Park County: Vaccines are the Best Route to "Normal"

Park County: Vaccines are the Best Route to “Normal”

Written by on August 9, 2021

Park County Public Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin promotes the COVID-19 vaccine while countering community skeptics – it’s not perfect, but it works.

COVID-19 is once again infecting the day-to-day lives of Park County residents. As cases and hospitalizations rise, another surge may have begun.

Dr. Aaron Billin, Park County Public Health Officer, continues posting regular updates on the county’s COVID climate. In his latest Facebook posts, he uses data to defend the best defense against the stubborn virus: vaccines.

Dr. Billin specifically addresses the phenomena of COVID-19 variants (like the Delta variant) infecting or reinfecting vaccinated people. While he acknowledges reinfection is possible, its chances are minimal.

“Between May 1, 2021, and (August 6,) 5 of 372 COVID-19 cases (1.3%) have been 2nd infections. 14% of the 372 cases described themselves as mask wearers at work. Eight of those 373 (2.2%) were fully vaccinated, with two hospitalizations and one death. The age range of the breakthrough infections was 18-82 with (an average age) of 56.5. There have been no deaths attributed to the vaccine.”

According to Dr. Billin, the data collected shows if you have been vaccinated in Park County, you have a 0.018% (18 thousandths of a percent) chance of being hospitalized with COVID-19 and a 0.009% (nine-thousandths of a percent) chance of dying of COVID-19.

By contrast, the overall risk of death once you get COVID-19 is 1.7% nationwide, 1.2% in Wyoming, and 1.1% in Park County.

In Park County, Dr. Billin says, “your risk of being injured by or dying due to the vaccine is so small that it can’t be calculated.”

Compare those numbers to those of unvaccinated COVID-19 cases. For example, the Wyoming Department of Health reports that from May 1 to July 28, 2021, 95% of total COVID-19 cases and 94% of hospitalizations were not fully vaccinated.

National numbers corroborate with those observed in Park County.

  • 004% of fully vaccinated people have had breakthrough infections requiring hospitalization.
  • Less than 0.001% of breakthrough cases in the fully vaccinated have been fatal.
  • 74% of breakthrough cases have been in those 65 or older.

Discussion over vaccines has become more intense in recent weeks due to the surge of cases related to the Delta variant. While it doesn’t result in a worse infection, the Delta variant is highly contagious and has been seen working around vaccines.

The Delta variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Wyoming. Due to its high infection rate, health professionals recommend Wyoming residents wear masks once again, especially in crowded indoor spaces.

Even with all this information, Dr. Billin is still taking the time to counter skeptical residents who defend their right to stay unvaccinated. For example, one naysayer challenged a vaccine’s effectiveness by pointing out possible reinfection and the multiple shots required for it to take full effect.

“Infection and transmission are possible with any vaccine that is not 100% effective – and no vaccine is 100% effective,” Dr. Billin says. “At this time, there are no boosters planned or recommended for the COVID-19 vaccine. The absence of need for boosters is not what defines a vaccine.”

In Park County, there were 46 active cases as of Thursday, August 5. Numbers haven’t been this high since January 2021.

Because of the increase in cases and the availability of vaccines, Dr. Billin is making his professional opinion blunter. The solution to a healthy future is getting your shots today.

“You may draw your own conclusions – but these data speak to the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines nationwide, in Wyoming, and Park County. Want to go back to normal? Then get your vaccine. Scientific studies show that they are effective for ALL known circulating variants of the COVID-19 virus.”

Park County Public Health continues to offer doses of the Pfizer vaccine at its Cody and Powell offices. Signups for the clinics are available on the Park County website. In addition, several other local entities, like Albertsons and Walgreens, have their own vaccines doses available.

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