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Unvaccinated Creating ‘ripple Effects’ in Health Care, Boston Mayor Wu Says

The “vast majority” of patients hospitalized at Tufts Medical Center with serious COVID-19 cases are unvaccinated, hospital officials said Wednesday, prompting Mayor Michelle Wu to warn that the trend makes health care more difficult to access for everyone else.

“Gaps in vaccination rates are affecting everyone,” Wu told reporters after touring Tufts Medical Center and meeting with the hospital’s staff. “If you are looking to get a hip replacement, if you have some other procedure that has been bothering you but is not an emergency, these are getting pushed back and we are seeing the ripple effects on everyone as we drag this out without closing vaccination rates.”

The hospital’s leaders warned that the latest COVID-19 surge fueled by the omicron variant has created a “perfect storm” as an already-strained system now has to cope with rising case counts and staffing shortages.

Helen Boucher, an infectious disease expert and interim dean of Tufts University School of Medicine, said “most” patients admitted with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

For those sick enough to go to the intensive care unit, Boucher said “the vast majority, almost 90 percent,” have not received a vaccine against the virus.

“The number one thing you can do for yourself, your family and the community is to get that vaccine,” Boucher said. “We know that the booster and the vaccine prevent against serious illness or death, and that’s going to help us be able to care for the patients who need us — those with COVID and those with other things.”

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