Health

Texas study: Unvaccinated people are 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the vaccinated

About two-thirds of all Texans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Unvaccinated Texans were 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 and 13 times more likely to get infected with the virus from Sept. 4 to Oct. 1, according to a study released this week by the Texas Health Department. 

The difference in health outcomes varied among age groups, as unvaccinated people in their 40s were 55 times more likely to die from COVID-19, while unvaccinated people ages 75 and older were 12 times more likely to die. 

Dr. Jennifer Shuford, Texas’s chief state epidemiologist, said that the study “quantifies what we’ve known for months.”

“The COVID-19 vaccines are doing an excellent job of protecting people from getting sick and from dying from COVID-19,” Dr. Shuford said in a statement. “Vaccination remains the best way to keep yourself and the people close to you safe from this deadly disease.”

A nurse gives a girl a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Lyman High School in Longwood on the day before classes begin for the 2021-22 school year. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A nurse gives a girl a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Lyman High School in Longwood on the day before classes begin for the 2021-22 school year. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Nearly 29,000 Texans have died from COVID-19 so far this year, and 85.5% of them were unvaccinated, while 6.8% were partially vaccinated and 7.7% were fully vaccinated. 

A wider CDC study earlier this year found that unvaccinated Americans are 10 times more likely to get hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from the delta variant. 

The state trails the nation slightly in vaccination rates, as 66.7% of all Texans ages 5 and older have received at least one dose, while 57.9% are fully vaccinated. 

FILE - A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

FILE – A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The efficacy of vaccines wanes over time, which is notable because the first Texans to receive their vaccine did so about 10 months ago. 

study published last month in the Lancet medical journal found that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine in preventing infection dropped from 88% to 47% six months after the second dose. 

Pfizer is currently seeking approval from the FDA for its third dose booster shot for all adults. The company said last month that in a trial of more than 10,000 people, the third-dose booster “restored vaccine protection against COVID-19 to the high levels achieved after the second dose,” with a vaccine efficacy of 95.6%. 

A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager at a vaccination site at a church in Long Beach, New York, on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager at a vaccination site at a church in Long Beach, New York, on Thursday, May 13, 2021. (Johnny Milano/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The FDA already granted emergency use authorization for a third dose booster to all adults who received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as well as the elderly and certain vulnerable adults who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

Cases and deaths have both dropped precipitously in Texas in recent weeks. 

The 7-day moving average for new cases was 3,201 on Nov. 9, down from a recent high of 19,711 on Sept. 14. The 7-day average for deaths, meanwhile, was at 104 on Nov. 9, down from a recent high of 308 on Sept. 26. 

Written by Paul Best

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