COVID impacting those unvaccinated compared to vaccinated

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington is approaching the 70% vaccinated rate, and that means the state will be able to open up at 100%. However health care workers are still concerned with the amount of unvaccinated people in the state.

Right now the state is very close to meeting the June 30th goal and fully reopening, the latest numbers released by the Department of Health put it at 68%, but it’s that 32% that are still causing cases to fluctuate.

“For those who are unvaccinated the message is clear, this is your time to get vaccinated,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah.

A clear message coming from the top health official in the state. While cases and hospitalizations have been on the decline since may there is still some concern with the changing demographics of who is coming down with the virus.

“We do see some projections that we may be starting to see some flattening on our cases counts moving forward, and again these are projections. We’re not seeing them yet,” said Shah.

Among those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, more than a quarter of the cases are those between the ages of 20 and 49
And another quarter made up of those 50 and 64.

Here in Spokane County it is a similar trend. Since May 31, there have been 107 COVID-19 related hospitalizations. Among those cases, those between the ages of 20 and 59 make up more than 53%.  Doctors say this is due to the high vaccination rate among older groups. Hospital workers are wondering why the message isn’t getting through to younger people.

“So it’s very frustrating to us as clinicians…that when we see these patients are are so sick and we know they had the opportunity to be vaccinated and they chose not to be vaccinated for one reason or another,” said Dr. Michael Anderson, Chief Medical Officer of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

However the numbers speak for themselves. According to the state Department of Health, hospital admission rates across the state have been increasing in all age groups since mid-March, and those unvaccinated are much more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people.

For a two week period ending on June 7th, the admission rate in unvaccinated people ages 45 to 64 was about 21 times higher than those in the same age group who were vaccinated, and it was about 15 times higher in ages 65 and older.

In Spokane County, the focus is to bring the vaccine to places like farmers markets and pop-up clinics.

Right now, it’s all about making it easily accessible and convenient so it becomes part of their schedule as opposed to scheduling an appointment separately,” said Dr. Francisco Velazquez the Interim Health Officer.

According to data released by Spokane Regional Health District, there were 43 new cases reported on Wednesday, and 43 people currently hospitalized in the county.