COVID serious health threat

Published 8:51 pm Friday, August 27, 2021

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After speaking to a group about the local and state battle with the Covid-19 virus, I was asked several questions. Most of them focused on the local state of the hospital, what the census was, how sick the patients were, but an individual in the audience asked me specifically about the vaccine and why I was pushing the vaccine so passionately in all my messages.

They went on to say that they knew of a person who was fully vaccinated that had become Covid positive and had been really sick for three weeks. I tried my best to come up with an answer that was data driven and based on published statistics.

Instead, I went to my gut and asked this person, is your friend hospitalized? Is he in the ICU? Is he on the ventilator? Has his family been told that their husband and father may not survive? If not, I would argue the vaccine is doing its job. You see, there are any number of reasons that one could articulate why they wouldn’t take the vaccine, but they are meaningless if you are in the ICU.

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The data continues to prove that 97 percent of patients in the ICU are unvaccinated. In Alabama, and more specifically Southeast Alabama, Intensive Care Units are full, and many are above capacity. Emergency Departments are holding patients or being faced with the task of transferring patients to facilities miles away and quite often in another state.

We must continue our vaccination efforts if we are ever going to stop this virus. Too many people, younger people, are becoming victims of this horrible disease unnecessarily. Speak to your healthcare provider about the benefits of the vaccine and then get it. Troy Regional is offering vaccines, free of charge, each Friday from 1pm – 4 p.m., no appointment required. Please tell your friends to take the vaccine. Patients and families continue to ask for the vaccine as we are preparing to intubate the patient and put them on the ventilator. At that point, it’s too late. Ask for your vaccine now. 

Help us spread the word, not the virus.

Rick E. Smith is Chief Executive Officer at Troy Regional Medical Center.