CDC finds unvaccinated people 11 times more likely to die of Covid

No matter which vaccine people received, they were all far better protected from the pandemic

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Monday 18 October 2021 21:39 BST
Employees protest vaccine mandate

New CDC data confirms what public health officials have long been urging: getting vaccinated, no matter which vaccine, makes a massive difference when it comes to surviving Covid.

As of August, unvaccinated people were more than six times more likely to test positive for coronavirus, and more than 11 times more likely to die of the disease, an Axios analysis of CDC data has found.

The data encompases 16 jurisdictions: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York City, Seattle/King County, Washington, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Among the leading vaccines in the US, those who received the Moderna jab were the best protected, while those who got the Johnson & Johnson were the least, though all the vaccines made one substantially better protected than nothing.

While the study points to encouraging results from vaccines, America has struggled to keep on convincing people to get the vaccine. Around 56 per cent of Americans are fully vaccinated, ranking behind wealthy peer nations like South Korea, Canada, Japan, France, Brazil, the UK, and Germany.

The number of average daily doses of the vaccine being given has been declining throughout the year, from a peak seven-day average of 3.38 million doses, down to a weekly average of just over 843,000 currently, though the rate began climbing again in July, as it became clear the Delta variant would continue ravaging the country.

Last week, a Food and Drug Administration panel recommended a second dose of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use as a “booster” in older people and vulnerable young people, following previous approvals of the Pfizer and Moderna shots for supplementary use in high-risk populations.

The vaccine push could get further momentum from a new Biden administration rule, proposed in September, requiring companies that employ more than 100 people to require personnel be vaccinated or regularly Covid tested.

The policy has been submitted for legal consideration, and could be finalised this week, impacting as many as 80 million workers. Multiple Republican-led states have challenged the mandate, and a group of GOP secretaries of state sent a letter to the president blasting the proposal as “disastrous and counterproductive”.

Disparities in vaccination continue between racial groups, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation, with white people still more likely to have received a Covid vaccine than Black or Hispanic people.

Certain professions are pushing back against vaccination, too. Police, for example, have resisted getting the jab in many places, despite the urging of public health officials. Coronavirus, in fact, was the leading cause of death for police officers in 2020 and 2021, killing five times more people than gunfire. Still, police unions in places like Chicago have resisted new mandates.

Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-disease expert, has said the opposition to the vaccine “doesn’t make any sense” for public-facing government officials like police officers.

“I’m not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances right now,” he told The Washington Post.

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