MEDFORD, Ore — Jackson County Public Health officials are hopeful for an increase in vaccinations, after the FDA fully approved Pfizer’s vaccine Monday.
“I think it’s going to really help,” Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Public Health Director, told NBC5 about the approval. “We have a lot of people who have a misguided perception that this was a rushed process, and that we’re in some experimental process with the vaccine. That’s just not true.”
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The announcement comes as Jackson County continues to see an increase in hospitalizations. Over the weekend, the Oregon Health Authority reported 308 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Jackson county.
Asante, which restricted visitors due to the surge, reported 172 of its patients are hospitalized with covid. 93% of patients in the Intensive Care Unit are not vaccinated.
The state deployed the National Guard to help Asante and Providence hospitals last week.
Last Thursday, Governor Kate Brown announced that health care workers and school staff will need to be fully vaccinated. Brown gave a timeline of either October 18th, or six weeks after full FDA approval (October 4th after Monday’s announcement) whichever was longest.
Shames says he’s seen an increase in vaccinations over the past few weeks, but is encouraging people that are unvaccinated to take the crisis at the hospitals more seriously.
“It’s not really just about you and your personal freedom,” Shames said. “Get vaccinated. Do it for yourself and do it for the community.”