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Idaho Doctor Urges Folks Get Their Shots As ICU Fills With Unvaccinated

Virus Outbreak CDC Delta
Matt Rourke/AP
FILE - In this May 21, 2021 file photo, a person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia. New evidence showing the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox has prompted U.S. health officials to consider changing advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus. Recommending masks for everyone and requiring vaccines for doctors and other health care providers are among measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering, Friday, July 30. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

As the delta variant continues to challenge the country's COVID-19 recovery, Idaho doctors are treating a troubling number of unvaccinated people in their intensive care units. According to St. Luke's Health System's Chief Medical Officer Jim Souza, 29 of the 31 people being treated for COVID-19 in that hospital's ICU are unvaccinated. He says the average age of people being hospitalized is lower than it was during previous surges. Idaho's current vaccination rate among adults is just under 50%, which is significantly lower than the national rate.

Souza shares the latest info about his hospital on Idaho Matters along with Dr. David Pate, who is a current member of the governor's coronavirus task force. The doctors say that unless more people get the vaccine, the state will enter the worst phase of the pandemic yet — all while the delta variant is raising alarms about infection among kids who are unable to get the shot.

So how can we convince our loved ones who have yet to get the jab that it's time to protect themselves with the vaccine? What questions do they have, and what facts can we share to make them feel confident about the decision to protect themselves and their communities? Pate says that earlier this summer he was having conversations about the efficacy of the vaccine and its safety with hesitant folks. But lately, these conversations have taken on a more religious tone. As a man of faith himself, he's having scriptural conversations with Idahoans who reference their Christianity as a reason why they are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Samantha Wright is a news reporter and producer for Idaho Matters.
Gemma is the host of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show which broadcasts live Monday-Friday at noon. She is an award-winning journalist and has spent the majority of her broadcasting career in Idaho. Gemma was a television news anchor and reporter in Boise for close to 15 years. She came to Boise in 1999 to start Fox 12.