Vaccinations on the rise as Delta variant continues to spread

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID-19 cases are going up in the Mid-South, but so are vaccinations.

After vaccination numbers dropped sharply and vaccine hesitancy rose, there has been an uptick in those getting the vaccine all because of concerns over the new, infectious delta variant.

As new COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in the Mid-South due to the highly infectious delta variant, more people appear to be getting vaccinated against the virus as result.

WREG’s Alex Coleman spoke with Dr. Jake Lancaster, who is the Chief Medical Information Officer for the Baptist Hospital System, about recent trends.

“So, that’s encouraging. We over week we’ve seen a steady increase in numbers. It’s especially good to see because it’s occurring in those with the lowest vaccination rates.” Dr. Lancaster said.  

Baptist Hospital tells WREG that they’ve seen an increase in vaccinations. As of last week, they are up 100 percent from two weeks ago. Vaccinations have doubled.

Baptist says it’s also seeing higher number of vaccinations in the 20 to 40 age group, which lagged behind the other groups in the beginning. 

Dr. Lancaster sees this as good news.

“Those that thought that they were really young and healthy and Covid was not a concern for them have seen friends and family be affected by Covid over the last several weeks as the delta variant has increased and take it upon themselves to correct themselves and get vaccinated,” said Lancaster.

In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson says the natural state saw what he calls an extraordinary number of people getting the vaccine in the last 24 hours.

Arkansas’ governor says the demand for the vaccine has been so high recently the state will have more doses in the next few days.

“Yesterday, we recorded 30,000 doses given out. So, you can see where the vaccine has increased in terms of its administration and in terms of the demand by the public,” said Lancaster.

In Mississippi, data from the state’s Department of Health show almost 53,000 people received either a first or second dose of the COVID vaccine last week.

The vaccination rate had fallen to a weekly rate of about 20 thousand at the beginning of July.

Dr. Lancaster says the choice is clear.

“To me you’re either going to be vaccinated or end up getting the delta variant or COVID-19,” said Lancaster.

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