It is understandable to feel annoyed or frustrated with public health officials like us as we go on nearly two years of talking about COVID-19 vaccination. However, it’s also important to understand that COVID-19 prevention steps, like vaccination, will probably never go away. Just as we continue to ask people to wear seatbelts, get screened for breast cancer, and wash their hands after handling raw meat – COVID-19 vaccination is just another tool in our public health toolbox that we can all use as a community to prevent injury, disability, and death in Cortland County. Here is what we want you to know about COVID-19 vaccination:
Cortland County residents are still dying due to COVID-19. Staying up to date on vaccination will help prevent death in our community.
As of October 12th, there have been 129 deaths of Cortland County residents who were confirmed positive for COVID-19 since March 2020. In 2022 alone there have already been 37 deaths of Cortland County residents. Community members are still dying, even with the less severe Omicron variant being the main cause of COVID-19 illness in New York State since the beginning of 2022.
You probably know a few friends and family members that were vaccinated who still got sick with COVID-19. The important thing to know about staying up to date with the vaccine is this: if you do get sick you are a lot less likely to have severe illness, be hospitalized, or die. That’s a big deal.
(For details on how deaths are tracked in Cortland County: https://bit.ly/3ESt3AG)
Many Cortland County residents have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
As of October 12th, 60% of the Cortland County population is fully vaccinated for COVID-19. While most of the county is vaccinated, we can and should do better for the community we care about. Vaccination is the best way we can protect ourselves, and especially our family, friends, and coworkers at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 infection. If you have already received a primary series, make sure you stay up to date on booster doses recommended.
The groups at highest risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 are: adults 50 years and older, people who are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system (see here: https://bit.ly/3D6Wn52), and people who have underlying medical conditions (see here: https://bit.ly/3TrK89f).
An updated booster that protects against Omicron is now available. If an individual is five years or older and it has been at least two months since their last dose, a booster dose is recommended.
Remaining up to date on COVID-19 booster doses is just as important for protecting our community members against severe illness and death as getting the two initial doses. Booster doses provides with additional protection as the effectiveness of your initial doses decrease over time. The booster also protects against new strains of the virus (like Omicron) that did not exist when the initial vaccine was created.
Boosters are not new in the vaccine world! For example, the Tdap vaccine that protects adults against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) requires a booster dose every ten years for maximum protection.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.
As a Public Health Department, our role is to protect the health of the community. However, every individual is different and your healthcare provider is the best person for you to talk to about health concerns you have. It is normal to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, but we encourage you to discuss these questions with your healthcare provider so you can make the best decision possible for you and your family.