NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Hospitalizations at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for COVID-19 are increasing again and now trend towards younger people.
According to hospital staff, there are currently 35 people hospitalized with the virus. Vanderbilt's Dr. William Schaffner also said 80% of the cases are caused by the delta variant.
"We're very concerned that the hospitalization rate is increasing. It just means that unvaccinated people are providing the opportunity for this virus to spread and some of them are getting sick and once again we're having to take care of so many patients that have serious issues with COVID," said Schaffner.
Among the active hospitalizations, 98% are unvaccinated people. Schaffner also said the people being hospitalized are much younger now.
"People in their 40s, 30s and 20s, rather than just senior citizens," he said.
It comes as Vanderbilt announced it would require vaccination for all of its leadership staff. A move they said could soon apply to all hospital employees.
"The anticipation is the leadership is showing the way and then it will be rolled out to the rank and file also," he said.
Some medical staff at Vanderbilt are reportedly worried about the increase. In two weeks, the hospitalizations have increased more than 100%. It's a steady increase some fear is leading into a third wave. Doctors and nurses are not far removed from the last wave, which shut down many other departments in the hospital to make room for people sick with COVID-19.
Schaffner said early studies show the delta variant spreads more quickly than before, but that vaccinated people are still largely unaffected.
He also said he foresees other companies besides Vanderbilt requiring vaccination if the variant becomes too widespread in Tennessee.
He's hoping the FDA will soon approve all of the vaccines to alleviate some of the vaccine hesitancy.
"I think it's almost assured that the FDA will move from emergency use authorization to full licensure of this vaccine. The only question is when. And I hope it's sooner," he said.