To the editor: I would like to thank Pittsfield Health Department Director Andy Cambi for highlighting the increased risks of hospitalization faced by unvaccinated residents versus vaccinated residents. ("Unvaccinated patients in Pittsfield have double the hospitalization rate as vaccinated patients," Eagle, Jan. 12.)

According to Mr. Cambi, hospitalizations in Berkshire County were twice as likely to occur for unvaccinated residents as compared to residents who had been vaccinated. However, it appears, perhaps due to small sampling size, that the risks faced by unvaccinated residents and those who are not fully vaccinated are in fact substantially higher than Mr. Cambi reported.

According to a Jan. 11 article in the New York Times, based on data collected in November and December of last year (before the latest peaks in the spike from Omicron infections), New York City experienced more than four deaths per hundred thousand unvaccinated residents compared to less than one death per hundred thousand vaccinated residents. This data suggests that you were more than 400 percent more likely to die from COVID if you are not vaccinated.

The hospitalization statistics were even more lopsided. Vaccinated residents were hospitalized at a rate of 500 per 100,000 residents. Hospitalizations of under-vaccinated and not fully vaccinated residents occurred at a rate of more than 3,000 per 100,000 residents. Thus, based on this data, you are more than 600 percent more likely to be hospitalized if you are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, as compared to hospitalization risks faced by fully vaccinated residents.

With the fast-spreading omicron variant fueling historic spikes in infections, and the protection from serious infection provided by vaccinations and booster shots, these statistics will only get worse for adults and children who refuse to protect themselves with the safe scientific remedies currently available.

Charles J. Ferris, Great Barrington