Burlington, VT – Dr. Tim Lahey, an Infectious Disease Physician at the University of Vermont Medical Center is breaking down how the Omicron variant affects the unvaccinated, vaccinated and those who have boosters.

One common misconception is that if you are vaccinated and get COVID-19, then your vaccine doesn’t work. Dr. Lahey said vaccines offer protection even in cases of breakthrough infection.

“What you see in people who are vaccinated is that they can still get infected all though it’s much less likely,” Dr. Lahey said. “But they are highly protected from the bad consequences of the disease.”

According to Dr. Lahey, people who are vaccinated are 30 times less likely to end up in an intensive care unit compared to some who is unvaccinated.

“When I hear that a vaccine makes me 30 times less likely to end up in an ICU with a tube down my airway, I say that is a vaccine that works,” Dr. Lahey said.

Dr. Lahey is concerned about the potential for a post-holiday surge. He said a constant pattern they have seen in the pandemic is holidays followed by increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“I suspect that the number of cases is going to rise even more now that Omicron has come to town,” Dr. Lahey said. “The hope is that highly-vaccinated Vermonters may have some insulation against severe disease that lands people in the hospital and ICU.”

According to the Vermont Health Department, 85% of Vermonters ages 5 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.