Vaccines are the only way to ‘return to normal life’. Yesterday, US VA Secretary Denis McDonough reiterated his plea for all veterans and their families to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying the vaccines provide protection which is “the only way to end this pandemic and return to normal life.”
He made these remarks in his speech in the AMVETS National Convention in North Carolina. This annual mass gathering of veterans was cancelled last year because of pandemic concerns. McDonough said months of progress in resuming regular operations are being jeopardized by the latest wave of virus cases sweeping the nation.
“We’ve already lost thousands of veterans to this deadly disease. And he added, “now the delta variant is causing an exponential increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths once again”.
“That’s why everyone needs to be vaccinated. Ninety-nine percent of those dying from COVID right now are unvaccinated. Almost every COVID death from this day forward is preventable.”
Vaccine rates across the US have varied widely. There are cases where less than half of all adults in some regions inoculated against the deadly respiratory virus.
US VA officials on Tuesday night reported nearly 13,000 active cases of coronavirus at VA facilities across the country. This is nearly an eight-fold increase in the last two months.
VA has reported more than 500 patients deaths from coronavirus-related complications since the start of August. The department recorded fewer than 300 such deaths in July.
McDonough’s comments came on the same day White House officials were expected to formally announce plans for booster shots for individuals who previously received coronavirus vaccinations earlier this year and in late 2020.
Department officials in a statement said that VA “will follow CDC guidance and recommendations regarding a booster shot for all Americans if and when that decision is made,” but provided no further details.