Dr. Hans Crumpler
Dr. Hans Crumpler speaks to the media on Friday. Image from livestream

San Diego public health officials on Friday urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid the “devastation” of a potentially deadly case of COVID-19.

“The virus is real,” said Dr. Hans Crumpler, who contracted the disease himself early in the pandemic. “The devastation that this virus causes is preventable.”

Crumpler joined Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas at a press conference following the announcement Thursday that 140,000 residents are past due for a second COVID-19 shot.

The doctor, whose practice is in East County, said any side effects to the vaccine are treatable with over-the-counter pain medications and thus there is no valid reason for hesitating.

“You don’t hesitate when you put on your seat belt when you’re driving. What’s the difference?” he said. “I beg you–please get your vaccine.”

Fletcher said unvaccinated individuals have accounted for over 95% of the coronavirus cases and deaths since March 1.

“We’re urging people. We know that this works. We know that it’s safe,” he said.

Dr. Seema Shah of the county’s epidemiology and immunization services branch said a second dose of vaccine is needed to stop the highly contagious “delta” strain, which is expected to be dominant in the county in “a couple weeks.”

She said getting vaccinated is important to protect not just yourself but others who are not vaccinated.

“It’s not just about you, it’s about the community you live in,” Shah said.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.