Unvaccinated People 20 Times More Likely to Die From COVID: Texas Study

Carolyn Crist

November 09, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

During the month of September, Texans who weren't vaccinated against COVID-19 were 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 and related complications than those who were fully vaccinated, according to a new study from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The data also showed that unvaccinated people were 13 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than people who were fully vaccinated.

"This analysis quantifies what we've known for months," Jennifer Shuford, MD, the state's chief epidemiologist, told The Dallas Morning News .

"The COVID-19 vaccines are doing an excellent job of protecting people from getting sick and from dying from COVID-19," she said. "Vaccination remains the best way to keep yourself and the people close to you safe from this deadly disease."

As part of the study, researchers analyzed electronic lab reports, death certificates, and state immunization records, with a particular focus on September when the contagious Delta variant surged across Texas. The research marks the state's first statistical analysis of COVID-19 vaccinations in Texas and the effects, the newspaper reported.

The protective effect of vaccination was most noticeable among younger groups. During September, the risk of COVID-19 death was 23 times higher in unvaccinated people in their 30s and 55 times higher for unvaccinated people in their 40s.

In addition, there were fewer than 10 COVID-19 deaths in September among fully vaccinated people between ages 18-29, as compared with 339 deaths among unvaccinated people in the same age group.

Then, looking at a longer time period — from Jan. 15 to Oct. 1 — the researchers found that unvaccinated people were 45 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people. The protective effect of vaccination against infection was strong across all adult age groups but greatest among ages 12-17.

"All authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting people from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19, including those infected with Delta and other known variants," the study authors wrote. "Real world data from Texas clearly shows these benefits."

About 15.6 million people in Texas have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in a state of about 29 million residents, according to state data. About 66% of the population has received at least one dose, while 58% is fully vaccinated

Sources:

Texas Department of State Health Services: "COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by Vaccination Status."

The Dallas Morning News: "Unvaccinated people 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated, new Texas data shows."

Texas Department of State Health Services: "COVID-19 Vaccination in Texas."

Census.gov.

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