Merced County doctor who contracted COVID-19 stresses need for vaccination

Dr. Sima Asadi believes without the vaccine, she would've been part of the growing number of people being hospitalized.
MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A local doctor known for her work in the fight against COVID-19 is stressing the importance of getting vaccinated - after she herself recently came down with the virus.

Dr. Sima Asadi estimates she's given out upwards of 15,000 COVID-19 vaccines. The pediatrician's tireless effort to get shots in the arms of community members has helped her become known as one of Merced County's biggest advocates during the vaccine rollout.

"At one point I couldn't quit even if I wanted to because there was so much momentum behind me," said Dr. Sima Asadi.

But despite being vaccinated herself, Dr. Asadi recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Now out of quarantine, she's stressing the importance of the vaccine from a personal perspective.

"The good news is that I did well, I'm recovered but it was still pretty severe in terms of fever, chills and loss of smell when it happened."

Dr. Asadi believes without the vaccine, she would've been part of the growing number of people being hospitalized. While vaccines are not 100% effective at stopping the transmission of the virus, she's reminding everyone they are effective at preventing serious illness and death.

"Not only did this vaccine protect me from getting that sick but it absolutely protected all those people closest to me."

As the Delta variant continues to spread, Dr. Asadi is pointing out that most hospitalizations and deaths caused by COVID are among unvaccinated patients.

And positive tests among vaccinated residents are relatively rare.

"About 30% of us in Merced County have shields and we're doing our best to try and protect everybody but we're just 30-percent and the bullets are still flying like crazy, well eventually you're going to get breakthrough cases no matter how hard you try."

Despite hitting a wall a couple of months ago when it comes to those wanting the vaccine, Dr. Asadi says she is now seeing a slight uptick in vaccination demand as of late.

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