Vaccination rate remains the lowest in Hampden County

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – One out of two people are fully vaccinated in the United States.

But with breakthrough infections rising, even at the Olympics, some are casting doubt about the effectiveness of the vaccines. Infectious disease experts stand by their original message, as being the key to ending this pandemic, since they prevent hospitalizations and severe complications.

“They have to understand if there is a breakthrough, the likelihood of going to the hospital or passing away, is very, very, small,” said Mary Jo Sardella, COVID-19 vaccine manager for Holyoke Health Center.

Currently, at Baystate Health, there are 7 patients with COVID-19 and two of which are in the ICU. Right before the rollout of the vaccine in mid-December, there were 166 total COVID-19 patients for Baystate, with 21 in the ICU. It’s the vaccine that’s making the difference, allowing people’s immune systems to fight off the virus. Without two doses, you are still vulnerable, especially against the delta variant.

“That’s exactly correct your immune system needs that extra of a workout to get more antibodies to make sure you’re as protected as we want you to be,” said Dr. Esteban DelPilar, infectious disease physician for Baystate Health.

A first dose against the delta variant only gets you about 30 percent protection. When you look at the current vaccination rates, Hampden County has the lowest at 49 percent, in Franklin County it’s 60 percent, and Hampshire County it’s 55 percent. Barnstable County has the highest rate at 69 percent. Overall, Massachusetts has 63.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated, which is the best in the country.

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