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Report: Unvaccinated in Mass. have 30x more COVID cases than boosted residents

Target 12

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Unvaccinated Massachusetts residents have 30 times more COVID-19 cases than those who have received the booster shot, according to a new report published by the Massachusetts Department of Health.

The report, published earlier this month, considers what the case numbers for Massachusetts’ unvaccinated, fully vaccinated and boosted populations would look like if each group was broken out as its own state, using case data from Oct. 31 to Dec. 4. It then compares each group’s case numbers against other states across the country.

A bar graph in the report shows the state’s overall average weekly per capita COVID cases rank near the middle of states across the country. But when cases among Massachusetts’ unvaccinated residents are isolated — as seen in the light blue bar below — their per-capita average is higher than any individual state across the country.

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The case rate for boosted Massachusetts residents is at the other end of the spectrum, pictured in the yellow line above. If boosted residents were their own state, they would have the fewest average weekly COVID cases per capita nationwide.

Massachusetts’ fully vaccinated but unboosted population, meanwhile, is better off than the state overall but has significantly more cases on average than the boosted population.

“Unvaccinated people, obviously, put everybody at risk,” Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan told Target 12 after seeing the report. “My wife got her booster yesterday, and we’re encouraging everyone to do the same.”

Coogan said more than 30% of eligible residents in Fall River are unvaccinated, which is nearly three times higher than the overall state average. He said he didn’t yet have data on the percent of city residents who have their boosters, but acknowledged the city’s vaccination rate is significantly lower than the state average.

Michael Lawrence, spokesperson for New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, told Target 12 the city didn’t have booster data available either, but data from last week showed only 54% of New Bedford residents were fully vaccinated.

Damon Chaplin, director of New Bedford’s Department of Health, said in a statement: “The data from local hospitals is clear: You are at much greater risk of severe COVID-19 complications, sickness, and death – from delta, omicron, or any form of the virus – if you are unvaccinated.”

Tolly Taylor (ttaylor@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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