While the percentage of South Dakotans who have taken the full safe and effective coronavirus vaccine remains below 54%, and while the state’s biggest tourist bacchanal is set to bring bikers from all over a country where the Delta variant of covid-19 is driving daily case counts that are as bad as last July’s, part-time Governor Kristi Noem has not encouraged or even mentioned coronavirus vaccines on her official Twitter account all month. Kevin Woster agrees with me that a regular and sincere “Get Your Shots” campaign from our governor “could increase our state’s vaccinated percentage by 10 or 20 percent, and even help raise vaccinated rates in other red states.” Alas, Noem’s been preoccupied with other great menaces, like immigrants and sparklers.
Coronavirus is surging because not enough Americans have gotten vaccinated. By not getting your shots and not maintaining pandemic prevention precautions, you open the door for the virus to spread. Get your shots.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is responding to the surge in Delta-variant infections and hospitalizations by telling his people to get their shots, even though members of his right-wing base are calling him a “sellout” to “political correctness”. Promoting public health is not political correctness; it is correct policy. Get your shots.
Minnesota’s health officials are doing their job:
“There definitely is a mindset that we’re done with COVID,” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said during a briefing for reporters. “But it’s more accurate to say that that we’re in a critical transition phase.”
The commissioner said the state has made important progress and now has much better tools for fighting the pandemic. But she warned that the state has not reached herd immunity, and that vaccination rates in some parts of Minnesota are far below average. The variant will find unprotected people and infect them at much higher rates, she said.
The delta variant has gone from causing less than 1% of Minnesota cases to over three-quarters in just a few weeks, said Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director.
Malcolm said unvaccinated Minnesotans make up the vast majority of the state’s new cases and hospitalizations. “Breakthrough cases” among vaccinated Minnesotans remain “very rare,” she said, adding that 99.9% of Minnesotans who are fully vaccinated have not contracted the virus.
Put another way, Ehresmann said, fewer than 3,900 out of nearly 3 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans have had breakthrough cases [Steve Karnowski, “Minnesota Officials Urge Shots as Delta Variant Surges,” AP, 2021.07.26].
Noem’s Beltway-imported Health propagandist Dan Bucheli has said “There will be no covid-19 vaccination mandates in South Dakota,” but South Dakotans working at Sanford Health will have to get their shots to keep their jobs. So will health care workers across the border at the Mayo Clinic.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is following suit, telling its health care employees they need to support our (former) troops by getting their shots:
Officials said the move is designed “to keep the veterans [VA] serves safe].” The mandate has been discussed as a possibility in recent weeks, but the recent nationwide surges in the Delta variant of the virus pushed leaders to enact the change now.
All Title 38 employees — including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries and chiropractors — who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities or provide direct care to veterans on VA’s behalf will have eight weeks to be fully vaccinated.
“Whenever a veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “With this mandate, we can once again make and keep that fundamental promise” [Leo Shane III, “VA Health Care Workers Will Be Required to Get Covid-19 Vaccines to Keep Their Jobs,” Military Times, 2021.07.26].
The American Medical Association, the American Nursing Association, and dozens of other national health organizations agree that “all medical workers have an ethical commitment to put their patients first” and thus should be required to get their shots.
The NFL is requiring its players and coaches to get vaccinated. The Kansas City Chiefs are offering coronavirus vaccinations in conjunction with Garth Brooks’s sold-out August 7 concert at Arrowhead stadium. Kristi Noem may be unwilling to put her cheerleaders skills to work for coronavirus vaccines, but we all need to be team players. Get Your Shots!!!