Nearly 32% of Morgan County residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19, with no adverse reactions reported. Health officials say the continuing vaccine hesitancy could be harmful to the youngest of the population.
On Thursday, the Sangamon County Health Department called for paramedics after a person who had received a dose of the Moderna vaccine.
According to a report by WICS, health officials say the individual had a slight reaction to the vaccine and the ambulance was called out of an abundance of caution. The individual was able to go home shortly after.
Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter says his department has administered almost 23,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and the majority of symptoms that are reported have been fairly minor.
“There have been a large number of people reporting being tired the next day. Having a sore arm, those minor occurrences that happen as people get vaccines on a regular basis. Those are minor inconveniences compared to what we have dealt with for the last year with COVID. Receiving that vaccine has been proven to be close to 100% effective in preventing severe illness.
No, we have not seen any severe side effects locally. I’m not aware of any through any of my counterparts either. So we are really trying to encourage people to get vaccinated and help us move into the bridge phase, and even after that move life back to normal.”
Bainter says vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue in the area. He says not long ago the Health Department was administering between 2,000 and 2,500 doses per week. He says now they are averaging a little over 200.
Bainter says although new daily positive cases remain low in Morgan County, the trending age group of new infections has health officials concerned.
“Just look at our numbers from yesterday. We had five new cases, three of those were teens, one was in their twenties, and one in their fifties. While that’s not a big number of positives, the lion’s share of those are in people of a much younger age than what we saw originally.
Unfortunately, it seems the younger our population gets, the more hesitancy we see to getting the vaccine. Right now the vaccine is not indicated for individuals under the age of sixteen. We can use Pfizer for those individuals between the ages of sixteen and eighteen.
But the only way for us to protect that younger population and to stop the spread is for the older ones who are eligible for the vaccine to get that and get a larger spectrum of our population that’s fully vaccinated.”
Bainter says the Health Department is concerned about graduation season. He says area schools have done a great job of keeping attendance levels low at sporting and school events, however, the rise in illness in younger individuals who are not old enough to be vaccinated is giving health officials concerned.
Currently Region 3 sits at a 2.8% COVID positivity rate, while Morgan County currently is at 2.1%.