Vaccines don’t stop Covid hospitalizations or deaths
They never have, even at peak effectiveness. A huge US database offers proof
Even at the peak of their protection earlier in 2021, Covid vaccines barely reduced the risk of hospitalizations in vaccinated people who had “breakthrough” infections, new data show.
Vaccinated people in a study published Tuesday had a nearly 1 in 200 chance of of requiring hospitalization for Covid in the first six months after being “fully vaccinated.”
That stunning risk came even though the median age of people in the study was only 51, and most were relatively healthy.
Deaths, ventilator use, and other severe outcomes also occurred regularly in vaccinated people. The data comes from a study of about 600,000 vaccinated Americans seen at over 100 academic medical centers.
The study was published online Dec. 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association - JAMA Internal Medicine.
The data in the study also make clear how quickly vaccine protection fades after the second dose - and that the Centers for Disease Control hugely understated the number of vaccinated people hospitalized for Covid earlier this year.
Of the 600,000 fully vaccinated people, about 2,800 required inpatient hospitalization for Covid in the first six months after “full vaccination.” That period starts 14 days after the second dose of mRNA vaccines, when vaccine protection should be at peak.
Almost 3 percent of fully vaccinated people, or 1 in 35, were infected over the first six months, with infection rates accelerating sharply at the end of the study.
In all, 148 of the 600,000 vaccinated people had what the study’s authors called “serious” outcomes from Covid, including ventilation or death, in the first six months after full vaccination.
The study does not reveal how many people were infected or hospitalized for Covid after the first dose or less than two weeks after the second, when rates of infection, hospitalization, and death are known to be even higher.
The stunning figures are buried in a supplemental table of the study, which focused on the post-vaccination risk to a small group of people who have serious immune complications. The paper’s researchers compared infection, hospitalization, and death rates in about 35,000 immune-compromised people with about 570,000 who did not.
Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers found immune-compromised people had only a slight extra risk of SARS-Cov-2 infection, though they had about three times the risk of dying from Covid as people without immune disorders.
But by far the most interesting figures in the study are contained in a single small table in an appendix.
It compares the outcomes of the roughly 18,000 vaccinated and infected people seem at the medical centers with a much larger group of Covid patients - about 2.5 million people - who were not vaccinated and visited the same centers at any point during the epidemic.
About 84 percent of the vaccinated patients were seen as outpatients, while 16 percent required hospitalization.
In comparison, about 77 percent of unvaccinated patients were seen as outpatients, while 23 percent were hospitalized.
Almost 1 percent of the vaccinated patients had serious outcomes, including death, compared to just over 2 percent of the unvaccinated patients.
The study contained no information about post-vaccine side effects.
The findings run contrary to the endlessly repeated promises of Covid vaccine advocates that even if vaccines fail to prevent infection, they are necessary to keep hospitals from being overrun. They also help bring American hospitalization data - which is both fragmented and hopelessly politicized in a desperate effort to prove vaccine efficacy - more in line with figures from the United Kingdom and other countries.