In Alabama and Louisiana, partisan opposition to vaccine surges alongside Delta variant

Melton and Grabryan were sat in a van in front a church last week, one day in Sheffield. A small sign in white advertising Covid-19 vaccine was posted on the van's parking lot.Only 18 people turned up. For weeks, it has been this way. Grabryan sat down on the van's soft seat and shook it. He said that he has been to the funeral home for more visits this year than ever before. It is not uncommon for someone in the area to know someone who has been affected.Grabryan doesn't know what is holding people back. Maybe he can.He said that Facebook has a lot of misinformation and disinformation, which convinces people all over the country that the vaccine is either a government plot or unsafe to use.These people won't get the shot until it hits here again really badly, Melton said.Covid-19 is always present in northern Alabama, where the Delta variant of the vaccine wraps itself around the population, weaving into and out homes, schools, and churches. The vaccine is rarely discussed in the public by locals. Health officials are more comfortable with a relaxed approach because they know that if they push too hard they could alienate their friends. Louisiana and Alabama officials say that their governments in Louisiana and Alabama have historically avoided door knocking in the past, believing that people will sign up if they hand out enough flyers and promote vaccine safety through the media. This strategy isn't working. In recent weeks, vaccination rates have fallen.A lady came up to me and asked why we were selling something that was not an approved drug. Melton replied that we were only trying to make it a voluntary thing and weren't trying to force it on anyone. We are just making it available to those who want it. They have the right to get it if they so desire. They don't have to want it.This belief that everyone will get the shot eventually has failed in many parts of Louisiana. Despite huge resources being invested to establish vaccine clinics throughout the state, such as in schools, gyms, stadiums, and churches, it is not uncommon for people to believe they can protect themselves or their community. In communities where residents don't trust the federal government, the vaccine is not a viable option.Gina Lagarde, regional medical director, sat in Hammond, La. about an hour east of Baton Rouge, surrounded by piles upon piles of personal protection equipment, vaccine boxes, and signs that said VACCINES HERE. Lagarde had brought in volunteers from the Louisiana National Guard for the rollout of the vaccine in rural areas. The number of vaccines administered has been increasing slightly in recent days. She said that she was concerned about the current surge in vaccine administration and that schools are opening soon.Interviews with Louisiana regional medical directors and doctors revealed a terrible last two weeks. They described people coming to the emergency room after suddenly feeling short of breath. Covid-19 patients were clinging on to their last hours before finally letting go and eventually dying. Nearly all of these people died from the vaccine they refused to receive. Doctors and nurses are now experiencing greater anxiety and exhaustion than during the first, second, and third surges.Tonya Jagneaux, a critical-care physician at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, stated that we did not have a vaccine back then and there was no way to prevent it. Sometimes, you feel like screaming.Doctors at Baton Rouge General Hospital and here are treating an unprecedented number of Covid-19 patients. Doctors say it's not the sheer volume of cases they see. They are seeing them all at once. Jagneaux sits in a hospital room with her coworkers, discussing the last days of care for Covid-19 patients.It is because it happened so fast that I think this is what is different. Based on the number of hospitalizations in the area, I expect that we will be here within two weeks. It seems like the doubling process is much quicker. This is just for the Delta variant.In the last 14 days, the state has seen an average of 2,400 coronavirus infections. This is an increase of more than 230 per cent from the previous two weeks. Patients seeking medical assistance are between 30-60 years old, which is a record high. They are also dying. Two doctors from Our Lady of the Lake hospital claim that they have both lost unvaccinated relatives to Covid. Two nurses from the nearby hospital also died in the last few weeks.He is my absolute favorite patient. I feel like I can wrap my arms around him every time I visit. He is the worst ever smoker. He is a complete moron. He's not going to stop. That man is my hero. I never busted him. We have had the conversation. ONeal stated that he isn't going to give up. I don't want people thinking that we don’t recognize people who make poor choices for themselves. Their bad choices have impacted their community and brought an end to good medical care.Henry Kaufman, chief medical officer, held his head in both his hands while he described the latest surge from Lafayette's sister hospital Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. To accommodate Covid-19 patients in need of beds, his surgical staff had to reduce to one case per week.How can we adapt and pivot to a changing healthcare environment that has seen a loss of many nurses and other team members? Many nurses in this country stayed the course during the pandemic and put their lives at risk. They told Kaufman, "I have done my duty and I am going on a break." We are reaping what is sown. As a state and as a community, we failed to convince people that this was possible. We are now experiencing a tsunami that is affecting our community and local economy. People are going to die.