WDH urges COVID-19 vaccine, cites effectiveness

A Campbell County Public Health nurse draws up a syringe of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at the Campbell County Senior Center. (Photo: County 17/Brooke Byelich)
A Campbell County Public Health nurse draws up a syringe of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at the Campbell County Senior Center. (Photo: County 17/Brooke Byelich)

Nearly all of the Wyoming residents who tested positive for COVID-19 recently were not fully vaccinated, which reportedly illustrates the effectiveness of approved vaccines, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) announced Thursday.

Of the more than 2,400 lab-confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported between May 1 and June 15, approximately 95 percent of those Wyoming residents reported not being fully vaccinated against the virus, according to a WDH release.

During the same time, the release continues, 150 residents were infected with COVID-19 and hospitalized. Of these residents, around 93 percent of them reported not being fully vaccinated.

The data makes it clear that vaccines are the key to seeing fewer COVID-19 illnesses and the WDH would like to see higher vaccine coverage rates in our state, State Health Officer Alexia Harrist said in a statement, adding that the vaccine results in Wyoming appear to be consistent with results across the country.

“However, Wyoming’s numbers are not dropping as quickly as in states with more complete vaccination coverage,” Harrist noted. “In fact, our rate of new cases adjusted for our population is among the highest in the nation. Hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks and this is something we hate to see happen when we know it could largely be avoided through vaccination.”

Of the 192,446 individuals who are considered to be fully vaccinated, per WDH data, there has been only one COVID-19 related death in a fully vaccinated Wyoming resident.

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The success rates of the COVID-19 vaccines are timely considering the emergence of the latest variant “Delta” a growing concern at the WDH, per the release.

“The data is showing this variant is more easily transmitted than other strains, meaning it spreads more easily between people and spreads to more people,” Harrist said in a statement. “Early information is also showing this variant may be associated with higher likelihood of severe illness than other variants.”

The Delta variant is the fifth variant of COVID-19 identified in Wyoming since the start of the pandemic, per WDH data, however, the department maintains that the vaccines are effective against these variants.

“Our experience demonstrates what we expected to be true: these vaccines can do their job very well including against the Delta variant,” Harrist said. “We remain confident in recommending that everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated should do so as soon as possible.”

For more information on where to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, click here.