COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads, Ohio health officials urge Ohioans to get vaccinated.

“After a long period of decline, COVID-19 cases are steadily rising in Ohio,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health. “It’s really now just a matter of time. It’s when, not if, an unvaccinated individual develops COVID-19.”

Despite cases in Ohio rising and warnings of the new variant, many are still hesitant to take the vaccine. More than half of all Ohioans have not started the vaccination process.

Doctors say many could be falling prey to misinformation, leading them to make what could be a deadly decision.

“If somebody chooses not to get vaccinated and they get COVID and they die, that was, that was preventable because we have vaccines,” said Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, pediatrician and chief of staff at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

One group who cannot get vaccinated right now is Ohioans under the age of 12 and Manning-Courtney said kids are getting sick, despite what some may believe.

“We’ve had over 350 children hospitalized in the past year, including babies, including babies hospitalized right now with COVID,” she said.

Pediatricians said it’s up to everyone else to get vaccinated and protect those who can’t.

“I feel, truthfully, that we are one variant away from this being worse for kids, and is that what we’re going to do?” Manning-Courtney said. “We’re going to wait until it is worse for kids and then we’ll take it seriously and get vaccinated?”