‘Either you get vaccinated or you are going to get COVID-19’: Health experts address problem of vaccine hesitancy in Ohio

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 12:52 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Several of the state’s top medical professionals used strong words to urge any remaining Ohioans who have not yet been vaccinated for the coronavirus to get the shot. Telling Ohioans who are not vaccinated; it’s not a matter of “if” you get the virus; it’s a matter of “when.”

“What we now know from the advent of the Delta variant is that you only have two choices left: Either you get vaccinated, or you are going to get COVID-19,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Ohio’s chief medical officer, said during a Wednesday briefing.

Dr. Vanderhoff was joined by Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney and Dr. Amy Edwards of University Hospitals to discuss ongoing issues of vaccine hesitancy in Ohio and to provide additional facts about the shot’s efficacy and side effects.

The city of Lorain, like others found a creative way to provide incentives for those willing to get the vaccine. A concert with headliner Lita Ford was held on the riverfront in Lorain on Wednesday. Anyone who could produce a card showing they were vaccinated or anyone willing to get vaccinated before the concert was able to get in free. The first 5,000 people who proved they were vaccinated also got a $10 cash gift card. Anyone who was not vaccinated did have to pay to enjoy the festivities.

Mark Adams, the Deputy Health Commissioner for Lorain County Public Health, tells 19 News, “It’s been great we actually opened up about 20 minutes early because we kind of had a line, and that seat for vaccinations hasn’t been empty since we started.”

Shar Ray, Chief Nursing Officer for Mercy Health Lorain, says, “I’m pretty certain that our county rates for the vaccine are over 50%. In the southern part of the city of Lorain the number vaccinated is around 30%. People have access issues, difficulty getting to vaccination sites.”

Terri Mickens and her daughter Jamie both got the vaccine before the concert and say their doctor encouraged them to get the shot because of the surging Delta variant, “She said with the new variant we really should get vaccinated, so if we do get COVID we won’t get as sick.”

The CDC said this week that the Delta variant accounts of approximately 83% of the COVID-19 cases in the United States.

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