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Health officials answer questions about COVID-19 and its vaccines

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 8:45 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - New information is released every day surrounding COVID-19 and vaccinations. Despite new data being released, many people still have questions about the virus.

NewsChannel 7 asked the Marathon County Health Department and Marshfield Clinic some of the questions our viewers have left us. Those questions concerned hospitalizations among those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated. Along with the effectiveness of the vaccine as infections rise in people who are fully vaccinated.

“I remember when this whole thing first started, we said if the one message we can give to the public is if you’re not feeling good or sick, stay home,” public information officer at the Marathon County Health Department.

Ruff said precautions are still essential. “Vaccinated individuals can still spread COVID, and we all still need to do our part and mask in public.”

He said just because vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing new infections, the science shows it’s still doing its job. “The evidence is very clear that vaccines do work in reducing symptoms in making people less sick, less hospitalization, and less death.”

Ruff said 289 people have been hospitalized in 2021. Twenty-eight or 10% of those people were fully vaccinated.

“Right now we’re seeing pediatric patients, and then patients in their 20s, 30s, 40s, very ill, on ventilators,” vice president of quality and patient care at Marshfield Clinic, Tammy Simon said.

Marathon Co. has 66,000 people fully vaccinated. “They’re going to get less sick, they’re not going to be hospitalized, they’re going to have a less chance of getting severely sick or dying. I mean that’s what we want, and we know the vaccine is going to help protect do that,” Ruff explained.

Simon added that even if a person has had COVID-19, they should still get vaccinated. “A CDC study found that people who are vaccinated after COVID-19 have a much-reduced risk for re-infection compared to those who were previously infected and are unvaccinated.”

Simon also said Marshfield Clinic is also seeing pediatric hospitalizations with RSV, an upper respiratory infection. She said with the FLU season also coming up, Marshfield Clinic will be combining the tests for COVID-19, RSV and the FLU into one test, to make sure they are giving the proper care to those coming in.

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