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CDC study shows unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid

Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital where Coronavirus patients are treated in Coral Gables near Miami, on August 16, 2021.

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

Unvaccinated people are about 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 when compared to those who are fully vaccinated, according to a study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new study, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also found that the unvaccinated were nearly five times more likely to be infected with Covid than people who got the shots. The results are based on data from Los Angeles County between May 1 and July 25, the agency said.

“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 agency wrote in the study.

The data is in line with comments from federal and state health officials, who have been saying for weeks that millions of unvaccinated Americans have been putting themselves at serious risk of the delta variant, the most contagious coronavirus strain yet.

As of Monday, more than 201 million Americans, or 60.8% of the total U.S. population, have had at least one Covid shot, according to data compiled by the CDC. More than 171 million Americans, or 51.5% of the total U.S. population, are fully vaccinated, according to the agency.

President Joe Biden said Monday that “virtually all” Covid hospitalizations and deaths across the U.S. continue to be among the unvaccinated.

“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. And most importantly, their conditions are far less severe,” he said during a speech.

U.S. officials hope the Food and Drug Administration granting Pfizer and BioNTech‘s Covid vaccine full approval will persuade some unvaccinated Americans to finally get the shots.

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said if the U.S. can get through winter and get the majority of people who have not received the shots vaccinated, the nation could have some control over the virus by the spring.

“As we get into the spring, we could start getting back to a degree of normality, namely resuming the things that we were hoping we could do, restaurants, theaters, that kind of thing,” Fauci said during an interview on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

The study Tuesday was based on 43,127 infections in residents of Los Angeles County, Calif. Covid hospitalizations were defined as hospital admissions occurring within 14 days after infection, the agency said.

Among all county residents, hospitalization rates increased “exponentially” among unvaccinated, fully vaccinated, and partially vaccinated persons, with the highest rates among unvaccinated persons in late June, the agency said.

The study had limitations, the agency said.

For example, vaccination data for people who lived in the county at the time of their confirmed infection but who were vaccinated outside of California were unavailable, leading to a misclassification of their vaccination status, the agency said.

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