Officials: 91% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Oklahoma unvaccinated

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As it gets closer to the holidays, health officials continue to urge Americans to take precautions against COVID-19.

On Monday, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 609,737 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March of 2020.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahoma has seen 10,127 deaths as of Monday. That’s an increase of 102 deaths since Friday’s data was released.

Although the number of cases remain high, health officials in Oklahoma say the number is continuing to decline.

Officials say Monday’s case count is 41% lower than the peak 7-day average case count on Aug. 30.

“With a decrease in overall cases, breakthrough infections and hospitalizations over the past month, combined with the rollout of the booster dose for eligible populations, I’m hopeful that our state will continue to see positive progress in our pandemic response,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye. “We are cautiously optimistic about this downward trend and are thankful for the hard work of Oklahomans across the state that got us here. But it is important Oklahomans remain vigilant to ensure these trends continue.”

Dr. Frye continues to stress the importance of getting vaccinated against the virus, saying 91% of COVID hospitalizations over the past 30 days have been unvaccinated patients.

“Data suggests that continued mitigation efforts in Oklahoma have been successful in reducing the spread of COVID-19, especially our vaccination efforts,” said Dr. Frye. “However, there is still work to be done to protect our communities from widespread transmission and the emergence of new variants. If you are eligible and have yet to get vaccinated, please do that as soon as possible. Our vaccines are safe and effective and have shown to hold strong against severe illness, hospitalization and death. Over the past 30 days, 91% of hospitalizations have occurred in people who are unvaccinated. The best way to protect yourself, your family and your community is to get vaccinated.”

In addition to getting your initial doses of the vaccine, eligible Oklahomans are able to get a booster shot to increase their protection against the virus.

According to the CDC, studies show that protection against the virus may decrease over time after getting those initial vaccines.

“Although COVID-19 vaccination for adults aged 65 years and older remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms. Emerging evidence also shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is decreasing over time. This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated (e.g., waning immunity) as well as the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant,” the CDC’s website states.

The FDA authorized and the CDC approved an Emergency Use Authorization for a single booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for certain eligible individuals.

The CDC recommends the following individuals receive a booster shot: 

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot. 
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot. 
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks. 

Booster doses must be administered at least six months after an individual’s primary series of vaccination is complete, in accordance with FDA and CDC guidance. Verification of being high-risk is not required, and a patient may attest to their eligibility at the time of their appointment.

The EUA currently only applies to the Pfizer vaccine. The CDC and FDA continue to evaluate data to make a recommendation on booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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