Physicians and nurses from 21 Michigan healthcare systems pen open letter as they battle 4th COVID-19 surge with less staff.

Health leaders across the state have joined together to appeal to Michigan residents to do their part in preventing the further spread of COVID-19. The letter is spurred by what they describe as the 4th surge in 18 months amid the worst healthcare worker shortage in history.

In the open letter the doctors and nurses say that this surge is preventable and we all have a responsibility.

Unlike previous surges, we finally have free, widely available, highly effective and safe vaccines available to protect you and your family. Throughout this pandemic, no other medicine or intervention has been nearly as effective in preventing serious illness and death as the COVID-19 vaccines.

Michigan healthcare workers who have been on the front lines of this pandemic for 18 months say they are 'disheartened and frustrated' to see so many unvaccinated individuals admitted to Michigan hospitals and dying from serious complications of COVID-19 infection.

National statistics show that 99% of those dying from COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Something those who penned the open letter call a preventable tragedy. Perhaps most concerning is what they call an alarming rise in children being hospitalized with complications from COVID-19 infections.

The leaders who penned the open letter are asking those who are eligible to get vaccinated and for households to mask up when going out in public. Especially as kids return to school. They say as the situation worsens, it hinders their ability to care for other patients who are experiencing serious illnesses such as stroke, heart attacks, diabetic complications, obstructive lung disease, and other traumas.

More than 370 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States. The FDA issued full approval of the Pfizer vaccine on August 23, reaffirming its effectiveness and safety after reviewing tens of thousands of pages of safety and effectiveness information.

The state health leaders ended their open letter with an urgent plea

Together, healthcare workers and our citizens have the ability – and a responsibility – to stop this global pandemic. We plead with those of you who remain unvaccinated to get vaccinated now. The vaccine is safe and effective. You trust us when you’re sick, when you have an emergency or when you have a chronic health need. Please trust us now when we guide you to get this vaccine.

You can read the open letter from Physician and Nurse Leaders from 21 Michigan Healthcare Systems in its entirety by clicking here.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.