Infectious Disease

COVID-19 vaccines continue to protect against severe illness, hospitalization

March 18, 2022

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COVID-19 vaccines remain effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death among US adults, according to two studies published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In light of the data, the CDC released a statement reaffirming its recommendation that everyone aged 5 years and older remain up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including a booster dose for eligible patients.

COVID-19 vaccines remain effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death among US adults. Source: Adobe Stock.

From March 2021 to January, the messenger RNA vaccines were 90% (95% CI, 88-91) effective against COVID-19-associated invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) or death, according to a case-control study of adults who were hospitalized at 21 US medical centers.

Mark W TenfordeMD, PhD, a medical officer at the CDC, and colleagues also reported that mRNA vaccine effectiveness was 91% (95% CI, 89-91) against IMV only and 88% (95% CI, 85-90) against in-hospital death only during the study period . The effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines increased to 94% (95% CI, 91-96) among adults who received three doses.

“COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against severe COVID-19 resulting in respiratory failure or in-hospital death,” Tenforde and colleagues wrote.

In a separate study, the CDC reported that adults who were vaccinated and boosted had a significantly lower risk for hospitalization with COVID-19.

The analysis included data from 99 counties across 14 states. Hospitalization rates increased for all adults during the surge in omicron cases, according to Christopher A Taylor, PhD, an epidemiologist at the CDC, and colleagues. COVID-19-related hospitalization rates peaked at 38.4 per 100,000 adults during the o micron-predominant period, compared with 15.5 per 100,000 adults during delta predominance. However, hospitalization rates were 12 times higher among unvaccinated adults compared with adults who received a primary series and booster dose, the researchers reported. Moreover, cases were four times higher among unvaccinated adults compared with vaccinated adults who did not receive a booster.

The researchers also found that hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic Black adults were nearly four times higher than the rates among non-Hispanic white adults. This higher hospitalization rate “might be due, in part” to a lower vaccination rate among non-Hispanic Black adults, according to Taylor and colleagues. The prevalence of COVID-19 vaccination (39.6% vs 47.3%) and booster shots (43.9% vs 54.5%) was lower among non-Hispanic Black adults compared with white adults.

“Implementing strategies that result in the equitable receipt of COVID-19 vaccinations, through building vaccine confidence, raising awareness of the benefits of vaccination and removing barriers to vaccination access among persons with disproportionately higher hospitalization rates from COVID-19, including Black adults, is an urgent public health priority,” the researchers wrote.

References:

Taylor CA, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7112e2external icon.

Tenforde MW, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022; doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7112e1external icon.

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