care stakeholders to promote vaccinations. Virginia hospitals have administered more than 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses so far and continue to support community vaccination efforts and clinics. VHHA is on record supporting Virginia hospitals that implement COVID-19 vaccine requirements for staff members, has joined with multiple health care organizations to publicly urge Virginians to get vaccinated, and has partnered with VDH on a series of educational videos featuring health care providers answering common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

While Virginia has made significant progress on vaccinations – 65.5 percent of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose and more than 4.95 million Virginians are fully vaccinated – more must be done to limit the spread of a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 12,100 Virginians and 660,000 Americans and has so far infected more than 41 million people in the U.S.

Virginia adults and adolescents ages 12-15 are eligible to be vaccinated. Immunocompromised individuals who are vaccinated can now receive a third vaccine dose. COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection for people against serious illness, the spread of infection, hospitalization, or death. Getting vaccinated protects those who have been inoculated as well as the people around them.

Any unvaccinated Virginian who is eligible to be vaccinated is urged to visit https://vaccinate.virginia.gov or  www.vaccines.gov to get more information about vaccination, including vaccine locations in local communities across the Commonwealth.

 


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