CHEYENNE – According to the Wyoming Department of Health, data gathered from Wyoming residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent months illustrates the success of the safe, free and effective vaccines authorized to fight the virus.
A WDH review of more than 2,400 lab-confirmed and probable cases identified among Wyoming residents age 16 and older between May 1 and June 15 shows just under 95% of the individuals do not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
During the same period, of the nearly 150 persons infected by COVID-19 who were hospitalized at the time they were interviewed by public health representatives, more than 93% did not report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
To date, there has been one COVID-19 related death of a fully vaccinated Wyoming resident, according to the health department.
Vaccines have been widely available for adults across the state since late March. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine.
Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said the current data for Wyoming appears to be consistent with results across the country.
“We are seeing excellent results among those who have been vaccinated. The vast majority of recent, new cases have involved people who were not yet fully vaccinated,” she said in a news release. “It’s clear vaccines are the key to seeing fewer COVID-19 illnesses, and there is no question we’d like to see higher vaccine coverage rates in our state.”
As of Monday, just 30.66% of Wyoming residents were fully vaccinated. Teton County had the highest percentage at 56.6, while Campbell County was the lowest at 17.27%.
Laramie County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate stood at 31.49% as of Monday.
Harrist noted Wyoming’s average statewide daily case numbers have remained relatively stable in recent months.
“However, Wyoming’s numbers are not dropping as quickly as in states with more complete vaccination coverage. In fact, our rate of new cases adjusted for our population is among the highest in the nation. Hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks, and this is something we hate to see happen when we know it could largely be avoided through vaccination,” she said.
The growing presence of the Delta variant among Wyoming COVID-19 cases, particularly in southeastern Wyoming, is a cause for concern.
“The data is showing this variant is more easily transmitted than other strains, meaning it spreads more easily between people and spreads to more people,” Harrist said. “Early information is also showing this variant may be associated with higher likelihood of severe illness than other variants.
“Our experience demonstrates what we expected to be true: these vaccines can do their job very well, including against the Delta variant,” Harrist said. “We remain confident in recommending that everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated should do so as soon as possible.
“We know COVID-19 infections are not limited to those who have the highest risk of severe illness. Anyone can get the virus and have a harder time than they might expect, and anyone could potentially pass it on to someone who could really struggle,” Harrist said. “By getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you help protect your health and the health of your loved ones.”
Convenient ways to find where to get COVID-19 vaccines include:
• Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or 822862 (VACUNA) to find up to three nearby locations that have vaccines available.
• Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 for phone-based help.
Other vaccine reminders include:
• No major safety steps were skipped to develop the vaccines.
• The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals who are 12 or older; the Moderna and Janssen vaccines are authorized for individuals who are 18 or older.
• If the vaccine received requires two doses for maximum protection, it’s important to get both.
• COVID-19 vaccines are free.
• Insurance is not required. Some people may be asked to show Medicare or insurance cards so professionals giving shots can get reimbursed.
More information from the Wyoming Department of Health about vaccination in Wyoming can be found online at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/.