DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) - Close to 200 local healthcare providers representing 12 medical organizations in Dubuque County have issued a unified message of endorsement for the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a letter to community members Monday, the health care providers write, "We, the medical community of Dubuque County, would like to ask you to strongly consider vaccinating yourself, your children 12 years of age and older, and your extended family against COVID-19."
The providers report over 200 local patients lost to COVID-19 so far. They say we are now in a situation with an ability to prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death from the virus through vaccination. County health care leaders said there is ample supply of vaccine to give it to anyone who wants one.
"No one has to die of COVID-19, since the current vaccines effectively prevent hospitalization and death from COVID, including the Delta variant. As of June of this year, more than 99% of COVID-related deaths and disabilities were in unvaccinated people and are completely avoidable. The vaccines currently available have been extensively studied and closely monitored and are proven to be safe and effective."Healthcare Providers of the Dubuque Medical Community
County leaders report the 12-29 year age group as being the least vaccinated at this time. Although the age group does suffer the least from COVID-19 infection, the group of providers say they pose the greatest risk to others. Their concern heightens with the approaching school year, writing, "..this group will significantly increase exposure to COVID-19 and its new variants, which can be brought home to friends and family of each student."
Additionally, providers anticipate cases will continue to rise as the Delta variant spreads throughout the community. The Delta strain has been shown to be much more infectious and often leads to more hospitalizations. Experts say current vaccines are effective against this variant.
"Dubuque and the surrounding communities have done a great job so far with getting vaccinated and our vaccination rate is above average compared to the rest of Iowa and the U.S. However, we are not yet at a point where outbreaks or surges cannot reoccur since we do not have enough herd immunity in the community to shut the spreading of the virus down."Healthcare Providers of the Dubuque Medical Community
The local healthcare providers along with the Dubuque County Health Department is encouraging the public to reach out and discuss any questions or concerns related to the COVID-19 vaccine.DBQ-Co.-Healthcare