President Joe Biden last December warned of a “winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated.”
But new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted a trend that would suggest that the greater share of COVID-19 deaths this winter will be among the vaccinated and boosted.
What are the details?
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a nonprofit that focuses on health care issues affecting the nation, issued a report Wednesday analyzing recent CDC data — data that excludes the partially vaccinated.
According to the KFF report, the “share of COVID-19 deaths among those who are vaccinated has risen.”
“In fall 2021, about 3 in 10 adults dying of COVID-19 were vaccinated or boosted. But by January 2022, as we showed in an analysis posted on the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, about 4 in 10 deaths were vaccinated or boosted. By April 2022, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show that about 6 in 10 adults dying of COVID-19 were vaccinated or boosted,” said the report.
This decrease in the share of deaths from the unvaccinated crowd and the increase in the share of deaths from the vaccinated continued into the summer.
In August, the CDC found that the unvaccinated accounted for 42% of COVID-19 deaths. Alternatively, individuals who had received the primary series of vaccines accounted for 22% of deaths, and those who received the primary series plus one or more booster accounted for 36% of deaths. Taken together, the vaccinated and boosted represented a 58% share of COVID-19 virus deaths in August.
Accounting for the change
On Nov. 23, Cynthia Cox, vice president at the KFF, told the Washington Post that this trend has been driven in particular by three factors: high-risk individuals being more likely to have received the shots; vaccines losing their potency over time; and more Americans having received the vaccines.
The KFF reported that another factor at play is “changes in immunity among the unvaccinated.”
The U.K. Health Security Agency noted in a March vaccine surveillance report that “people who have never been vaccinated are more likely to have caught COVID-19” previously. “This gives them some natural immunity to the virus which may have contributed to a lower case rate in the past few weeks.”
In addition, the report also suggested that new variants coupled with a drop in masking might lead to more deaths among vaccinated people.
Notwithstanding the reasons behind the trend, Cox concluded, “We can no longer say this a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Staying the course
Fox News Digital underscored how outgoing White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical experts had previously admitted that COVID-19 vaccines do not protect “overly well” against infection.
Fauci, who is vaccinated and boosted but nevertheless caught COVID-19, stated in July that vaccines “don’t protect overly well, as it were, against infection” but “protect quite well against severe disease leading to hospitalization and death.”
On Nov. 22, Fauci once again implored people in what might have been his last address from the White House podium to “get your updated COVID 19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family, and your community.”