Health officials urge COVID-19 vaccinations as variants continue to spread


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – As health officials try to encourage more people to get vaccinated, they’re also keeping a close eye on the COVID variants, especially Delta.

The best way to combat the COVID-19 variants is to get vaccinated.

“The less people that get infected, the more likely those variants are to go away and we just really encourage to, you know, frankly, get that variant argument out of here,” Dr. Mike Wilde, Chief Medical Officer at Sanford Health said.

“As long as this virus spreads, it’s going to develop variants, it’s going to develop ways to get around,” Dr. Shankar Kurra, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health said. “The good news is all three vaccines currently are protected fully for all the variants, the Alpha through Delta.”

And as the new school year approaches, doctors are encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated before they return to the classroom.

“Definitely one of the reasons why the numbers are so low during the summer is that kids are not in school and passing it back and forth,” Dr. David Basel, Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group said.

“There’s a lot of vaccines that we take in our society that are to prevent spread to vulnerable populations,” Wilde said. “There’s vaccines that I’ve had, that others have had that really don’t prevent severe disease in me, but they prevent severe disease in those around me.”

Doctors say the science and data for this vaccine are clear: it’s safe and it stops the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve also shown that we don’t have a high enough percent vaccinated that we’re not going to be able, really, to get COVID to go away at this point and likely are going to see numbers go back up with the Delta,” Basel said. “And the only path to keep the numbers down and send them down even further is to get more people vaccinated.”

“The time to hesitate is gone,” Kurra said. “You should go get your shot. You will save lives, you will save your self a healthy future and keep your health persevered and in good condition.”

Right now, people 12 and older are eligible to get the vaccine. As for when younger children could start getting the shot, these three doctors expect to find out that possibility in the Fall.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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