June 28, 2021 – If you, a friend or a loved one remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 at this point – for whatever reason – you are be at higher risk for dying if you do become infected.
That's the conclusion of a new report The Associated Press released looking at COVID-19 deaths during May 2021.
Of more than 18,000 people who died from COVID-19, for example, only about 150 were fully vaccinated. That's less than 1%.
"Recently I was working in the emergency room [and] I saw a 21-year-old African- American who came in with shortness of breath," says Vino K. Palli, MD, a doctor specializing in emergency medicine, internal medicine and urgent care.
The patient deteriorated rapidly and required ventilation. She was transferred to a specialized hospital for in case she needed what’s known as ECMO treatment, where blood is pumped outside your body to remove carbon dioxide.
"This patient was unvaccinated along with her entire family. This would have been easily preventable," says Palli, who is also founder and CEO of MiDoctor Urgent Care in New York City.
"Vaccine misinformation compounded with vaccine inertia and vaccine access has contributed to this," he says. “Even though we have a surplus amount of vaccines at this time we are only seeing 50 to 55% off completely vaccinated patients.”
The AP report authors also acknowledge that some people who are fully vaccinated can get a “breakthrough infection” of COVID-19. These occurred in fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in May, or about 0.1%.
The AP came up with these numbers using CDC data. The CDC tracks the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, but does not break down rates by vaccination status.
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