DES MOINES, Iowa — The vast majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations are people who are unvaccinated, according to a local doctor. Ravi Vemuri, who specializes in infectious diseases at MercyOne in Des Moines, calls it a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” He explained the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Vemuri said that even though COVID-19 vaccinations do not guarantee 100% protection, the side effects will not be as severe if a vaccinated person does contract COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated are highly protected against severe respiratory complications, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
“If you do get infected [and you’re vaccinated], the infection will not be as severe,” said Vemuri. “The infection will be shorter in duration. And … you will likely shed the virus for a shorter period, so you potentially are less infectious to other people.”
Research shows that vaccinated people can still potentially get infected with the delta variant and spread it, which is why the CDC advises mask wearing — regardless of vaccination status — in public indoor places in areas with substantial or high transmission rates. The delta variant is highly transmissible, putting unvaccinated people at risk.
Just 42.7% of Iowa residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.