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Local Leaders: The Pandemic Is Not Over And Unvaccinated Are At High Risk

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Hamilton County Public Health
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New cases of COVID-19 have slowed considerably, but health officials say the pandemic isn't over.

Close to 51% of Hamilton County residents have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The county is slightly ahead of the statewide vaccination rate, but progress is slow going.

Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says they're sending three mobile vaccination units throughout the county six days a week. The units go to places like parks, breweries and libraries.

"Some locations work great; in other locations we see a few people," Kesterman said. "But I can promise you those few people that show up at our clinics are people that weren't going somewhere else. So even if we vaccinate four people at one of our mobile locations, we consider that a success."

Vaccination rates are higher among older residents who are also more likely to have severe symptoms with COVID-19.

"We have now entered the arena of the most hard to convince people to take the vaccine," said Commission Vice President Alicia Reece.

Less than 32% of Black residents of Hamilton County have gotten at least one dose, compared to 53% of white residents. That gap has narrowed slightly since last month.

Kesterman says the risk of getting COVID-19 is still high for anyone not vaccinated. Hamilton County has about 1,700 active cases of the virus.

Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas says residents need to realize the pandemic is not over.

"We need to be diligent in what we do, and where we go, and what we say," Summerow Dumas said. "So continue to encourage — and of course everybody has free will — but to encourage the vaccinations."

Most vaccine providers are now offering walk-in shots.