Vaccine campaign shares stories of Utahns affected by COVID-19

Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, discusses a new COVID-19 vaccine campaign.

Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, discusses a new COVID-19 vaccine campaign to encourage unvaccinated residents to get the shot during a press conference at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

1,274 new cases reported Tuesday

Like many, Shelly Wenzbauer became frustrated throughout the pandemic as schools and businesses shut down.

But when her husband was diagnosed with leukemia last December, “that changed our world,” said Wenzbauer, a high school biology teacher.

Her voice broke Tuesday as she described the struggles her family has faced since then.

“We both had the vaccine, and in my husband’s particular type of leukemia, it is the very white blood cells that would make the vaccine effective. And so it really didn’t work for him — it was completely ineffective,” Wenzbauer explained, speaking to reporters at the Salt Lake County Government Center on Tuesday, as leaders announced the launch of a new campaign aimed at encouraging more residents to get vaccinated.

Wenzbauer’s husband is in the hospital now, receiving a bone marrow transplant. While “things are looking really good,” the teacher begged for the community’s help to save him.

“Because right now, he has zero white blood cells,” she said. “His official count right now is zero, and that means he just can’t fight this off, and there really is no medicine or artificial help he can receive to overcome this loss he has in his own immune system. And wearing masks and getting vaccinated as a community is the only thing that really is going to keep him safe.”

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As a schoolteacher, Wenzbauer needs to be in the classroom with students each day. She would love to encourage them to get the vaccine, wear masks, “and to help keep our community safe,” she said, noting that it’s not just her husband who faces serious risk from the coronavirus pandemic.

Wenzbauer is one of several Utahns who share their stories in Salt Lake County’s new “The Truth About COVID” campaign. The ads that will run on TV, billboards, the local transit system, Connected TV, digital banners and social media feature a variety of local people who have been affected in some way by the pandemic, including health care workers, people experiencing “long COVID,” teachers and members of at-risk communities.

“The politics associated with this pandemic have obscured the scientific facts and the human impact that COVID has had on our families, our friends and our communities,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director at the Salt Lake County Health Department.

The campaign, she said, shares first-person perspectives “from Utahns just like us,” whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19.

Dunn said leaders want unvaccinated Utahns to learn from these first-hand experiences “before it’s too late.”

“I’m brokenhearted that we continue to have the health risk in our community and the challenges that our community is facing now,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said.

People who haven’t been personally impacted may be able to “ignore” it, but …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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