County’s Pandemic of Unvaccinated

by Albert B. Kelly, Mayor, City of Bridgeton

Over the past several weeks, officials at all levels of government have been using the phrase “pandemic of the unvaccinated” to characterize what’s been happening in this country with fresh waves of infections and hospitalizations associated with Covid-19 and the Delta variant.

This variant is more easily spread and according to some in the medical community, is more aggressive in terms of how the illness affects people. I am worried about how this virus will mutate over the coming months.

The CDC has various categories including “variant of interest,” “variant of concern,” and “variant of high consequence”; think “person of interest,” “suspect,” and “armed and dangerous.” Within each of these categories, the CDC has named different variants using the Greek alphabet.

A variant of interest causes an increased number of unique cases in clusters and among this group we have variants Epsilon, Eta, Iota, and Kappa. These are worth watching, but they appear to be the lesser of the evils when it comes to variants.

Delta is a variant of concern and shows evidence of increased transmissibility, meaning you can catch it easier and it’s more severe. Variants of concern include Alpha, Gamma, Beta, and of course Delta.

Fortunately, at the moment there is not a variant of high consequence. This is good because such variants mean that prevention measures (i.e. masks, social distancing, etc.) don’t work nearly as well. But more alarming is that prevention measures like masks and social distancing don’t work very well against these variants. A variant in this category will mean far more severe cases and many more hospitalizations even among those who have gotten the vaccine.

So that is my worry right now—that far too many of us will remain unvaccinated so that the Covid-19 virus keeps moving among us, changing and mutating into a “variant of high consequence” that we’ll necessarily label Chi, Psi, or Omega. It will be something our vaccines can’t handle and that’s the nightmare scenario we’re hoping to avoid.

If you’d like to get the vaccine, you can do so in Bridgeton at the mobile vaccine clinic that will be at the downtown Riverfront on Tuesday, August 10, and Thursday, August 12, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. It will be at the Irving Avenue Shopping Plaza on Sunday, August 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For those in Millville, the mobile vaccine clinic will be at Lighthouse Church of God on E. Broad Street on Tuesday, August 17, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. and the N. High Street parking lot (mini-park near Save-A-Lot and Citi Liquor) on Thursday, August 19, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. and again on Saturday, August 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The vaccine is free and you don’t need ID or any type of documentation—nor will you need to show proof of insurance—to get vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine will be available for those ages 12 and up, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson will be available for those ages 18 and up.

If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, now is the time. Once we head into autumn with the onset of cold and flu season, that may well be the time when officials start raising the alarm about this country’s first bonafide “variant of high consequence” and when that happens, it may be too late for too many.

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