Vaccine

DOYLESTOWN >> The evidence is overwhelming, according to Bucks County hospital officials: COVID-19 vaccines work. They are keeping people alive and out of hospital beds.

Officials from Bucks County’s six major hospitals reported on Tuesday that of 50 COVID patients who are hospitalized across the county, only one had been fully vaccinated, said Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department. The one exception was a patient more vulnerable to infection because of an immunosuppressed condition, he said.

“These vaccines are supposed to be preventing serious illnesses and deaths from COVID,” Damsker said. “In Bucks County, the data strongly and clearly back up that claim.”

While COVID continues to kill, the number of fatalities is declining. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 74 COVID deaths in Bucks County in April, and 20 so far in May.

Of the eight deaths reported last week in Bucks, none of the victims had been vaccinated, Damsker said.

“We are out of the testing phase and showing real-life success,” he said. “This vaccine is doing exactly what it is supposed to do, stopping almost all severe illness.”

More than a half-million doses of COVID vaccine – 501,825 through Monday – have been administered by providers throughout Bucks County. That includes almost 307,235 people who have received at least a first dose of vaccine, 215,000 of whom have been fully vaccinated.

Case numbers have been plunging for several weeks in Bucks, with just 71 new infections recorded here over the past two days. The county has had fewer than 100 new cases for four straight days, the seven-day average of 78 cases per day is the lowest since Nov. 1, and the test positivity rate dropped last week to 5.3 percent.

Vaccinated persons can occasionally still catch COVID, Damsker said, but are highly unlikely to become seriously ill, and are less likely to spread disease than unvaccinated people.

“It’s going to happen from time to time, and those people are extremely likely to have mild or asymptomatic infections,” Damsker said. “The vaccine is safe and it works. If you’re even remotely considering it, just look at our data here, and you can see why it’s the right thing to do.”

Statistics, charts, links to state health department data and other coronavirus-related information can be found on the county’s data portal: https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com.

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