"A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated", A Hugh Chatham Team Member's Story


Hello, this is Warren Bates, Director of Food and Environmental Services for Sodexo at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.  I would like to take this opportunity to talk with you about COVID-19 vaccination and why I think it is so important. Here is my story.

I have a disease called Pancytopenia, which means that I have a low red blood cell count, white blood cell count and platelet count. As a result, over the past 21 months I have had 13 blood transfusions and 2 bone marrow biopsies to check to see if this has progressed in any way. Currently, while I am transfusion dependent, I am otherwise doing very well. I say all that not to ask for your pity, but to encourage you to become vaccinated to both slow the spread and reduce the acuity of this deadly disease.

As someone who is immunocompromised, I know that if I contracted COVID, it could be devastating. I know that many of you have family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who also have risk factors that make contracting this disease much more deadly. Again, I would ask that on behalf of those you care about and on behalf of our Hugh Chatham team members caring for COVID patients, that you seriously consider making the choice to become vaccinated.

Recently the hospital shared on social media that we had 31 patients in the hospital with COVID and only 1 was vaccinated. All 7 of the COVID patients in our ICU and all 6 of the people we had on ventilators were unvaccinated. These statistics are from a community with an approximate 40% vaccination rate. This truly is a pandemic of the unvaccinated and it is also clear that those who are becoming the sickest are unvaccinated as well.

While I understand the hesitancy around receiving this vaccination, I also see the effects of this deadly disease each day here in the hospital. It is clear to me after looking at the facts that taking the vaccine is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a hospital and community we can beat this thing, but it will take all of us coming together.



Receive your COVID-19 vaccine at one of our walk-in facilities, no appointment necessary. For more information, visit www.hughchatham.org/covid19.


Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital (www.hughchatham.org) is a not-for-profit community health care network of physician clinics and an 81-bed acute care hospital that delivers high quality, convenient health care to residents of the Yadkin Valley and Foothills region of North Carolina and parts of southwestern Virginia. Employing more than 1,000 team members, Hugh Chatham includes a medical group of more than 68 providers across 24 locations and six counties. Headquartered in Elkin, North Carolina, Hugh Chatham is a leader in using technology to coordinate care for patients and to make healthcare more accessible, and cost-effective.