Last week, 40 percent of positive COVID-19 tests at Yale-New Haven Health were the B.1.1.7, or UK, variant.
“Once [the UK variant] gets a toe-hold it overtakes the other variants and becomes the dominant variant,” said Dr. Tom Balcezak, the Chief Medical Officer at Yale-New Haven Health. “But, the vaccine prevents that spread.”
In other words, the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines all prevent the spread of the UK variant in addition to the original strain.
“So, get vaccinated,” said Marna Borgstrom, CEO of Yale-New Haven Health.
As of Sunday, in Connecticut 40 percent of the state population has been vaccinated – the majority over 60 years old.
Between January and March there has been a 72 percent reduction of hospitalized individuals between 65 and 74 years old at Yale-New Haven Health. Of the 208 patients currently hospitalized, 16 percent are under 35, a population that had almost no severe cases during the height of the pandemic.
“It’s a reinforcement of the value of being vaccinated,” Borgstrom said. “We have fewer older patients and what we are seeing instead is patients in their 20s, 30s and 40s.”
According to Balcezak, the increase in younger individuals is a combination of the UK variant and a lack of vaccine availability to this population.
This Thursday in Connecticut the vaccine becomes available to everyone age 16 and up. If everything goes smoothly, Balcezak said there is a chance the entire state population could be vaccinated by the end of June.