Nebraska doctors running out of options reaching out to people unvaccinated

WOWT 6 News Live at 10
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 11:24 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - People refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are showing no signs of budging.

Experts say not only is it putting lives at risk, but it also means we’re all going to be dealing with this pandemic for longer than we need to be.

“It’s a little like driving through a red light if you’re unvaccinated – you accept some risk – but you put others at risk too,” said Dr. William Schaffner, Medical Director, National Foundation Infectious Diseases.

So far serious illness and death haven’t been convincing enough. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor, one in five adults still say they definitely won’t get the shot.

“I and my colleagues in public health and infectious diseases were surprised the opposition was so strong and came up so quickly,” said Schaffner.

He says they were ready for some hesitancy but history suggested most people would get on board.

“There have been times in this country when we vaccinated people against smallpox and against polio and people came out in droves and stood in lines to get vaccinated,” said Schaffner.

Kaiser’s research also shows politics is playing a big role with 33% of Republicans saying they definitely won’t get vaccinated compared to just 2% of Democrats.

“The virus doesn’t care what political party you voted for. It’s happy to infect everyone,” said Schaffner.

But still, the percentages of American adults refusing the shot haven’t moved much. It’s hovered around 15% since last December and the experts say they’re running out of options.

“One of the things that might persuade people is if here and there across the country different jurisdictions, cities, states make vaccines obligatory to going into certain public spaces,” said Schaffner.

Beyond making it a must, it’s the local message that matters.

“Your doctor as I’ve been talking, your minister, your religious leaders, your local political leaders, if they advocate being vaccinated that’s so very important,” said Schaffner.

Nebraska Medicine’s Dr. Mark Rupp says it’s critically important.

“Unfortunately SARS coV2 the causative agent for COVID-19 is increasingly contagious,” said Dr. Mark Rupp.

Meaning 60%, 70%, or even 80% of the population being fully vaccinated likely won’t cut it.

“For instance with measles, that is truly one of the most infectious agents that we know of fully 90% or more of the population is going to have to be immune for that disease not to come back into the community,” said Rupp.

If you’re thinking about getting immunity by getting COVID, the doctor says think again.

“You really do play a chance of getting severe illness, getting hospitalized, potentially dying of the illness,” said Rupp.

The doctor says you’re also putting the most vulnerable at risk and please consider the facts.

“I don’t think there’s anything I can tell them that will make them change their mind, but I wish they would look at the data and make a better informed decision,” said Rupp.

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