Rural Doctor: COVID Vaccine Keeps you Farming

Rural Doctor: COVID Vaccine Keeps you Farming

Rural communities are back to school and fall farm and ranch work is ramping up, and protecting your farm from COVID-19 is key to keeping things moving forward this fall.

Dr. Mark Dowell is the Medical Director of Infectious Disease at Banner Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, Wyoming. He says getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep you, your farm or ranch hands, and your family out of the hospital.

“We’re in Wyoming, as you know, a rural state, almost to a person the people being hospitalized are not vaccinated. The only exceptions are people that have had the vaccine but have very severe other illnesses like COPD or rheumatoid arthritis, and they’re on those special medications. Otherwise, the people being admitted and that are very ill, are younger, and not vaccinated.” 

Understandably, the nation is growing tired of the pandemic, but the best path forward, Dowell says, is getting vaccinated.

“We are all sick of masks, we’re all sick of hearing about this, it’s really tough on everybody, but we have a chance to change history here, because this virus wants to go to people that don’t have any protection, and then it will mutate, and then it will mutate again and again. we have an opportunity to put it in the rearview mirror, I think, if we get vaccinated.” 

Just like products for your crops or livestock, the vaccines are developed through science, and used a tool to help protect you from the virus.

“The vaccine by Pfizer has been fully approved by the FDA, and they are safe and they’re very, very effective. And what I say to folks that live in rural areas like I do, and I practice medicine here, when you have a tool that has a 99.8 percent chance of keeping you or your family out of the hospital and potentially dying, that’s a great tool to use. You don’t hesitate to do that with your livestock, and so I wouldn’t hesitate to do it for your family, your friends or yourself.” 

The delta variant is ten times more contagious than other variants and twice as likely to require hospitalization for unvaccinated people. And, yes, you can still contract the virus after getting vaccinated. However, the vaccine protects you from severe illness or hospitalization.

“Vaccines don’t keep you from getting the virus in your body, they can’t. The virus goes in your nose and throat. But what the vaccine does is keep the virus from multiplying and overwhelming your system. So, for those folks and say why should I get the vaccine, people are getting infected anyway, they are, that’s science, that’s biology, but they’re not ending up in the hospital and they’re not ending up dead. And that’s the whole goal of the vaccine.” 

The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are similar to other vaccines and go away within a day or two. Dr. Dowell adds getting the vaccine is more than just protecting yourself, but also your rural community.

“When the kids are in school, and the virus is ten times as contagious as the old COVID, a lot of kids are going to become infected, a few may become severely ill, or have long term problems for the virus, but they can bring it home to their families, and it will affect their ability to gather their crops, take care of their animals, might put the adults sick enough they can’t work. So, it’s all interconnected, and it’s important to think about that, that’s why there’s a huge push in a lot of the country to simply mask the kids at school, so that they can stay in school, have their social time with their friends and stay healthy and protect the community.” 

Talk with your doctor and learn more about the vaccine at vaccines.gov.