Editorial: Creative measures for vaccinations must continue

Health officials, government and business leaders have been creative when trying to get people to take one of the three novel coronavirus vaccines, but there still is work to do, especially with the Delta variant of the disease spreading so rapidly.

COVID-19 continues to pose a health threat with new variants, including the Gamma variant recently found in Russia, infecting people.

And with so much misinformation about the vaccinations, especially on social media, some just people don’t want anything to do with getting the shots.

It appears that those who haven’t received the prick of the needle to their skin would rather take their chances on catching the virus.

Measures implemented in 2020 to fight and contain the virus included social distancing, wearing masks and simply washing hands to reduce the chances.

But, that’s not enough.

Health experts say the vaccine is the best way to fight against the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every state in the union is experiencing an increase in infections.

The Lorain County Community Protection Team met online July 21 for the biweekly update on medical, economic and community conditions caused by COVID-19.

Lorain County Public Health Commissioner Dave Covell said the county’s COVID-19 infection numbers are creeping up, though still less than conditions in the last year,

Covell stated that county medical workers have not seen many instances of the Delta variant, but England is having a surge with that variant.

He and other health experts say people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 still can get an infection, but likely will not end up in the hospital.

However, the concern is that with the Delta variant, there could be a decent number of new cases in Lorain County in the fall because it is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated people.

Right now, it’s not a cause for alarm, but Covell vowed to keep an eye on it, and people should be thinking about it.

Covell continues to urge people who aren’t vaccinated, to get out there and get the shot because the Delta variant is very, very contagious, and it really moves quickly.

Vaccinations still are available.

Lorain County Public Health’s Tuesday clinics still are seeing 50 to 100 people get the shots.

In the hospitals, Char Wray, chief operating officer at Mercy Health – Lorain, said staff are seeing people who did not get inoculated develop new infections and those have the long hauler effects.

Kristi Sink, president of University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center, stated she has seen an increase in COVID-19 positivity rates, but not yet a corresponding spike in in-patient admissions.

What is promising so far is that vaccinated people still are well protected.

But, those who are coming up with innovative ways to get people to take the vaccine deserve a great deal of credit.

For instance, Vaxxin’ on the River featured entertainment by rocker Lita Ford on July 21 at Black River Landing in downtown Lorain.

Lorain, along with Mercy Health and Rockin’ on the River, hosted the concert with free admission for anyone who had their COVID-19 vaccines or was willing to get one at the site.

There were 33 people who received vaccinations at the site.

The city offered $10 each to the first 5,000 vaccinated guests and Lorain County Public Health provided the shots — in syringes, not bar glasses.

Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley said one of the purposes of the federal American Rescue Plan money is to promote vaccination.

The city used the federal money, not money specifically from Lorain’s taxpayers.

Bradley and his staff distributed the gift cards as a way to say thank you.

Incidentally, the night was not the first time giving injections outdoors for the Lorain County Public Health nurses.

They administered shots outdoors for Lorain’s Juneteenth celebration in June and other times.

Wray, who attended the concert with Edwin Oley, market president of Mercy Health – Lorain, said the hospital system was proud to sponsor the event.

Earlier this year, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine employed the Vax-a-Million drawing to spur Ohioans to get the shot.

The state handed out five $1 million prizes in a raffle to people who were vaccinated and five full-ride college scholarships to students.

The program was so creative and popular that other states, including Michigan, New York, California, Maryland, Oregon, Colorado and Washington, did the same.

It appears as though health and government officials, and business leaders still must devise methods to get people to get a shot in the arm.

And people should trust the science on the vaccinations, not the rhetoric.

— The (Lorain) Morning Journal, July 24