The Corner


No, It Is Not a Mystery How Highly Vaccinated States Can See Surging COVID-19 Cases

A woman receives a coronavirus vaccination, at Jordan Downs in Los Angeles, Calif., March 10, 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

ABC News asks, “Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country. So why are cases surging?”

Vaccination prevents severe reactions, not infections. A high vaccination rate should reduce deaths and hospitalizations and other severe reactions, but doesn’t necessarily reduce an increase in cases. The state’s hospital capacity is still generally okay — although Northwestern Medical Center in Saint Albans is using 93 percent of its ICU beds.

The ABC News article notes:

“You still have pockets of unvaccinated people, even in a highly vaccinated state,” said Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and ABC News contributor. “Unvaccinated individuals are the primary host by which the virus will spread and continue to allow for transmission to take place in the community and ultimately create challenges for those that are vaccinated.”

Some of us have been telling you this for a while now! Back in early September, I wrote:

Now, if Massachusetts, with its near-best vaccination rates, can find itself with strained hospital systems, every other state is almost certain to find itself with similar or worse problems. As much as people may enjoy a simple morality play of good blue states and bad red states, the lesson is that Delta will cut through every population, and even having a small percentage of eligible people unvaccinated can result in open beds in hospitals disappearing fast.

It is also worth emphasizing that while COVID-19-related hospitalization of fully vaccinated people is exceptionally rare in terms of the percentage of all vaccinated people, in a large enough population, fully vaccinated people with a bad reaction to COVID-19 can still occupy a decent amount of beds.


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