State of the Facts
Data from federal, state, and local health agencies show COVID-19 case, hospitalization, and death rates are much lower for vaccinated Americans than they are for the unvaccinated.
The first week of December 2021, when Omicron was first detected in the US, unvaccinated adults were nearly 25 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated adults. While Omicron caused a big spike in COVID-19 cases, vaccinated people continued to be less likely to be hospitalized than the unvaccinated.
In King County, Wash., which includes Seattle, unvaccinated people were 13 times more likely to be hospitalized for coronavirus since December than people who were fully vaccinated.
New York City was one of the first areas in the US to get hit with Omicron. During the week ending January 15, 0.6% of all unvaccinated people were hospitalized with COVID-19 , compared with 0.02% of all vaccinated people.
These two areas have some of the most up-to-date data that illustrates the differences in susceptibility and severity of coronavirus based on vaccination status. But other state and local health agencies as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provide data that shows vaccine effectiveness.
As of January 26, 210 million Americans, or 64% of the population, were considered fully vaccinated after completing the initial series of COVID-19 shots. Twenty-six percent of Americans had received a booster dose.
CDC data compiled from hospitals in 12 states shows that, in the week before Christmas, unvaccinated people ages 50 to 64 were 32 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people in the age range who got a booster shot. They were eight times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people without a booster.
Unvaccinated people 65 and older were about 50 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who were fully vaccinated and received a booster.
Georgia and North Dakota are two states publishing recent data on hospitalizations for people who have received a booster shot.
These comparisons do not account for age, so they don’t directly show the effectiveness of boosters. But the available data suggests vaccinated people are hospitalized at lower rates than unvaccinated people, just like before the Omicron wave.
In the first week of December, the combination of Georgia's unvaccinated population and those receiving only one dose of the vaccine were 10 times more likely to be in a hospital with COVID-19 than the boosted population.
Georgia counts anyone in a hospital who tests positive for COVID-19 as a COVID-19 hospitalization.
Hospitalization rates in the state increased for everyone regardless of vaccination status during the Omicron wave. But the gap between the boosted population and the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated remained.
As of mid-January, the weekly hospitalization rate for Georgia’s booster group was a third of the rate for the combined unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated population. As of January 31, 48% of Georgians were not fully vaccinated, while 17% had received a booster.
During the same period in North Dakota, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people were about twice as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with the vaccinated. The hospitalization gap was three times greater for those with boosters.
Several other states published data on hospitalizations through mid-January. They all show vaccinated Americans at much lower risk.
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