Can rising vaccinations overcome skyrocketing COVID-19 infections? (includes video story)

COVID-19 continues to threaten the world, with cases in the United States and other countries climbing. But a year of fighting the pandemic has left hospitals in shambles. According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General, medical workers suffer from burnout, trauma and PTSD. Hospitals are also seeing higher turnover and staff shortages as they try to stay afloat.

Dr. Michael Mina of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University’s School of Public Health said discussing mental health is essential to solving the problem.

“Discussing the morale of health care workers, the morale of the public is the first step to be really addressing this crisis right now,” he said. “And it is certainly a crisis.”

According to health experts, the light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic is vaccinations and a growing number of states are expanding eligibility to anyone 16 years of age and older.

“We are now vaccinating between 16 and 20 million people a week,” said the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

One of the issues concerning vaccines is that those that are vulnerable and in communities of color have not received a shot at all.

Sheila Tyson is a commissioner in Jefferson County Alabama. She said that getting vaccines is a matter of life and death. “We have seen our parents, our brothers, our church members, our neighbors, our coworkers dying from COVID-19,” she said.

The Biden Administration pledged to get COVID-19 vaccines to the vulnerable and as states work towards that goal, health experts continue to warn of another surge.

Helen Acevedo is an FIU student majoring in broadcast media with a minor in political science and international relations. She is passionate about giving people a platform to tell their truths.