JCDH: Jefferson County facing a ‘cocktail for disaster’ as COVID-19 cases rise

Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is quickly spreading in Alabama and health experts are pointing to the unvaccinated for the spike in cases.

Across the nation, the rate of fully vaccinated Americans stands at 48% but the numbers are even worse in Alabama. The state is the worst in the nation at 33% fully vaccinated. In Jefferson County, the number is 35% and 30% in Tuscaloosa.

“We’re at the cuff of starting to see waning immunity in our community, natural immunity if you got infected and never got a vaccine. We’re seeing a more contagious variant strain picking up pace, that’s the Delta variant in Alabama, plus we have relatively low vaccination rates compared to the rest of the United States that’s a cocktail for disaster,” Jefferson County Department of Health Deputy Director Dr. David Hicks said.

Dr. Hicks says it’s not just disastrous for Alabama but also for the rest of the nation.

“Alabama is one of five areas in the country that’s at a higher risk of having trouble handling these variant strains and any new variant because we are generally speaking unvaccinated and that can spread beyond our borders to anywhere in the United States,” Dr. Hick said.

Public health experts say they’ve tried practically everything to get shots in arms. They’ve tried vaccination drive-thrus, partnering with trusted voices such as pastors and sports figures and provided vaccine shots at pharmacies.

“We’re at a point that we’ve exhausted our options and trying to figure out what else can be done,” Dr. Hicks said. “If we don’t want the schools to be shut down because teachers are getting sick and kids are out sick and we don’t want businesses shut down because you can’t keep working because they are out sick or isolating because they don’t want to spread it then we are going to make sure we don’t get to that point and besides getting vaccinated, I don’t have any other solution.”

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