The Virginia Department of Health says that only 17 people who were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus have died of the disease in the state since January.
The Virginian-Pilot reported Sunday that the new data indicates that unvaccinated Virginians make up more than 99% of COVID-related illnesses and fatalities this year.
It's a fact that public health officials hope will persuade people who are unvaccinated to get their shots.
State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver urged more Virginians to get vaccinated in a statement on Friday.
“I applaud those who have chosen to protect themselves and the community by getting vaccinated,” he said, “and we appreciate the work of all who are helping to vaccinate Virginians.”
Public health officials say vaccines will be the most effective tool at ending the pandemic. It has killed more than 11,400 Virginians and infected at least half a million.
Cases have started ticking up again in several health districts. And public health officials say the delta variant is gaining ground in Virginia, leaving undervaccinated pockets of the state vulnerable.