Delta variant poses increased risk—exercise your choice and get vaccinated

by Mark Dalley and Brenda Bartholomew, Gunnison Valley Hospital

COVID-19 remains a threat here in Utah, especially with the rise in the more easily transmissible Delta variant. Getting the vaccine is no one’s choice but yours. But the virus is not gone and it does not care how old you are.

In fact, children now account for more than 10 percent of new cases. With the return to school in the fall, we can expect to see more cases unless more people choose to get vaccinated.

Nearly 60 percent of the United States population have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, with about 50 percent now fully vaccinated. Utah remains below the national average, and Sanpete Valley is only at 27 percent fully vaccinated.

Getting a vaccine will help more of us return to pre-COVID routines. This includes large gatherings and spending time indoors with loved ones. Being vaccinated also helps keep people from getting seriously ill even if they do contract the virus.

Some coronavirus cases are mild, while others are life-threatening. Even when infections are not severe, friends, family and neighbors are at risk if the virus spreads.

It is understandable that some people still have questions about vaccines, how they are administered and about the process. Personal beliefs or family medical history are also common factors, along with questions about specific vaccine options. 

Gunnison Valley Hospital is working closely with our community partners like the Central Utah Health Department and our local pharmacies to make the vaccines available and to share information with staff and the communities we serve, as well as answer questions.

We are also working with national partners like the American Hospital Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We believe with the right information, more people will be ready to get vaccinated when an opportunity becomes available that works for them. The vaccine is available every Wednesday at the Central Utah Health Department in Manti and is available at our local pharmacies.

Cost should not be a barrier; vaccines are administered free of charge. 

COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and safe. Millions of people in the United States have received the vaccine already. The vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history and they are held to high standards.

The staff at Gunnison Valley Hospital strongly encourages individuals who have received a first dose of vaccine with another health care organization to complete their second dose with the same organization. It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection, or immunity, against the virus that causes COVID-19.

If you have questions about the vaccine, please ask your doctor or care provider, or visit cdc.gov or coronavirus.utah.gov.