This video from Vice News shows how deeply some people have become buried in the anti-vaccine propaganda that even almost dying from covid-19 does not persuade them to get the vaccine. Instead they babble about how they have heard about vaccines changing their DNA and that they are not sure whom to believe. It is a frightening display of ignorance masquerading as knowledge.
When VICE News visited UAMS Medical Center, the hospital had 66 COVID-19 patients, more than their last peak of 63 COVID-19 patients, in January 2021. The ICU was over capacity and over 90 percent of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated.
Arkansas has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with only 44.1 percent of the population 12 and up fully immunized, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. As a more contagious Delta variant becomes the predominant variant in Arkansas, the state is entering a new phase in the war against COVID-19.
“The second pandemic is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Dr. Meena told VICE News. “People were more rescuable in the first pandemic.”
Key differences with the Delta variant, Meena noted, are that 20 percent of patients hospitalized at UAMS Medical Center from COVID-19 are pregnant women and younger people have a higher mortality rate.
Despite the greater risks associated with contracting the Delta variant, many Arkansans still refuse to get vaccinated.
“I did not realize that the threat of death is inadequate to make people want to go have vaccines,” Dr. Meena said. The pulmonologist has attempted to convince patients and their families to get vaccinated, but he’s only succeeded about a fifth of the time. “There’s a fair number of people who don’t believe they have COVID and that we’re lying to them,” he said.
If I was a medical professional overwhelmed by having to treat such large numbers of willfully obtuse people, I do not know if I could not be exasperated and angered by people creating medical emergencies that could have been avoided.