LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan’s chief medical executive says the state’s current coronavirus surge is unsettling.
“This is a surge of the unvaccinated,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said.
She said the state is right back where it was in the winter of 2020.
“It is disappointing that we’re in this position in 2021,” she said.
The difference: This time last year, we did not have a vaccine readily available to a majority of people. Bagdasarian said we now have the resources to get to the other side of the pandemic, but not everyone it utilizing those tools.
“We’ve got boosters, we have vaccines,” she said. “Unfortunately, I think the message just simply isn’t hitting home with a lot of people.”
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 76% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.
The state says 45% of Michiganders are not vaccinated; that includes a lot of younger people. Starting in early fall, Bagdasarian said there was an uptick in cases among school-aged children.
“We didn’t have a vaccine for those who were below the age of 12 when the school year first started and now we do,” she said. “We really need to encourage those younger age groups to get vaccinated.
She said some parents say they’ll wait and see what happens with the vaccine before getting it for their child, but she cautioned against that.
“We’re seeing surges of cases, the weather is getting colder/ the holidays are around the corner. We simply don’t have time,” she said.
The omicron variant is now confirmed in at least 17 states, but not including Michigan yet. Bagdasarian said the new strain is just another reason people need to roll up their sleeves and get the vaccine.
“Unvaccinated populations are really breeding grounds for new variants to emerge,” she explained.