People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are more than 10 times less likely to be hospitalized following infection and more than 10 times less likely to die as a result compared to those who are unvaccinated, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The fully vaccinated also have a five-fold lower risk for infection in the first place compared to the unvaccinated, the data showed.
The findings are based on an analysis of infections reported between April 4 and July 17 in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina and Utah, as well as Los Angeles County, Calif., New York City and Seattle, the agency said.
This period covers the rise of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is believed to be more contagious and cause more serious illness than other strains — and became the “predominant” one in circulation nationally in mid-June, the CDC said.
“Rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths were substantially higher in persons not fully vaccinated compared with those in fully vaccinated persons,” agency researchers wrote.
“[These] findings … are consistent with recent studies reporting decreased vaccine effectiveness against confirmed infection but not hospitalization or death, during a period of Delta variant predominance and potential waning of vaccine-induced population immunity,” they said.
Research published in July by the New England Journal of Medicine found that the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offered 88% protection against the Delta variant, compared with 94% against other strains.
However, data released by the CDC in August found that all three currently available vaccines, including those from Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, provided 80% protection against infection with the Delta variant, but still significantly lowered the risk for serious illness and death.
In the report released Friday, nearly 570,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported among unvaccinated adults in the 13 regions and states included in the analysis, compared to fewer than 47,000 in those areas who were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Of the cases in the fully vaccinated, just under 3,000 resulted in hospitalization and just over 600 resulted in death, the agency said.
However, among those not fully vaccinated — included those who received no doses or only one dose of the two-shot vaccines — nearly 35,000 of those infected were hospitalized and more than 6,000 died, the data showed.
Between June 20, the anticipated date when the Delta form became the prevalent one in circulation nationwide, and July 17, more over 100,000 COVID-19 cases were documented among unvaccinated adults in the 13 regions and states studied.
According to the government, more than 6,000 of these patients were hospitalised, and more than 1,000 died as a result of the infection.
Fewer than 1,000 of the roughly 23,000 cases in fully vaccinated individuals between June 20 and July 17 were hospitalised, and fewer than 200 died, according to the report.
The statistics showed that between April 4 and June 19, fully vaccinated people accounted for 5% of cases, 7% of hospitalizations, and 8% of fatalities in the covered regions.
From June 20 through July 17, these percentages were 18%, 14% and 16%, respectively, the CDC said.
“Getting vaccinated protects against severe illness from COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the CDC researchers wrote.