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UAB doctor discusses latest vaccine rates

UAB Dr. Mike Saag gives COVID-19 vaccine latest.
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 6:39 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Alabama’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the country going from administering 15,000 to 17,000 vaccines a day in April, to now less than one thousand a day statewide, according to UAB’s professor with UAB’s division of infectious diseases, Dr. Mike Saag.

Dr. Saag said the vast majority of the people they are seeing in their hospital and clinics are unvaccinated people who have picked up the virus in the community, including transmission between children and adults.

“A lot of our adult cases are coming from transmission in the home where a child will pick it up in school or some other activity and bring it home,” Dr. Saag said.

The virus then being transmitted to adults in the home, who are considered the more vulnerable to the virus.

“A child had minimal or mild disease, but the parent got significant disease, some of whom required hospitalization, some of whom died, and so that’s the reason that we want to vaccinate younger people,” Dr. Saag said.

According to the CDC, there have been increasing number in hospitalizations among adolescents, those between the ages of 12 and 17.

“There’s engagement and activities that the virus just loves and its transmitting more and more and so the case load overall is increasing among young people,” Dr. Saag said.

The rate of adolescent hospitalization cases went from 0.6 per 100,000 in March to jumping up to 1.3 in April.

“Part of that is because maybe the viral variants are a little bit more aggressive, not only in terms of transmission, but also in terms of causing disease,” Dr. Saag said.

Among hospitalized cases, nearly 1/3 of patients required intensive care unit admission and five percent required invasive mechanical ventilation. No deaths occurred.

The age group with the lowest interest in getting the vaccine continues to be 20 to 45 year old’s.

“Maybe it’s because they don’t feel like they are not at risk of getting sick, maybe it’s because they think we are over this,” Dr. Saag said. “Maybe because they misinterpreted the CDC guidance on vaccinated people shedding their mask, maybe they are impatient and want to get back to normal and say, ‘To heck with it, I’ll deal with it if I get it.’”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Alabama is one of the five states in the country that does *not* require parental consent to get the vaccine.

The other states were South Carolina, Washington DC, Rhode Island and Oregon.

Only 36.1 percent of Alabama’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That is the second last in the country, just behind Mississippi, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“All of us want to get back to normal, every single one of us,” Dr. Saag, said. “The vaccine is our sure ticket to get there, it just takes us making the active effort to get vaccinated and protect ourselves and our family and our community.”

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