ROCHESTER, Minn. -For people not yet fully vaccinated Mayo Clinic says they’re now entering the most dangerous period of the pandemic.
Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Gregory Poland says people seem to believe that having mild COVID symptoms mean there are no consequences from that diagnosis.
However, Poland says two-thirds of patients who didn’t seek medical care for their mild COVID symptoms at first are now receiving a new COVID-related diagnosis within six months.
He says those patients don’t understand the organ damage that can occur from the virus even with “mild” symptoms.
“The observed risk of COVID, if you decide not to get a vaccine, has been the disruption in every aspect of our lives, the development of new variants. A virus that now causes, when you get infected, a viral load four-fold higher than what it did with the previous version of the virus, and 66% of those people are ending up with end-organ damage of one sort or another.”
Mayo Clinic says the COVID variants that are circulating now are different than the strain of COVID we saw around six months ago which needs to be taken into account.
Dr. Poland says the reason to be concerned is we’ve been immunized against a certain strain of COVID but as individuals make the choice not to get vaccinated, or not get fully vaccinated, they may then develop infections which can become mutations of the virus that will learn how to evade the immunity millions have already built up.
He added, “They're entering the most dangerous phase from an individual level. Motivation at a community and national level, we'll continue to see variants. We'll continue to see hospitalizations and deaths and interruptions in the ways we'd all like to live our lives until we have control of this virus which will only happen through large-scale widespread vaccination.”
Nationwide around 8% of people have delayed their second COVID-19 vaccine dose according to Mayo Clinic.
The reasoning behind the delays range from factors like hesitancy to simply not feeling it’s essential to receive a second dose.