The chief medical office of Ohio had a stern warning for unvaccinated residents of the state on Wednesday:
‘It is really now just a matter of time. It is when, not if an unvaccinated individual develops COVID-19.’
— Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer, Ohio Department of Health
Vanderhoff’s warning came as the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus works its way across the state, accounting for 36% of all cases that were sequenced in Ohio in the two-week period to July 3, up from 1% a month earlier, according to Cleveland.com.
“It’s wise and prudent thing for any individual or any parent to be thinking about the risks and benefits of new medication or a new vaccine,” he said.
“However, I don’t think it is appropriate to make decisions on the basis of bad information. I think we need to look for sources of good information, of reliable information and reliable sources of data that have proven themselves over many decades.”
He cited as examples peer-reviewed medical literature and scientific research that has been reviewed by public health agencies and the independent committees that advise them.
“These have been very, very clear. The risks of COVID-19 vastly outweigh any risks associated with our vaccines. The benefits of the vaccines are far greater than the risks of side effects and problems from the medicines. And one of the things that is extremely clear is that COVID-19 has ended the lives of far, far, far too many people, huge numbers of people, and we simply don’t see that happening from the vaccines.”
The delta variant now accounts for 83% of all COVID cases sequenced in the U.S., as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Congress this week. The World Health Organization has warned that it will likely become the dominant strain globally in the coming months as it is outcompeting other variants.
Most of the new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, and President Joe Biden and his COVID team are urging such people to get their shots. Biden’s latest plea came in a CNN town hall on Wednesday, at which he said it was “gigantically important” to step up and get inoculated. Biden said the crisis was quickly turning into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.