Add to your back-to-school list: 1) Get vaccinated 2) Wear a mask
As families and students prepare back-to-school to-do lists, two important items should be added: COVID-19 vaccination and masking. These two important actions, layered with distancing and cleaning hands, will reduce the spread of the virus and protect against the severe illness that requires hospitalization.
Gundersen is preparing for an increase in COVID-19 cases, especially for kids who are returning to classrooms soon. The community should be, too. Vaccinated kids age 12 and older can protect their peers and school staff; parents and other adults can protect their kids and other peoples’ kids. Adding a mask to indoor, public locations, like schools, adds an important layer of protection against the virus.
Gundersen is seeing young, more sick patients in its hospitals than ever before. The rapid increase over the last two weeks, driven almost entirely by unvaccinated people and the highly contagious Delta variant, is concerning.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services data shows the unvaccinated population is more than three times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 and nearly three times more likely to be hospitalized if infected. CDC data also shows risk of severe illness or death is decreased 10-fold among those who are vaccinated.
How to get the vaccine
Anyone age 12 and older, patients or non-patients, can get the free, safe COVID-19 vaccine at Gundersen.
All three approved COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson – are available this week during walk-in appointments at the Gundersen Onalaska Clinic 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Also this week, Gundersen Health System is providing COVID-19 third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to high-risk individuals.
COVID-19 vaccine is available during Onalaska Family Medicine and Pediatrics appointments for those with scheduled appointments, along with primary care appointments at Gundersen regional clinic locations. Please talk to your healthcare provider to get questions answered.
Adult Gundersen patients can walk-in, schedule their appointment through MyChart, or call the scheduling line at (608) 775-6829. Adult non-patients can walk-in or call the scheduling line at (608) 775-6829, option 2, for a vaccine appointment.
Patients under age 18 need parent or guardian consent in person or by calling the Gundersen scheduling line at (608) 775-6829.