Union County doctor urges school staff and students to get vaccinated now as cases rise in Arkansas

Arkansas News

EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) 7/15/21 — Arkansas is leading the country in new covid-19 infections per capita, according to data from researchers at John Hopkins University.

This comes as we are now over a month away from the start of a new school year.

“This delta variant like you asked is very very serious,” Dr. Ezinne Nwude said.

Active cases and hospitalizations continue to climb across the state. Today, the Arkansas Department of Health reported a lower amount of new cases though for the last 15 days, the ADH reported 1,000 or more cases each day.

Governor Asa Hutchinson has stated the rise in cases is caused by the delta variant and lack of vaccinations. Dr. Nwude says those in Union County and other areas shouldn’t get too lax.

“We’re seeing a lot more younger people this time around who are sicker and showing more severe symptoms than we saw last year in 2020,” Dr. Nwude said. “Unfortunately we are seeing health 30 years old’s, health 40 year old’s now coming to the hospital with sever symptoms. None of them vaccinated.”

Percent of population in surrounding counties who are fully immunized:

  • Union County: 26.6%
  • Calhoun County: 25.6%
  • Bradley County: 44.9%
  • Ashley County: 35.4%
  • Drew County: 36.6%
  • Ouachita County: 39.1%
  • Columbia: 29.8%

Dr. Nwude urges those who are eligible to get vaccinated to do so and she’s urging those teachers and students to get it done now.

“For those of us that are old enough to get vaccinated the one way we can protect the frail ones who haven’t gotten the approval is to get vaccinated,” she said. “That way 4 weeks from now when school starts they are fully immune. They have the antibodies to fight this virus.”

The CDC says K-12 schools should consider screening employees and unvaccinated students periodically throughout the upcoming school year.

The CDC recommends high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Nwude says it takes about two weeks after an individual is vaccinated to build enough immunity against the virus.

“One of the patients I had unfortunately got exposed before that two week timeframe. That’s one thing people should know. Just because you get the vaccine today doesn’t mean you should let your guards down today. Your body hasn’t had enough to build enough immunity,” Dr. Nwude said.

She encourages those who have recovered from the virus to still get the vaccine especially those who are considered high risk.

“You must take care of your own health. Do your part and again, take this vaccine. There is no reason for you not to get it.”

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