January 18, 2022

Kirksville, MO 1/18/22 – Just more than one year after the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S., data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show the vaccines are delivering protection against severe infections and offering protection against getting asymptomatic infections.

The CDC gathers data on cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccine status. Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted are escaping the worst cases of the virus.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are like the vaccines we have for other illness and disease, including pneumonia, tetanus, polio, hepatitis A and B, rubella, measles, mumps, chickenpox, diphtheria, hib, rotavirus, whooping cough, and the seasonal ‘flu,” said Jim LeBaron, Adair County Health Department administrator. “Vaccines don’t completely prevent disease, but they reduce the severity of them if contracted. The CDC data tracking shows that the COVID-19 vaccines are delivering the same protections.”

Data gathered from Jan. 30, 2021, through the end of November 2021 and published by the CDC Jan. 13, 2022, indicates that monthly rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are 13 times higher for unvaccinated adults ages 18 and older than for fully vaccinated adults. Broken down by age group, the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 is:

  • 10 times higher in unvaccinated adolescents ages 12-17 years old;
  • 17 times higher in unvaccinated adults ages 18-49 years old;
  • 16 times higher in unvaccinated adults ages 50-64 years old; and,
  • 12 times higher in unvaccinated adults ages 65 and older.

The CDC also tracks data on testing positive for COVID-19 and deaths according to vaccine status. In October 2021, as the peak number of Delta variant cases were beginning to decline, unvaccinated people were five times more likely to test positive than fully vaccinated people, and 10 times more likely than those fully vaccinated and boosted.

When they examined data regarding deaths during the same month, unvaccinated people were 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19 complications than fully vaccinated people and 20 times more likely to die than those fully vaccinated and boosted.

Moreover, a study published by the CDC in October 2021 showed that unvaccinated people who had COVID-19 were more than five times more likely to be reinfected than fully vaccinated people who had not contracted the disease. This indicates that vaccines boost immunity to the virus to much higher levels than just having antibodies from a previous infection.

In Adair County, among the 761 cases confirmed by the Adair County Health Department from Dec. 16, 2021, through Jan. 14, 2022, 238 were breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated, although not necessarily boosted, residents. That is 31% of all confirmed cases.

Of the 34 deaths among Adair County residents since January 1, 2021, after vaccines started becoming more widely available, four had received at least one dose of the vaccine. That means 88% of deaths were of unvaccinated individuals.

Since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. in December 2020, the CDC has also tracked adverse events related to all three vaccines currently available. Among the 209 million fully vaccinated people and 79.7 million boosted, adverse effects, including anaphylaxis, blood clots, cardiac inflammation, nerve damage, and death are extremely rare.

“The COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective, not just in clinical trials, but in real time,” LeBaron said. “That’s why the Adair County Health Department supports the CDC’s recommendations that children ages five through nine get a pediatric vaccine dose, that those ages 10 and older get fully vaccinated, and those ages 16 and older get boosted.”

Adult vaccination clinics are scheduled at the Adair County Health Department for Tuesdays in January and pediatric vaccination clinics are scheduled for Thursdays in the month. There is one more adult clinic this month, schedule for Jan. 25 from 2-4 p.m. Remaining pediatric clinics this month are from 3-5 p.m., Jan. 20 and 27. Residents should call the Health Department at 660-665-8491 to schedule an appointment.