Vaccination Divide Deepens as COVID-19 Cases Increase

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The divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated has deepened as COVID-19- related cases and hospitalizations rise and restrictions resurface.

“I definitely feel like it’s vaccinated against unvaccinated. It seems really, really complicated, like there’s a lot of animosity,” said Anne Wilce, who was visiting San Diego Thursday.  

According to data collected by San Diego County, unvaccinated people are driving the increase in COVID-19 cases. Public health leaders have adopted new vaccination mandates in response, and it has caused frustration on both ends of the aisle.

“It’s particularly hard because vaccinated people feel like they’re being affected by unvaccinated people,” said Wilce. Wilce told NBC 7 that her family almost postponed their trip because of the resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

“We planned this trip because we got vaccinated. Now we have (to worry about) the Delta variant and so it felt like it wasn’t a safe idea anymore,” she said.

Other visitors, like Eve Garlyn, said they were not worried about becoming infected and had no plans to get vaccinated. “I was vaccinated by God in November of last year. I had COVID. I recovered. And I don’t plan on getting vaccinated,” she said.

Local healthcare workers like Shira Abeles, M.D., said the increase in COVID-19 cases is frustrating.  

“It felt more unified last surge. We had a purpose and that’s splintered now,” said Abeles. “When I’m looking at admitted patients with COVID, to see unvaccinated, to see family members being admitted at the same time, unvaccinated, unvaccinated. It’s sad at this point,” Abeles said.

Of the 50,001 COVID-19 cases reported in San Diego County since March 1, 45,599 (91.2%) were among not fully vaccinated people; 1,344 (97.1%) of 1,384 hospitalizations and 103 (88.3%) of 116 deaths involved not fully vaccinated people.

“We have the solution to the problem, but people don’t want it to be the solution to the problem,” said Austyn Tavernier who was also visiting San Diego.

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