It is incredibly rare for fully vaccinated Americans to contract a severe case of COVID-19 and die from the disease, new federal figures show.
Americans who have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have a less than one in 13,000 chance of a severe breakthrough case, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More than 99 percent of Covid hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. since January 2021 have occurred in unvaccinated people.
Those patients who do require hospital care due to a breakthrough case are likely to be older or to suffer from underlying medical conditions, the CDC data suggest.
The data demonstrate how well vaccines continue to work, even against the Delta variant, at preventing serious illness.
The overwhelming majority of Covid hospitalizations and deaths in 2021 have occurred in unvaccinated Americans, a DailyMail.com analysis of federal data shows
As the Delta surge continues, vaccination remains the best available protection against severe Covid disease. Pictured: A 17-year-old receives his first Pfizer dose at a back-to-school vaccination clinic in Los Angeles, California, August 2021
More than 177 million Americans have been fully vaccinated as of September 9.
This number includes about 63 percent of all eligible Americans (over age 12), 65 percent of adults, and 82 percent of seniors.
The Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines have all proven incredibly effective at protecting against severe Covid disease – both in clinical trials and in the real world.
As a result, the vast majority of Covid patients filling up emergency rooms and intensive care units across the country are unvaccinated.
New data from the CDC reinforce the vaccines’ incredible ability to protect against severe Covid cases.
As of August 30, a total of 12,908 Americans have been hospitalized or died with Covid after being fully vaccinated.
About 173 million Americans had been fully vaccinated by that date – meaning the chance of a severe breakthrough case is less than one in 13,000.
Among those with severe breakthrough cases, 10,471 had been hospitalized – though about 2,400 of those hospitalizations were asymptomatic or not Covid-related.
Similarly, 2,437 Americans have died after contracting a breakthrough infection – but about 500 of those deaths were asymptomatic or not directly caused by COVID-19.
In total, about 1.7 million Americans have been hospitalized with the virus since January 1, 2021 and 281,000 have died, according to federal data.
That means, for both hospitalizations and deaths, more than 99 percent of those impacted by COVID-19 in 2021 have been unvaccinated.
A preprint study by CDC researchers, shared online on August 31, suggests that these severe breakthrough cases tend to occur in older adults.
The CDC researchers utilized data from COVID-NET, the agency’s hospitalization surveillance network.
This dataset included Covid hospitalizations from 99 counties in 14 states, covering about ten percent of the U.S. population.
From January 1 to June 30, 2021, 87.6 percent of hospitalized Covid patients in this dataset were entirely unvaccinated while 9.4 percent were partially vaccinated.
Just three percent of the patients were fully vaccinated.
Older adults and those with underlying medical conditions are more at risk of severe breakthrough cases. Pictured: A teenager gets vaccinated at a clinic in Los Angeles, California, August 2021
Among older patients (over age 65), a greater share of hospitalized patients were fully vaccinated: 32 percent.
The median age for these breakthrough case patients was 73 – compared to a median age of 59 for unvaccinated patients.
Breakthrough case patients were also likely to have weakened immune systems – due to an organ transplant or cancer.
These vaccinated patients were likely to suffer from three or more underlying medical conditions, such as obesity, gastrointestinal diseases, and neurological conditions.
While vaccinated and unvaccinated patients had similar likelihoods of requiring intensive care, vaccinated patients tended to have shorter hospital stays – reflecting their immune system’s heightened ability to fight off the virus.
These CDC data demonstrate how well the vaccines protect against severe Covid cases.
It’s important to note, however, that breakthrough cases have become more frequent during the Delta variant surge.
While the risk of a severe case has not notably increased, Americans are now more likely to get a mild or asymptomatic breakthrough infection.
But when the majority of people in a community are vaccinated, it’s harder for the virus to spread – both keeping case numbers lower and alleviating the burden that Covid patients place on local hospitals.
For states and counties with lower vaccination rates, the consequences for hospitals have been dire.
In Idaho, for example, the state public health agency instituted ‘crisis standards of care’ for some struggling rural hospitals with limited staff and medical equipment.
The ‘crisis standards of care’ allow these hospitals to prioritize patients who are more likely to survive, while providing less care for others.
In addition, vaccination protects people who are not yet able to get their shots.
The majority of Covid cases in children are currently occurring in states with lower vaccination rates – where parents pass the infection to their kids.