Doctors say majority of patients on ventilators are not vaccinated

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:34 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Nearly 90% of patients with COVID-19 in Novant Health facilities, like New Hanover Regional Medical Center, that are on ventilators are unvaccinated.

Vaccinated people are getting this strain and going to the hospital, especially those without a booster shot, but that base vaccine is keeping them from getting seriously ill.

As hospitals are nearing capacity, doctors say that treating COVID patients with the Omicron variant is becoming increasingly difficult because treatments are in high demand and there’s a limited supply of treatments that are effective against the new variant. For example, the monoclonal antibody treatments are not effective against the new variant.

“So, if you are unvaccinated and have a high risk of complications from COVID, for the next several weeks there will be limited therapies to offer you if you get COVID,” said Dr. David Priest with Novant Health. “So again, a full vaccination dose with a booster is your best bet to avoid the serious complications of COVID infection, including hospitalization and death.”

Priest added that when people hear the Omicron variant is not as severe as the Delta variant, they might feel reassured, but that’s not exactly the case for everyone, especially those who are not vaccinated or boosted.

“Getting a booster restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to about 75%,” said Priest. “So again, another way of saying all that is only about 2% of our current patients in the hospital have been vaccinated with a booster, and their average age is 77-years-old. Getting vaccinated and getting boosted, if you’re eligible, is a great way of keeping yourself out of the hospital.”

With hospitals nearing capacity, doctors hope that cases will start to level off and decrease soon because healthcare systems are becoming overwhelmed again.

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