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The Shoals in five clusters of unvaccinated people in the U.S. that could put the entire country at risk for COVID-19

Published: Jul. 11, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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THE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - The Shoals is one of five areas of concern that researchers say can set the rest of the country back, in the fight against COVID-19.

That’s according to a new study from Georgetown University.

Getting back to normal, that’s the goal.

Kyle Buchanan with Helen Keller Hospital said the easiest way to do that and stay that way is by getting vaccinated.

“The best way to protect ourselves is to vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Buchanan.

However, a new study done by Georgetown University suggests the Shoals, with low vaccination rates can become a breeding ground for more people contracting the virus since not many people have gotten the shot

The study identifies Alabama as one of five places of concern throughout the country, due to our large population of unvaccinated people, particularly in the Shoals, Montgomery, and Southeast Alabama.

Right now, only a little over 30 percent of people in the Shoals have received the vaccine

That’s compared to the nationwide rate of 47 percent.

Georgetown Associate Professor Shweta Bansal said these low rates could fuel a resurgence of COVID-19 outbreaks across the country.

“The analogy I like to describe is that if you are unvaccinated in one of these communities you are acting like how dry wood be in a fire. It’s really efficient fuel to get that fire going. If you are vaccinated, thank you, you’ve done your part but unfortunately you still continue to be at risk just like soaked wood be in a fire. Soaked wood isn’t going to capture fire easily but if it’s surrounded by a lot of dry wood it’s going to happen eventually,” said Bansal.

She said the reason this study was conducted, is to help spread awareness.

“So these clusters really highlight locations where communities are at risk to themselves but partially putting others at risk because they are surrounded by other vulnerable communities,” said Bansal.

And to try to get the pandemic behind us.

“You’re not just protecting yourself. You are protecting your community,” said Bansal.

The other areas of concern based on the Georgetown University study include places like Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri.

Buchanan also said that the supply is exceeding the demand and that they dozens of appointments available but it’s simply up to you to get the vaccine.

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