Worcester boosts vaccination efforts amid COVID-19 spike

WORCESTER, Mass. — With Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines packed for travel, nurses at UMass Memorial Health were walking through Worcester neighborhoods on Tuesday, bringing free vaccines right to anyone who wanted it.

It’s an effort by UMass Memorial Health to boost vaccination numbers in a community where they have become stagnant and cases are rising.

“Fourth of July weekend we only had three inpatients, that went up to seven, the next week it went up to 16 and now this week it’s up to 29, said Dr. Michael P. Hirsh, City of Worcester’s medical director.

Hirsh says it’s beyond a July Fourth bump and now a surge.

A trend that may result in a mask mandate in Worcester in certain places for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

“It’s definitely an option on the table, especially if we can’t get these vaccination numbers up,” said Hirsh.

There have been breakthrough cases in Massachusetts, but they are rare.

“5,600 breakthrough infections out of 4.3 million people vaccinated,” said Hirsh.

Those who do get the vaccine and still catch COVID-19 are much less sick than those who do not.

“Out of those breakthrough infections – 92% have not gone to the hospital, “said Dr. Hirsh

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