Wyoming Department of Health: High-Risk Adults Should Get COVID Vaccine ASAP
The Wyoming Departed of Health has recently announced that adults with high-risk medical conditions should sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them which, in many Wyoming counties, may be right now, according to the Department of Health.
WDH reports that adults of any age with certain medical conditions are at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to the Department of Health, “severe illness” is defined as requiring hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to them breathe.
The Department of Health stated that roughly 70% of Wyoming’s COVID-related deaths were among people who had known medical conditions that put them at a higher risk of severe illness.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve talked about protecting those at risk of more severe illness related to COVID-19,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “The vaccines we now have available each offer excellent protection. Anyone can get sick due to COVID-19 and it’s hard to know how each one of us will be affected. But we do know anyone can get the virus and pass it on to someone who could struggle and we know some people have a much higher chance of serious trouble.”
There are many conditions that are known to increase the risk of serious illness caused by COVID-19, including a current diagnosis of cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, solid organ transplant, sickle cell disease, and down syndrome.
Other high-risk conditions include: diabetes, heart conditions, obesity (BMI over 30), an immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, taking long-term high dose corticosteroids or other immune weakening medicines, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke), severe neurologic conditions, and pregnancy.
Harrist noted pregnant women or other people with underlying medical conditions may find it helpful to speak with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated, but said it isn't required to get the vaccine.
Harrist said that risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age.
“It’s simple,” she said. “People in their ‘50’s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their ‘40’s. People in their ‘60’s or ‘70’s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their ‘50’s, and so on.”
She continued, stating that, “If your immune system or your heart, lungs or other organs are challenged in normal times because of a medical condition, your body is more likely to have trouble responding to the physical stress caused by a COVID-19 illness. That’s why it’s especially important for people at higher risk to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
More than 104,000 Wyoming residents have received at least their first doses so far when state and special federal counts are combined.
Specific registration processes vary from county to county within Wyoming. Details and the right online pre-registration option for each county can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/county-covid-19-vaccine-information/. Those unable to visit the website may call the WDH toll-free vaccine phone line at 800-438-5795.
The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program continues to expand in Wyoming with several Walmart, Walgreens and independent pharmacy locations. Information should be available locally or on the companies’ websites about which stores are participating and how to register for appointments.
Important reminders about COVID-19 vaccines in Wyoming include:
- The vaccines are free.
- If the vaccine received requires two doses for maximum protection, it’s important to get both.
- Insurance is not required to receive a vaccine. Some people may be asked to show Medicare or insurance cards so professionals giving shots can get reimbursed.
- For most people it is best to receive vaccines in the county where they live.
More information about vaccination efforts, including detailed priority group descriptions, in Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/.
More details about COVID-19 vaccines, including safety information, from the CDC can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.