PHILADELPHIA - A day after Pennsylvania released data on breakthrough COVID-19 infections, Philadelphia - the largest city in the state - presented similar figures that showed unvaccinated people are significantly more susceptible to severe coronavirus infections.
Acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said Wednesday that 95% of new COVID-19 infections since January have been among unvaccinated people. Over 96% of people who have been hospitalized in that timeframe were not fully vaccinated.
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"These vaccines work," Bettigole said. "Every month the vast majority of those testing positive, being hospitalized, and dying weren’t vaccinated."
According to the health department, more than 1M people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and over 900,000 people are considered fully vaccinated. Bettigole credited Philadelphia's high vaccination rate with thwarting a wave of infections that could have strained the city's healthcare system.
Bettigole said that Philadelphia is reflective of national studies that show unvaccinated people are at a 10x higher risk of contracting severe COVID-19. In August alone, 277 of the 343 people hospitalized for coronavirus were unvaccinated, according to Bettigole.
"By getting fully vaccinated, you’re not only lowering your chances of having severe COVID, but you’re also lowering the risk of everyone around you," Bettigole said.