WATCH: Dr. Dowell – ‘Hospitalizations Quadrupled, Vaccinations Lagging in Natrona County’
"25 percent of the population in Natrona County has been vaccinated, and of the 18-and-older group, only 29 percent [has been vaccinated]," according to Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell. "That's why Natrona County made the New York Times as one of the least vaccinated counties in the United States.
Dr. Dowell returned to YouTube on Wednesday to offer some statistics about the current state of the county when it comes to COVID-19.
"As a group, as a family in Natrona County and across the state of Wyoming, we can do much better," Dowell said. "You want to avoid the variance, you want to have summer beautiful, you want to cut down hospitalizations and you want to have a good fall and winter, it's sitting right in front of you."
Though hospitalizations in Natrona County have fallen dramatically since this time last year, Dr. Dowell said that the number has risen considerably throughout the past few days.
"We have quadrupled our number of patients in Wyoming Medical Center in the last week, from an average of two [people] to, this morning, nine [people]," he said. "That's not make believe, that's real and we have to deal with this."
Dowell also addressed the controversy regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the fact that, in very minimal cases, the vaccine resulted in blood clots.
"Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe?" he asked. "Yes. Would I get it myself? Yes. The clotting risk is greater when you get COVID, by 109 times and for those of you on birth control pills; it is more likely you will get a pulmonary embolism while on birth control pills than you would ever get from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine."
Dowell also reminded viewers that COVID vaccines are being offered with no out-of-pocket costs.
"The vaccines are free," Dowell emphasized. "Free! No co-pay, no nothing. That's another reason to get it, and now they're even having some programs in the country where you get a free beer or mixed drink if you get your shot. That's pretty crazy but let's do it."
In closing, Dr. Dowell once again emphasized the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
"There's really no reason not to get the vaccine," he said. "[Getting it] will allow us to open up our economy and our lives."