IU Health doctor: Unvaccinated ‘absolutely bearing the brunt’ of COVID-19


INDIANAPOLIS – With COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise nationwide, doctors continue to urge people to get vaccinated.

Dr. Paul Calkins with Indiana University Health said Indiana mirrors the national numbers.

“In 2021, which is when we started vaccinating, 5,500 people have died of COVID,” Dr. Calkins said of Indiana. “99 percent of those people were unvaccinated. It’s actually true, 99 percent, I did the calculation.”

He also said, for 2021, 99 percent of Indiana’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.

“The unvaccinated folks are absolutely bearing the brunt of this disease,” he said.

If you have symptoms, whether you’re vaccinated or not, Dr. Calkins said you could have a seasonal cold. But it’s also possible you contracted COVID-19, and with the delta variant rampant, you need to do two things. First, stay home and away from other people. Second, get COVID tested.

“Every single Hoosier alive is going to develop antibodies to COVID,” Dr. Calkins said. “The only real question is how they’re going to do it. They’re either going to do it through vaccination, or they’re going to do it because they got COVID. This isn’t a disease that’s ever going to go away. It’s here to stay, which means it’s going to touch every single one of us.”

He said the state is averaging around 4,000 new vaccinations daily, about one-tenth of the vaccination number in April of this year. 

“Do you want to roll the dice and hope you don’t get desperately sick or infect somebody who does get desperately sick or do you want to get the vaccine and prevent that scenario?” he asked.

Indiana is still just below 50 percent of the eligible population being vaccinated.

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