Unvaccinated 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, CDC study says

A study found that unvaccinated people in Los Angeles County were 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than the fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Tuesday also determined that unvaccinated people in the county were almost five times as likely to contract the coronavirus than fully vaccinated ones. 

The results back up that getting fully vaccinated can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization, even as the delta variant dominates the U.S. 

“These data remind us that if you are not vaccinated, you are among those highest at risk,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a Tuesday briefing. 

Still, the research also showed that vaccines are not perfect at preventing COVID-19 as breakthrough cases continue to emerge. 

The study, spanning May 1 to July 25, documented more than 43,000 COVID-19 infections in the county among residents aged 16 and older. About a quarter of these cases occurred among the fully vaccinated, 3.3 percent among the partially vaccinated and 71.4 percent among the unvaccinated. 

The effectiveness of the vaccine also has apparently slipped amid the delta variant. The data showed at the beginning of the study unvaccinated people were eight times as likely to contract COVID-19 than the fully vaccinated. That dropped to nearly five times as likely by July 25. 

But fully vaccinated people still appeared to avoid severe illness at a greater rate as lower percentages of them were hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit or needed mechanical ventilation, compared to unvaccinated people. 

“These infection and hospitalization rate data indicate that authorized vaccines were protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 during a period when transmission of the Delta variant was increasing,” the weekly report reads. 

The study was conducted in the weeks that delta overtook the U.S. and became the dominant strain in the country, including among fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated people. 

Coronavirus vaccinations did rise within the time frame of the study, with 27 percent of Los Angeles County’s population being fully vaccinated on May 1, compared to 51 percent on July 25. 

The Biden administration has repeatedly said that the unvaccinated remain more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than vaccinated people. 

“Virtually all” COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the country are among unvaccinated people, President Biden said on Monday.

“Let me be clear: There are cases where vaccinated people do get COVID-19, but they are far less common than unvaccinated people getting COVID-19,” the president said during an address on the pandemic. “And most importantly, their conditions are far less severe.”

The study comes a day after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which the administration and experts hope sparks an uptick in vaccinations. 

Currently, 51.5 percent of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while 60.3 percent of the eligible population aged 12 and older completed their vaccine regimen. 

Tags California CDC CDC study Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine fully vaccinated Joe Biden Los Angeles Los Angeles County MMWR Pandemic Rochelle Walensky unvaccinated Vaccine

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