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Pawnee County Memorial Hospital


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Across The Wide Missouri

By Dr. George Voigtlander

There have been some disturbing new developments in the Covid pandemic.  In Missouri, just across the river from Southeast Nebraska, Covid cases and hospitalizations are increased, as are deaths.  While Covid cases and complications from the disease are down in many areas a “third wave” is washing over many others, those with low vaccination rates. 


The new variant, the Delta, first found in India, is more infectious, causes more severe disease and has been found in Nebraska.  The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines provide about 90% protection from severe disease, hospitalization, and death from this virus.


In case you thought that the new versions of the Covid virus are from outside of the US, there has been a “California” variant and now the Brazos Valley variant, discovered by Texas AM scientists in one of their students.  Unfortunately, the unvaccinated are living Petri dishes for new mutant Covid viruses.  Vaccination is the key to preventing more virulent strains of the virus developing in the US.


Throughout the Southern States, cases are climbing as are hospitalizations and deaths.  These cases are almost exclusively in people who failed to get the recommended Covid vaccinations.  The rates of vaccination in these areas are below those in Nebraska.  Unfortunately, the area of vaccination over 40% in our state is along the eastern border.  Pawnee County like most of Nebraska has vaccination rates similar to the hard-hit regions in the south.  


Breakthrough, Covid disease in the vaccinated, is about one per thousand with the Pfizer vaccine.  If you had a 99.9 percent chance of winning the lottery, wouldn’t you buy a ticket?


The risk of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, rarely seen in young people who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine is much less likely than the severe complication seen in some teenagers and children who have the Covid disease.  The pediatric cardiologists who have written about the myocarditis report most the cases are mild and complete recovery seems to be the rule.


It is not too late to get vaccinated and prevent the “third wave”.