High number of breakthrough cases across some Massachusetts hospitals

Between 25 percent to 43 percent of fully vaccinated patients at major Massachusetts hospitals tested positive for COVID-19 in the week ending Dec. 10, WBUR reports. 

The main reason for hospitalization was not related to COVID-19 in a few of these cases, and overall, the majority of hospitalized COVID-19 cases across the state's largest hospitals, or about 75 percent, were among unvaccinated patients, according to hospital data provided to the news outlet. The rate of hospitalization among all vaccinated Massachusetts residents is .05 percent.

At Boston-based Mass General Brigham, a daily census taken during the week of Dec. 6 found 30 percent of COVID-19 patients were vaccinated. 

"Here we are in one of the most vaccinated states in the country dealing with another surge of COVID," Eric Dickson, MD, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health, told WBUR. "The only way that could really happen is if there's waning immunity from the vaccines that most of us received last year, and that's clearly happening," he said, emphasizing the need for an uptake in booster shots and avoiding large crowds. 

About 40 percent of COVID-19 patients at Worcester-based UMass Memorial Health had been vaccinated, according to a daily survey taken the week of Dec. 6 

Still, the math indicates unvaccinated people are at a much higher risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19, said Ellie Murray, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health. 

"Despite fewer than 13 percent of adult Massachusetts residents being completely unvaccinated, the unvaccinated individuals make up 57 percent to 75 percent of hospitalized COVID cases," Ms. Murray told WBUR. "When viewed from that perspective, we can see that unvaccinated people are much more at risk of being hospitalized from COVID than vaccinated people." 

Statewide, about 73 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, while 87 percent, including eligible children, have received at least their first dose. 

To read the full WBUR report, click here.


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