NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — With 53% of the state of Virginia fully vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials say virtually all new coronavirus cases are people who have not been vaccinated. As infections are creeping up and the rate of vaccinations is trending downward, former Governor George Allen, a Republican, is joining Governor Ralph Northam in calling for more Virginians to get the shot.
“This vaccine prevents 95% of infections from these various variants whether it’s from India, South Africa, Brazil, England — whatever — so I would really encourage people to get the vaccine,” Allen said.
Cindy Williams is the chief pharmacy officer at Riverside Health explained the risks. “So the Alpha variant was already more transmissible than the original variant; well what we are seeing is the Delta variant appears to be 40% more transmissible than the Alpha variant,” Williams said.
According to the Associated Press, every state in the union is experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases, with a handful of states experiencing full-fledged outbreaks. Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest, recently reimposed the wearing of masks in public.
Williams says calls for masking up are difficult to make, but she urges anyone who is medically compromised to use caution when in public.
Former Governor Allen said he is disappointed by the politicization of the vaccine.
“It works, it’s safe, it doesn’t cost you anything and it’s certainly available; all this has gotten politicized since spring of last year where you have had some of the Democrats saying this is a Trump vaccine where we ought to be celebrating how quickly this vaccine has been developed,” Allen said.
Excited about spending time with a new grandchild, Allen, who now lives in Virginia Beach, traveled to North Eastern North Carolina a few months ago to get the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine. Allen says citizens should follow science and not political rhetoric.
“My goodness, you have the best clinical trial; 100 million or more have gotten the vaccine, and it’s effective against these variants, so that’s the most important thing and if you don’t, then you have to worry about all these regulations: masks, distancing and all the rest just for your safety it makes sense. Get the vaccine, it works, it’s safe, it doesn’t cost you anything and it’s certainly available,” Allen said.
Allen is proud of Virginia’s recent designation as the best in the country for business. He is concerned about how another wave of infections could affect small businesses and employees.
“I think it was terrible for the government to decree some businesses non-essential. Those businesses were essential to the people who operated them and the people who work there, so we need to balance lives and livelihoods,” Allen said.