WASHINGTON, DC – States with the highest case rates are seeing their vaccination rates go up. That is the message from the White House delivered during a COVID response press briefing Friday morning. They said that over the past week, the five states with the highest case rates, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nevada, had a higher rate of people getting newly vaccinated compared to the national average.
The federal outbreak response being used in Missouri includes technical expertise from the Centers for Disease Control, genetic sequencing, and data analysis.
FOX 2 asked the White House where the data for the increased vaccination rates came from. They pointed to the state data. Missouri’s dashboard shows that the number of vaccines being administered has leveled off and does not appear to be increasing across the state.
It is not clear if the number of vaccines being given in Missouri counties with spiking COVID cases is increasing over time. There is a hot spot near the Lake of the Ozarks.
“It’s become such a political weapon and it shouldn’t,” Dr. Mano Patri said in reference to the vaccine.
Patri is an infectious disease physician with SSM Health and the medical director at SSM Health St. Joseph, Lake St. Louis.
She said the St. Louis area residents infected with the Delta variant are starting to become higher, but they are seeing younger patients hospitalized. She said the vaccine is ‘key.’
She believes the St. Louis region will experience the overwhelming amount of cases that the Springfield area is experiencing, even though St. Louis has a higher number of people vaccinated.
“We’re already getting a little taste of it, the numbers have started to go up and what we’re also seeing is the people who are coming in are sicker, so yes I’m anticipating unless something really starts to change drastically, we will be in the same trajectory of cases rising quite exponentially,” Patri said.
“It is very concerning because I almost fear that we are becoming numb to covid in the wrong sense.”
She said the hospitals are partnering with first responders, health departments, starting campaigns, and making sure primary care doctors talk to patients about getting the vaccine on regular healthcare visits.
“It takes a village to defeat this, we cannot do this alone, every single person who is getting the vaccine is one extra person who is not only protecting themselves, they are helping to protect the people around them,” Patri said.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Speaking during a White House briefing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky says cases in the U.S. are up about 70% over the last week, hospital admissions are up 36% and deaths rose by 26%. Nearly all hospital admissions and deaths, she says, are among the unvaccinated.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients echoed the pandemic is “one that predominantly threatens unvaccinated people.”
He says the Biden administration expects cases to increase in the weeks ahead because of spread in communities with low vaccination rates. Four states accounted for 40% of new cases last week, with one in five coming from Florida.
But Zients says there are signs that increased cases are driving more people in those communities to seek vaccination at rates faster than the national average.