A study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people across the U.S. who were not fully vaccinated this spring and summer were 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 — and over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized — than those who were fully inoculated.
"During April 4-July 17, a total of 569,142 (92%) COVID-19 cases, 34,972 (92%) hospitalizations, and 6,132 (91%) COVID-19-associated deaths were reported among persons not fully vaccinated, and 46,312 (8%) cases, 2,976 (8%) hospitalizations, and 616 (9%) deaths were reported among fully vaccinated persons" in the 13 states examined as part of the new study, according to the CDC.
In Alabama, Utah, Colorado, and the 10 other states included in the analysis, "rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were substantially higher in persons not fully vaccinated compared with those in fully vaccinated persons," the CDC summarized, findings that underscore the effectiveness of the available coronavirus vaccines in preventing serious illness and fatalities.
Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said during a media briefing Friday that the new research "offers further evidence of the power of vaccination."
"Looking at cases over the past two months when the Delta variant was the predominant variant circulating in this country, those who were unvaccinated were about four and a half times more likely to get COVID-19, over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die from the disease," said Walensky. "As the president reiterated yesterday, and as we have shown study after study, vaccination works."
"The bottom line is this: We have the scientific tools we need to turn the corner on this pandemic," she continued. "Vaccination works and will protect us from the severe complications of COVID-19."
The new CDC study was released a day after President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring the vast majority of federal workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a step that public health experts applauded. The president also announced new rules that would compel businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate that their workers either get vaccinated or face weekly COVID-19 testing.
"The Department of Labor will require employers with 100 or more workers to give those workers paid time off to get vaccinated," Biden said in a speech on Thursday. "No one should lose pay in order to get vaccinated or take a loved one to get vaccinated."
According to the latest CDC data, just over 53% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and nearly 63% of Americans have received at least one dose.
As the Washington Post reported last month, policy experts and survey results have suggested that the lack of paid sick leave in the U.S. is "playing a role in deterring low-wage workers from taking time off to get vaccinated."
"Workers who do not get paid time off to get the shot or deal with potential side effects are less likely to get the vaccine, research by a Kaiser Family Foundation study shows," the Post noted. "Three vaccine clinic representatives said in interviews that the time-off issue was one of a handful they commonly hear from vaccine hesitant people."