Doctors remind Utahns of importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations affect Utahns of all ages. Health experts say vaccination continues to be crucial in lessening the virus’ severity for most people.

For those not vaccinated against the coronavirus, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds people are 11 times more likely to die and 10 times more likely to become hospitalized with the virus.

Utah doctors said this national data also reflects on hospitalizations and deaths in the state.

Coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths throughout the pandemic are highest in Utahns older than 65, according to the Utah Department of Health.

With vaccination rates now greater than 80% for seniors, doctors said the age of those hospitalized and dying from the virus is getting younger.

“That’s why we’re seeing fewer of them in the hospital and ICU and that’s why we have lower vaccination rates among younger folks; they’re being admitted when they’re unvaccinated,” said Dr. Tom Miller, the chief medical officer at the University of Utah Health.

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 2,700 Utahns. UDOH reports 719 of those people were 25 to 64 years old.

“The family members saying I wish I had convinced my wife, my husband or my loved one to get vaccinated. And I wish I can turn the clock back,” said Dr. Filip Roos, chief medical officer at MountainStar Healthcare.

Nationally, the CDC predicts by October up to 18,000 more Americans could die from the virus.

Data shows the needle continues to move here in Utah, and Dr. Miller and Dr. Roos hope those who have not yet received the shot will reconsider.

“Nearly nine months later and the world has administered hundreds of millions of these very safe and very effective vaccines,” Dr. Roos said.

“Looking at what happened with our older age group. The rate of hospitalization and mortality is much lower,” Dr. Miller said.

As of Aug. 27, UDOH recommends providers utilize monoclonal antibody therapy for Utahns infected with COVID-19.

Dr. Miller told ABC4 it brings hope to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and if they’re at risk for developing severe complications.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains how to know if a person is high risk and what to do to receive treatment.  

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