PENNSYLVANIA, USA — It's likely you or someone you know has or recently had COVID-19.
Health officials say the highly contagious omicron variant and the holiday season fueled a surge that continues to impact both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Tyler Chulvick from Dunmore just got over the virus and is triple vaccinated.
"I was expecting it. I was around some people who tested positive, and I figured it was likely. I woke up on Wednesday morning, and I felt terrible," said Tyler Chulvick, Dunmore.
So why are so many vaccinated people testing positive?
Dr. Jeffrey Jahre from St. Luke's University Health Network explains.
"What was the main purpose of the COVID vaccine, is the same way that we look at an influenza vaccine, and that is to keep one away from the most serious consequences of getting the disease. What we are speaking about there is hospitalization and obviously very severe hospitalization and in intensive care unit and also tragically, death. In that situation, the COVID vaccine has been very good at doing its job," said Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, St. Luke's University Health Network.
Dr. Jahre says more than 80% of inpatients and more than 90% of intensive care unit patients within the hospital's network are unvaccinated.
Chulvick had body aches and a sore throat and believes the vaccine protected him from the worst.
"I think it's a good thing that I have the vaccinations because God only knows where I would have ended up without it. I mean, there's a chance I would have ended up in the hospital bed as opposed to in my own bed at home just recovering," said Chulvick.
Dr. Jahre says while omicron is very transmissible, it's not attacking the lungs as badly as the delta variant or the original strain of COVID-19. However, it's not something to gloss over.
"Don't disregard this, don't put it aside and think that it is really nothing. It can be and particularly in people who are vulnerable. There is something you can do about it, and that something you can do about it is getting vaccinated and strongly consider a booster shot," said Dr. Jahre.
Health experts say regardless of vaccine status, wear a mask when indoors and avoid crowds, especially as the cold winter months take hold.
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