“I see someone daily – for the last three weeks – that is possibly dying, certainly very sick, that asks if they can get their vaccine,” Dr Michael Bolding told CNN. “And it is heartbreaking to tell them that that time has passed, that that was five to six weeks ago to prevent this.”
Dr Bolding works at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. That state, along with Missouri, has become the epicentre of the United States’ latest wave of the coronavirus, which is wreaking havoc on regions with low vaccination rates. In Arkansas, only 44.8 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.
Dr Bolding says the situation at his hospital is “heartbreaking”.
“I literally just came from a patient’s room in his 20s, and it took six people to get him in a prone position on the ventilator,” he told CNN. “We are seeing 20 and 30-year-olds dying now from a preventable illness.”
The physician said he was disturbed by the “increased mortality” of states like his.
“I grew up in rural America,” he said. “These are my people. And they’re dying. And it’s tragic. And it is very much a case of misinformation.”
Conservative pundits and politicians have sown doubts about vaccines for months. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has repeatedly questioned the shots’ efficacy, and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently said – falsely – that Covid is only dangerous to obese people and senior citizens.
Dr Bolding has been trying to break through that wall of misinformation.
“You can’t be too healthy for this virus,” he said. “We are seeing people that CrossFit on Tuesday and are on a ventilator on Friday. I can’t get the word out enough of what we’re seeing back here in these units.”
This is not Dr Bolding’s first effort to get his message out. Earlier this month he starred in an emotional Facebook video produced by Washington Regional, begging people to get vaccinated.
“What I really wish you could see is to look in the eyes of a young father, or a gentleman who knows that they may be short for this world because they didn’t get their vaccine, and the regret and remorse on their face – and fear,” he said in that video.
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