Only five percent of Vermont adults remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, but state officials say they now account for the bulk of new cases, as well as most hospitalizations.

Unvaccinated people make up more than 70 percent of the cases in Vermont and 75 percent of hospitalizations, Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday. Scott says those who remain unvaccinated are putting stress on the state’s healthcare system and affecting those who have already done their part in the pandemic.

“The hundreds of thousands of people who did the right thing and therefore are not the problem should not be punished to protect the people who have chosen not to protect themselves,” said Scott.

The Department of Health reported 237 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 56,317. The number of deaths attributed to COVID rose to 437.

Officials say the data shows, that one year after the vaccine became available, the shot has saved the lives of 934 Vermonters.

“It’s still unfortunate that we’ve had those deaths, but its impressive when you think about Vermonters stepping up to protect nearly 1,000 Vermonters,” Scott said.

While the surge in cases from Thanksgiving is receding, higher case counts are expected with Christmas and New Years around the corner. Health Commissioner Mark Levine says you are not fully protected until you have a third dose and that ‘fully vaccinated’ will soon mean that you have all three.

“We consider the third dose so essential to our future success in Vermont. We are still one of the few states where state-run clinics are in abundance,” said Dr. Levine.