A new analysis of COVID-19 patients in LA County shows unvaccinated people are five times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to be hospitalized. The findings answer a key question about the rate of so-called “breakthrough” infections and their severity as the delta variant spreads.
The study was released Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers looked at 43,127 infections during the period of May 1–July 25, 2021 when delta became LA’s prominent strain. 10,895 (25.3%) of patients were fully vaccinated. 1,431 (3.3%) were partially vaccinated. 30,801 (71.4%) were unvaccinated. On July 25, the age-adjusted hospitalization rate for the unvaccinated was 29.2 times the rate for fully vaccinated persons.
While the data from LA’s Department of Public Health show less protection from the delta variant than previous strains, it is clear that vaccines bolster one’s chances of avoiding infection, hospitalization, and death. Higher COVID-19 vaccination rates aren't just beneficial for the individual; they're a matter of public health.
The results of this population-based analysis using linked SARS-CoV-2 infection surveillance and vaccination registry data indicate that fully vaccinated persons aged ≥16 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection were less likely than unvaccinated persons to be hospitalized, to be admitted to an intensive care unit, to require mechanical ventilation, or to die from SARS-CoV-2 infection during a period when the Delta variant became predominant. Although age-adjusted hospitalization rates in partially vaccinated persons were similar to those in fully vaccinated persons, age-adjusted incidences were slightly lower in partially vaccinated persons than in fully vaccinated persons. These data indicate that authorized vaccines protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19, even with increased community transmission of the newly predominant Delta variant (2).