CDC charts show how much 2 and 3 doses of COVID vaccine protect from hospitalization

·3 min read
An illustration of the difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated graphs, with curves annotated "Unvaxxed, Fully vaxxed, and Boosted."
A graph, with annotations added by Insider, showing US hospitalization rates in November and December 2021 among those aged 50 to 64.CDC/Insider
  • CDC graphs show in detail the protection vaccines gave from hospitalization.

  • As Omicron spread in the US, hospitalization rates in December were much lower for the vaccinated.

  • Data among adults over 50 showed that a booster shot gave even stronger protection.

New charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that hospitalization rates were much lower among those who were vaccinated even as Omicron was sweeping the nation.

Late last year, as Omicron was spreading fast in the US, hospitalization rates per 100,000 rose sharply among unvaccinated adults, while rates in those who were fully vaccinated remained low.

Fully-vaccinated in this chart meant one dose of the J&J vaccine or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna.

age-adjusted rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates per 100,000 population in adults over 18 as January to December 2021, per CDC.
Annotated graph of hospitalization rates per 100,000 among those over 18 as of December 25, 2021.CDC/Insider

According to the CDC, hospitalization rates among the unvaccinated were 16 times higher in December overall.

The stats are for COVID-associated hospitalizations, which may include people for whom COVID-19 was not the primary reason for admission.

As of December 25, the rate among unvaccinated people was 78 per 100,000, compared to 4 per 100,000 among fully vaccinated people, the CDC reported.

It's not clear which variant might have been associated with these hospitalizations. By the end of December, Omicron made up 58% of all cases in the US, per Our World in Data, but Delta is thought to cause more severe disease and more hospitalizations than Omicron on average.

Data about boosters was only available for those over 50. It showed that boosters further reduced the risk of hospitalization.

Rates of COVID-19 associated hospitalization for those 50 to 64 by vaccination status from November to December 2021.
Annotated CDC chart of COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates per 100,000, as of December 25, 2021.CDC/Insider
Rates of COVID-19 associated hospitalization per 100,000 in those aged 65 and over from October to December, 2021.
Annotated CDC chart of COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates per 100,000, as of December 25, 2021.CDC/Insider

Here's the data:

  • 50 to 64 fully vaccinated: hospitalization rates were 18 times lower compared to unvaccinated in December overall. On the week of December 25, the rate of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 among unvaccinated was 72 versus 8.8 per 100,000 among the fully vaccinated.

  • 50 to 64, boosted: 46 times lower among those who got a booster in December overall, with a rate of 2.2 per 100,000 among boosted on the week of December 25.

  • 65 and over, fully vaccinated: 18 times lower than unvaccinated in December overall. On the week of December 25, the rate was 238.7 per 100,000 among the unvaccinated, versus 26.8 per 100,000 among the fully vaccinated.

  • 65 and over, boosted: 52 times lower than unvaccinated in December overall, with a rate of 4.8 per 100,000 on the week of December 25.

These data should be taken with a grain of salt.

The rates don't account for non-vaccine-related risks, Mark Jit, professor of vaccine epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told Insider in an email.

"People who get vaccinated may be more cautious about COVID in general, or perhaps getting vaccinated makes them less cautious, or they may live in states with more/less COVID risk, etc," Jit said.

But the charts are in line with data from the UK Health Safety Agency, which found that protection from a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine against hospitalization with Omicron was about 89%, waning slightly to 83% at 10 weeks, Insider's Catherine Schuster Bruce reported.

By comparison, from two to 25 weeks after the second dose, protection against Omicron hospitalization was 64%, the UKHSA said.

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