SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – New COVID-19 cases are dropping sharply in Massachusetts, but hospitalizations are not going down as quickly.

New research shows that a booster shot is even more important now that omicron accounts for virtually all COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Hospitals are still full of patients and continue to face staffing shortages. While in some areas of the U.S. including Massachusetts, COVID-19 cases have ticked down, hospitalizations have not.

New Research has found that a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces a person’s odds of hospitalization from the omicron variant, which now makes up more than 99 percent of all cases in the U.S. In fact, protection increases more than 30 percent after the third shot which is depicted in this graph from the white house.

While cases may have been declining, Health experts say the omicron surge is still here. “I don’t want to get over confident but they look like they are going in the right direction right now,” states Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Many continue to worry about experiencing side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines. A study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston found that a large number of side effects reported by patients after receiving their shot can be attributed to the placebo effect.

The placebo effect occurs when people anticipate a medical treatment will have certain effects, so much so that they perceive the outcomes they were expecting after the treatment. And although vaccine hesitancy continues, some are now rolling up there sleeves.

“I haven’t gotten my shots, because I’m scared. But I’m going to do it now,” states Springfield resident, Alberta Owens.

Less than half of the U.S. population eligible for a booster dose has received one