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What are the odds?
Why you might want to get the vaccine

After months of declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations are increasing all over the country, especially in states with low vaccination rates. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) urges every eligible American to get vaccinated and to continue taking the steps proven to protect people from COVID-19.

“It is concerning that people who are not vaccinated make up the majority of COVID hospitalizations today,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, president of the ACEP. “It is especially difficult to see so many patients in their teens, 20s or 30s severely ill on ventilators. Most of these young people could have avoided the hospital entirely if they had the vaccine.”

Dr. F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE, of the Yale School of Medicine, recently stated that if you don’t get vaccinated, “Odds are, eventually you’ll get it (COVID) — perhaps from a currently circulating variant, perhaps from a future variant.” Not every unvaccinated person gets COVID, he conceded. “Some of them because they’ve already had it and don’t know. Some of them because they are just lucky. And maybe, if we really push, because we can still end the pandemic before it infects every last human being — that is, if the vast majority of us decide to hedge our bets, avoid the moral hazard, and get vaccinated.”

In Kansas, COVID-19 cases have doubled since the Fourth of July. Crawford County Health Department Director Teddi Van Kam told the Topeka Capital-Journal that the best health measure for now is for people to think proactively and get vaccinated. “Those who have not been vaccinated really need to reconsider. The vaccine is truly safe.”

People who are vaccinated and well protected can still catch COVID-19. The pandemic is not over and vaccines aren’t magic. But the odds of not getting it or of not dying from it are much better if you’re vaccinated. Studies show that fully vaccinated people can be less likely to spread the virus to others.

Surely recent attempts to “return to normal” have become possible because many people have gotten the vaccine. The recent surge comes from magical thinking that the pandemic is over and we no longer need to take precautions.