Vaccinations save lives

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

To the editor, It has been absolutely astounding that the four different COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States were developed in an extremely short period of time. The first COVID-19 vaccine approved in the USA was developed in one year – something that had never been accomplished in the past. The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed over one million Americans, and over six million worldwide, spurred the U.S. Federal Government to provide unprecedented funding to enable researchers to develop Covid-19 vaccines in record time.
You might be surprised to learn that the USA has recorded 17% of all deaths from COVID-19 worldwide. Why is our death rate so high? The main reason is that the USA has a low rate of vaccination – only 67.9% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and only 53% of Montanans are fully vaccinated. Many other nations have significantly higher vaccination rates than the USA, including most countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Central and South America. Many of the poorest nations have low vaccination rates due to limited access to vaccines.
However, those same nations are not able to provide accurate reports on deaths from COVID-19, so deaths in developing nations are often undercounted. In most countries in Africa, less than 20% of individuals are vaccinated. Refer to the New York Times COVID Vaccinations Tracker for data for each country.
But why should we care about low vaccination rates? When many people are unvaccinated, that means that many more people are infected with the virus. The more people are infected, the more rapidly the virus can mutate. The more rapidly a virus mutates, the less effective become the vaccines.
Vaccinations save lives. Please, everyone, get your vaccinations! Dr. Delena Norris-Tull Dillon
Editors note: This is the second in a four-part series.