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EDITORIAL: Bet your life on getting vaccinated

EDITORIAL: Bet your life on getting vaccinated

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YOU CAN say just about anything with statistics.

For instance, 1,063 fully vaccinated Virginians have been stricken by COVID-19 since January. Seventeen have died. It’s scary to think that even two shots don’t make us bulletproof.

On the other hand, 4.5 million Virginians have been fully vaccinated, which means those folks’ chances of getting COVID during that time were less than 1 in 4,000.

Fewer than 1 percent of Virginians who have died from COVID-19 since late January were fully vaccinated. The figures are pretty much the same nationwide. In May, only 150 of 18,000 COVID fatalities in the U.S. were in that category.

Nothing much in life is perfect, including the vaccines for COVID-19, and every life lost is a human tragedy. However, if you are playing the odds, bet your money—and your life—on getting vaccinated.

Still, only 59 percent of Virginians have received at least one dose (71 percent of adults), according to a recent Free Lance–Star article. It’s even worse in the Rappahannock Area Health District (Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and Caroline), where only 46 percent overall and 56.5 percent of adults have gotten at least one shot.

Some of the hesitancy could be because the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet given full approval for the vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. But full approval will happen.

A story on July 13 quoted White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci as saying he’d be “astounded” if that approval is not forthcoming. It’s just that the FDA is understandably cautious about approving drugs, and the pandemic dictated that, in order to save millions of lives, approval had to be given on an emergency basis.

So basic math tells us that the risks involved in getting vaccinated against COVID are minimal, compared with the chances of being one of the (so far) more than 620,000 deaths in this country and 4 million worldwide caused by the virus.

There also is a feeling among many that kids, should they catch the virus, are less vulnerable. None of the vaccines has even been approved yet for children under 12.

Here’s another fact worth considering, though: According to Dr. Peter Hoetz, a vaccinologist at Baylor University, up to 30 percent of children infected by COVID will develop long-haul COVID, with repercussions about which we are still learning. That jibes with a study completed in April that said 34 percent of all COVID survivors were diagnosed with neurological or psychological conditions within six months of infection.

Please get the vaccine. The numbers are in your favor.

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