HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) – As delta variant cases continue to spread, health officials say getting vaccinated is a key step to protecting yourself even if you have already have COVID-19.

Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County hosted a vaccine clinic in Huber Heights Tuesday. PHDMC is currently offering a gift card incentive to get more people vaccinated, but they hope the real incentive is preventing worse outcomes from COVID-19.

“We encourage people to tell their friends and encourage people who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated as quickly as possible beause that is going to go a long way to help in keeping people out of the hospital and/or dying from COVID,” PHDMC Public Information Supervisor Dan Suffoletto said.

While COVID-19 breakthrough cases do occur in those fully vaccinated, health experts said the vaccine is still the most effective tool to preventing COVID-19.

“There’s nothing that will prevent 100%, it comes really close to meeting that mark in terms of preventing hospitalizations, so while people are getting sick, most of the time they are staying out of the hospital,” Kettering Health Emergency Physician Dr. Nancy Pook said.

According to the lastest Ohio Department of Health data on outbreak cases, since the beginning of the year. 24,335 COVID-19 hospitalizations have been those who are unvaccinated, compared to just 744 fully-vaccinated individuals.

More 7,500 COVID-19 deaths were unvaccinated, whereas 97 were fully vaccinated.

“That’s a small minority that are hospitalized and very very few dealths,” Pook said.

Pook said even if you are vaccinated, the best thing to do is know your risk factors like age or underlying medical problems.

“Ask your physician or primary care provider so they can help work out what is my risk really if I’ve been vaccinated, or if I have had COVID before, do I continue to have a risk,” Pook said.

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in areas with substantial or high transmission to prevent breakthrough infections.