Vaccination Still Over 90% Effective at Preventing Covid Death — Especially with Boosters

Despite claims about vaccines ‘not working,’ they consistently deliver on their most important job: preventing death

Tara Haelle
Elemental
Published in
5 min readFeb 1, 2022

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Photo: CDC / Unsplash

Vaccination against Covid remains the best way to reduce your likelihood of dying from the disease at any age, though it’s particularly important for older adults. During both delta and omicron, vaccination, especially for those who have gotten their booster, substantially reduces the risk of going to the ER or urgent care clinic, being hospitalized for Covid, or dying from Covid, according to new research from the CDC.

Below I’ve summarized the findings of three key studies published in the January 28 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. These reports had been released piecemeal prior to January 28, but combining their findings together paints an optimistic picture of how important Covid vaccination remains in protecting people from the worst outcomes of the disease.

Booster doses reduced delta hospitalization risk

The first of the studies published in the report assessed the difference a booster dose, or a third dose in immune-compromised people, made in reducing the likelihood of hospitalization from a Covid infection.

The researchers used what’s called a “test-negative” design to estimate the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine in preventing hospitalization. In test-negative design studies, the entire population is hospitalized adults, some for Covid-19 and some for other reasons. Then the researchers look at how many of those hospitalized were unvaccinated, vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or vaccinated with three mRNA vaccine doses. (Vaccination with Johnson & Johnson was not included in the study.) Using this data, they can estimate how well the vaccines reduced the risk of hospitalization from Covid-19.

The population included 1,875 adults without immune-compromising conditions and 1,077 adults who did have immuno-compromising conditions, such as being a transplant patient, having a blood cancer like leukemia or lymphoma, being HIV-positive, taking immune suppressants, or having…

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Tara Haelle
Elemental

Tara Haelle is a science journalist, public speaker, and author of Vaccination Investigation and The Informed Parent. Follow her at @tarahaelle.