Hospitalizations from COVID-19 continue to rise in Calhoun County as the area continues to remain below the statewide average for people who are fully vaccinated for the virus.

The Calhoun County Public Health Department says between Bronson Battle Creek and Oaklawn Hospital, hospitalizations are at their highest since mid-December of 2020.

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is now available for anyone ages 5-and-older. Michigan recently surpassed its goal of vaccinating over 70% of its population ages 16 and older, but according to the CDC, the state is once again the biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the country, putting pressure on hospitals locally and across much of Michigan. WWMT reports that Michigan is second to Minnesota for the highest number of new infections, but the virus is spreading faster in Michigan than anywhere in the country. Health experts are encouraging more shots in unvaccinated arms.

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Dr. William Nettleton, medical director for the Calhoun County Public Health Department and the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, speaking to WWMT, pleaded for help from the community for this.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest COVID-19 data showed Michigan’s infection rate has tripled the national average.

“It’s really here where we got to worry about,” said Eric Pessell, Calhoun County Health Officer.

Michigan's seven-day case average peaked at an astounding 7,360 per day almost exactly one year ago. Right now? The seven-day average is almost identical at 7,353 cases per day.

According to data from the Michigan health department, over five million people in Michigan are fully vaccinated. Only about 78,000, or 1.5 % of them, have still tested positive for COVID-19.

Breakthrough cases are expected because no vaccine can beL 100% effective, but the data shows vaccines protect people from the virus.

About 88% of hospitalizations and deaths since Jan. 5 involved people who are not fully vaccinated, according to the same report from WWMT.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.