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Best protection against Delta spread is vaccination and masks indoors | READER COMMENTARY

Maryland Sen. Justin Ready congratulates Health department volunteer Mark Vigliotti after awarding him the Governor's Citation for his work during COVID-19 at the Carroll County Health Department's vaccine clinic at TownMall of Westminster Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times).
Maryland Sen. Justin Ready congratulates Health department volunteer Mark Vigliotti after awarding him the Governor's Citation for his work during COVID-19 at the Carroll County Health Department's vaccine clinic at TownMall of Westminster Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times). (Dylan Slagle)

Given recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel compelled, as chair of the House of Delegates Health and Government Operations Committee and more importantly as a grandmother, to encourage the remaining eligible Marylanders to get vaccinated. The data show that vaccinations work: During June in Maryland, 93% of new cases, 95% of hospitalizations, and 100% of deaths were in unvaccinated residents (”FAQ: What to know about the delta variant, its spread in Maryland and what it might mean for vaccine boosters,” July 12).

Our state’s vaccination rate of over 75% of eligible adults has kept Maryland from experiencing the recent surge in Delta variant cases seen in other regions of the country. However, as reported by The Sun, Dr. Anthony Fauci considers the Delta variant, which is responsible for more than half of new cases in the United States, to be the “greatest threat” to containing the pandemic. If there is a surge in the fall, the victims will be unvaccinated individuals. By acting now and getting shots into the arms of the remaining unvaccinated Marylanders, we can stay ahead of the very real threat these variants pose.

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My plea is also to protect those under 12, like my three grandchildren who are not yet eligible for a vaccine. We can also protect our youth by continuing, as I do, to wear masks when indoors, such as in stores. As more transmissible variants emerge, I ask you to remember that getting vaccinated is not just about protecting ourselves but also about stopping the spread of COVID-19 to members of our community who cannot protect themselves.

I am in awe of Marylanders. We have stepped up to the challenges we have faced from COVID-19. Our vaccination rates are among the highest in the country. By getting vaccinated and wearing masks in public, we can stay ahead of the virus, protect our children and vulnerable adults, and continue to move in the right direction.

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Shane Pendergrass, Annapolis

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 13 (Howard County) in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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