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COVID-19 VACCINE

The following is a commentary for the Opinion page that was submitted to the newspaper. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
“Whether you’re pro-vax or anti-vax or whatever we’re for health care freedom and we believe mandates one-size-fits-all should not be the agenda," Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, said at a Wednesday, April 20, news conference touting the bill at the state Capitol. "You and your medical provider can decide based on your health history what is best for you.”
Mayo Clinic vaccinologist Dr. Greg Poland says the latest data show the benefit of a second booster is real, but "fractional" and wanes fast, meaning that timing and individual health circumstances are important factors when considering a fourth shot.
The seven-day rolling average positive test rate for COVID-19 for March 17, the most recently available date for that figure, was 2.7% — a low not seen since July 2021.

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For individuals forgoing vaccination, the risks can include layoffs and ineligibility to collect unemployment, higher insurance premiums, or loss of academic scholarships. For employers, vaccine hesitancy can contribute to short-staffed workplaces.
Agency finds those without a booster had a 3-4 times greater risk of hospitalization than fully vaccinated, while those who were not vaccinated at all faced 12 times the risk of hospitalization.
Minnesota is reporting significantly fewer cases of COVID-19 in a week than it did on a typical day during the January omicron wave.
The hope for a permanent, low-level rate of the virus is one that envisions intense need for local case surveillance, isolated periods of regional masking, ongoing protection of the vulnerable, and seasonal vaccination against new variants.
Rice County is the only county in Minnesota considered high risk by the CDC as of late this week. Southeastern Minnesota also has a cluster of medium-risk counties including Olmsted.
Douglas County and four others in Horizon's service area have 'low' level of spread.

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Daily case rates and deaths remain significantly lower than in recent months.
Americans who are at high risk — and the loved ones who fear passing along the virus to them — are speaking out about being left behind as the rest of society drops pandemic safeguards such as masking and physical distancing.
The state reported 7,835 new cases Feb. 19-25, a number of cases more typical of the daily reports seen in January.

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