Hospital president urges vaccine holdouts to do their homework, get vaccinated

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Manhattan Ascension Via Christi Hospital President and CEO Bob Copple (courtesy photo)

As efforts to vaccinate more residents continues, local health experts are trying to ease concerns some may have with regard to side effects and potential complications.

“A fair number of the folks that we have had who have had some sort of fairly immediate response to the vaccine, a lot of this has been anxiety provoked and not due to the vaccine,” he said.

Ascension Via Christi President and CEO Bob Copple. He says issues with sore arms and low grade fevers after the vaccine is administered are typical, but not usually until hours or days after the shot is given. In many instances the symptoms are mild and go away as they do with many vaccines.

Those  still uncertain should seek advice from their physician, rather than relying on information from non-credible sources.

“Don’t not talk to somebody and get your questions answered. Go ahead and do that and find out, make your decision to get your vaccine, rather than just keep waiting,” he said.

Copple says the goal for the region is to get 80 percent of the population vaccinated to be able to get back to more normal day-to-day activities and achieve the long sought after herd immunity from the virus.

“That just really opens the door up to what sorts of activities we can do, the freedom we have to get out and do stuff without worrying about COVID,” he said.

Copple says were not quite halfway to that 80 percent mark yet, which is why health officials continue to urge those who haven’t received a vaccine do so as soon as possible. Unfortunately some parts of the U.S. are seeing yet another wave of new variant strains of the coronavirus, which will eventually make it to Kansas.

“So we have this window of time because that’s the blessing of being in the Midwest. Everything always takes a little bit of time to get here from the coast,” he said.

He estimates about a two to three week window where residents can get vaccinated and protect themselves and loved ones from potential exposure. Getting the vaccine he says also, while it doesn’t mean you won’t get COVID, does give you a much more probable chance of having milder symptoms and having to quarantine.

The vaccines are also proving to be effective in keeping hospital numbers among COVID positive patients lower. As of Friday, the hospital had no COVID positive hospitalizations for two consecutive weeks.

“For those who are vaccinated, sharp decrease in hospitalizations and almost an elimination of fatalities. What we’re seeing in Michigan and other states, these are people who are not vaccinated, who are the ones who are now getting sick with the variant and ending up in the hospital. Now is the time to get vaccinated,” he said.

In addition to both the Riley and Pottawatomie County Health Departments as vaccine sites, local mass vaccine clinics are taking place in south Manhattan Monday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the First Free United Methodist Church (1231 Poyntz Ave.) and at the Tulip Festival in Wamego April 17 and 18.

Both sites will be offering the Johnson & Johnson single dose shots.

Copple appeared Friday as our guest on KMAN’s In Focus. Both segments of the interview can be found below.

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Brandon Peoples

KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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