As Kent County COVID-19 cases soar, health leaders look to dispel vaccination myths

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Kent County continuing to surge in recent times, healthcare leaders want to address the concerns of people reluctant to vaccinate.

They say the coronavirus vaccines are the best hope of ending the pandemic sooner.

Adam London, Kent County’s health director, said the fact that a spike in coronavirus occurs when vaccinations peak is just a fluke.

“Right now, vaccinated people are not among the people hospitalized for COVID-19,” he said.

In fact, he said, the most vaccinated age groups – people 65 and older – have seen new cases stay flat while other younger age groups have increasing numbers.

“The COVID vaccines are not causing the latest surge in some cases,” he said.

The latest coronavirus data for Kent County shows a 7-day average of 333 cases per day, up from 184 cases per day two weeks ago. The rate of positive cases compared to the total number of tests is now 14.2 percent.

The “positivity rate” is well above the 3 percent target set by state officials as a benchmark for controlling the spread of coronavirus.

According to the London hospital, 159 people with COVID-19 are being hospitalized in Kent County, up from 69 people two weeks ago.

Many health professionals say that the spread of variant coronavirus strains, widely considered to be more contagious, is in part behind the recent surge in cases.

Even as the increase increases, vaccinations will also pick up speed. According to London, nearly 27 percent of Kent County’s population is fully vaccinated. More than 52,000 Kent County residents received a vaccine last week.

He said while the vaccines are proven to be effective, some people remain concerned that they won’t work because some people got COVID-19 even after being vaccinated.

London said it was true that the vaccines were not 100 percent effective, but more than 90 percent effective.

“Vaccines are risk reductions and very good risk reductions indeed,” he said. “But no vaccine can promise 100 percent risk elimination.”

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