Nearly three dozen Virginia health care organizations, which collectively represent hundreds of thousands of health care professionals in the Commonwealth, are jointly urging unvaccinated Virginians to get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and others as new infections and hospitalizations are surging amid the spread of the delta variant.
Like much of the rest of the nation, Virginia has experienced a sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that began climbing in early July and have continued on an upward trajectory for two months. That upswing follows a steady decline in those metrics since the winter when the Commonwealth peaked at more than 3,200 daily COVID-19 hospitalizations on Jan. 13, 2021. By July 5, 2021, Virginia had just 195 total COVID-19 hospitalizations and a seven-day moving average of 228 new daily infections. As of today (Sept. 9, 2021), hospitals in the Commonwealth are treating nearly 2,200 patients who have been admitted for COVID-19. Meanwhile, the state seven-day average of new cases had risen to 3,003 as of the beginning of September. In just two months, hospitalizations have increased by 1,008 percent and new cases have jumped by 1,217 percent (a chart reflecting the evolving trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations is embedded in the attached document).
With hospital inpatient and ICU beds already filling ahead of a looming fall surge, it is imperative for unvaccinated Virginians to do their part to help save lives and slow the spread of this deadly virus by getting vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are readily available in communities across Virginia. They are free and they are highly effective in preventing infection and hospitalization. Virginia Department of Health data shows that since Jan. 17, 2021, just 0.4 percent of fully vaccinated Virginians have had a breakthrough COVID-19 infection, 0.016 percent have been hospitalized, and 0.0032 percent have died from the virus. And a recent analysis from the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker found that 98 percent of U.S. adults hospitalized for COVID-19 in June and July were unvaccinated.
While Virginia has made significant progress on vaccinations – nearly 65 percent of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose and more than 4.9 million Virginians are fully vaccinated – it’s still not enough to limit the spread of a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 12,000 Virginians and 649,000 Americans and has so far infected more than 40.3 million people in the U.S. Virginia adults and adolescents ages 12-15 are eligible to be vaccinated and immunocompromised individuals who are vaccinated can now receive a third vaccine dose. In addition to protecting yourself and the people around you, getting vaccinated is a way to honor the dedicated health care professionals across the Commonwealth who have bravely served on the frontlines of this pandemic for more than 18 months and have played a role in the treatment and discharge of nearly 63,800 hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Increasing Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination rate represents a path to a healthier post-pandemic world by offering the best available protection for people against serious illness, the spread of infection, hospitalization, or worse health outcomes. Getting vaccinated offers protection to those who have been inoculated as well as the people around them in their personal and professional lives.