“Flatten the curve” is the goal when it applies to the COVID-19 infections graph. But that's not the goal for a vaccination graph, especially in a county where just over 50% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.
Unfortunately, Allen County's vaccine graph is trending downward as its infections graph climbs. This is not the route to ending the pandemic. With the start of the school year days away and a majority of students too young to be inoculated, the unvaccinated residents who are eligible must step up and do the right thing.
Allen County recorded its 700th COVID-related death this week, along with 82 new virus cases. The seven-day positivity rate for infections climbed to 7.8%.
Statewide, the positivity rate stood at 6.7% as of Thursday. Another 1,284 Hoosiers were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Six deaths were added to a death toll approaching 14,000.
The low vaccination rate is disheartening, to say the least. In the 46741 area code, northeast of Fort Wayne, only 23.8% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated. Those who aren't place themselves, family, friends and neighbors at risk of infection.
Interruptions to the school year and the loss of learning time will undoubtedly stand as one of the pandemic's most costly and enduring effects. Dr. Tony GiaQuinta, a Fort Wayne pediatrician, laid out some of the damages in an op-ed column published Sunday. In children who took online classes, he described “dramatic weight gains, spikes in insulin resistance and signs of damaged livers from fat deposits resulting from decreased caloric expenditure and unlimited snacking access.”
Even more alarming are his clinic's reports of suicide attempts and completions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending all students wear masks in school this fall. With vaccines widely available to anyone older than 12, a return to the classroom without them should have been a no-brainer. But too many adults focused on fighting mask requirements instead of urging vaccinations. Those adults bear responsibility for the unnecessary risk.
Children need to return to school and to classrooms without risk of becoming ill or dying. Adults must step up and be vaccinated.
Allen County Department of Health responds to untruthful claims about the COVID-19 vaccine:
Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States contain live COVID-19 virus and cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Some people experience discomfort in the days following their immunization, which can be an indication the body's immune system is working with the vaccine to develop antibodies. Some common side effects include pain, redness or soreness where the shot was given; fatigue; chills and fever.
Will I test positive for COVID-19 after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests.
I already had COVID-19 and recovered – do I still need to get vaccinated?
Yes. Re-infection with COVID-19 is possible. You need to be vaccinated regardless of your COVID-19 history. You may get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as your isolation period is over and symptoms are gone. You should not get a vaccine while sick or during the isolation period to avoid exposing others.
Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination teaches your immune system how to recognize and fight off the COVID-19 virus.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
Absolutely not. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.