GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Nearly half of all Michiganders are vaccinated, at least partially. 20% more of the state's residents need to be vaccinated before we reach herd immunity.
Local health officials say now is the time to stop waiting. West Michigan doctors say they have more shots than people to give them too. It's part of their growing frustration: preventable deaths due to COVID-19.
Dr. Andrew Jameson of St. Mary's Mercy Health says he wishes everyone could see what he does walking through the COVID unit.
“We’re getting burned out from this. We’re getting sick of it,” Jameson said.
Part of that burnout includes seeing those un-vaccinated fall victim to the virus.
“Many of them are going to die no matter what we do, and it was all preventable,” Jameson said.
Dr. Adam London of the Kent County Health Department says the longer people wait to vaccinate, the more likely variants of the disease can spread and cause damage. TheB 1.617 variant has been found in Michigan as of Friday.
“The more prevalent this virus is in the community, the more risk there is of mutations. They could be more dangerous, they could be more harmful and they could not be controlled as well with the vaccines that we have,” Dr. London said.
Dr. Jameson also pointed out that those who are vaccinated will start to gain more freedoms. He also says that based on the sheer volume of vaccines administered, there's no way it isn't safe.
“We’ve given a couple hundred million doses of a vaccine. It was amazingly effective. It’s amazingly safe,” Jameson said. “If we would have seen something happen, it would have happened by now.”
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SEE MORE: CORONAVIRUS IN WEST MICHIGAN