Conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity this week called Dr. Anthony Fauci “flip flop Fauci” for playing “word games” to, according to Hannity, escape responsibility for his alleged role in the Covid-19 pandemic.
When Senator Rand Paul raised the allegation this week during a Senate hearing, Fauci said, “You do not know what you are talking about.”
But there is one thing upon which Fauci and Hannity agree: Individuals should get their Covid-19 vaccinations.
“Please take Covid seriously, I can’t say it enough,” Hannity implored his audience earlier this week. “I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination.”
Hannity was not alone.
Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA), who received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last weekend, called out those who have not been vaccinated to get their shots. “There shouldn’t be any hesitancy over whether or not it’s safe and effective,” he said.
Well, better late than never. The renewed emphasis on Covid vaccinations, whether by medical professionals, political leaders or media personalities, comes at a critical time. The Delta variant is reigniting virus infections across the country.
It is responsible for at least 80 percent of new cases, with surges reported in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Connecticut. The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday, “Like other hospitals in the Kansas City region, the University of Kansas Health System is turning down transfer patients because its beds are full, setting up a potential crisis.”
In West Virginia, the state Department of Health and Human Resources reports only 35 cases of the Delta variant, but Covid-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh says we should not be complacent. “I am very worried,” Marsh said.
The number of current active cases in the state is beginning to inch back upward. There were 1,225 active cases as of Thursday’s report, up from fewer than 1,000 just a few days ago. Hospitalizations in West Virginia for Covid, which had dropped to 52 July 4th—the lowest level of the year, are back to up 89.
The state’s vaccination rate among older West Virginians is excellent. Eighty-two percent of individuals 50 and older have received at least one shot. However, the rate among young people is lagging. Less than half of individuals 18-29 have gotten a shot and only 41 percent of those 12 to 17 have received at least one shot.
General Jim Hoyer, head of the multi-agency Covid-19 Task Force, believes slowdown in vaccinations will take a human toll. “We know the people going into the hospitals and the people dying are unvaccinated, so we’ve got to get this moving, he said on MetroNews Talkline Thursday. “Let’s get vaccinated so we can get past this thing.”
Hoyer said the state has thousands of unused vaccine doses that are set to expire over the next 30 days. He is exploring the possibility of sending the vaccine to Qatar and Peru, countries West Virginia’s National Guard has partnerships with, so the doses do not go to waste.
Sadly, the Covid-19 vaccine has been heavily politicized, as well as being the subject of conspiracy theories and misinformation. It is as though some people are trying desperately to try to find any reason, even if it is a half-baked Facebook post, to not get the shot.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said this week that he is often asked when the pandemic will end. “My answer is equally simple: The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. We have the tools to prevent transmissions and save lives.”
The easiest and most effective tool is vaccination.