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Your Healthy Family: Unvaccinated put ‘vaccinated vulnerable’ at risk for COVID-19

Posted at 7:56 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 07:56:50-05

As hospitals across the country are reporting a rise in COVID-19 patients, data shows most people in the hospital are unvaccinated. But a doctor says others being treated are part of a group called the 'vaccinated vulnerable.'

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Amy Teleron treats people who are in the hospital with the virus. She said the 'vaccinated vulnerable' can include the elderly and people who are immunocompromised.

"The vaccinated vulnerable are those patients that have received the vaccine, but they have underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to still getting an infection that may still be severe,” Dr. Teleron said.

The ‘vaccinated vulnerable’ can include people with cancer, people who have had transplants, and anyone taking immunosuppressants or long-term steroids. It also includes people with lung disease, like COPD or asthma, and heart disease.

Some people with these chronic conditions may not have as strong of an immune response to vaccines, but Dr. Teleron said the COVID-19 vaccine does help protect them against severe disease and death.

While breakthrough infections — or cases in people who are vaccinated — do happen, vaccinated people are overall less likely to be infected. And if they are, their illness is typically more mild.

Dr. Teleron said the 'vaccinated vulnerable' are at increased risk of infection from people who are unvaccinated.

"We're lucky that we have vaccines available to us, so please do it to protect yourself. But if you’re not as interested in protecting yourself, please do it to protect those that you love – your parents, your grandparents, your children, those that have medical conditions and those that cannot get vaccinated," she said.

Dr. Teleron said if you’re eligible, to go get your booster shot.