In Alabama, 15 in Every 16 COVID Deaths Are Among the Unvaccinated

Officials in Alabama have said that almost all of those who died of COVID-19 in the state between April 1 and August 18 were not fully vaccinated, as they continued to urge people to protect themselves and others against the virus.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) said that over the 5-month period, 89.8 percent of Alabama's COVID-19 cases and 94.1 percent of Alabama's COVID-19 deaths were from people who were unvaccinated.

A spokesperson for ADPH confirmed to Newsweek that unvaccinated cases include those who had not received any dose, as well people who were only partially vaccinated, such as those who initiated a vaccine series but did not complete it or were within 14 days after completion.

Posting alongside a graphic representation of the data, Alabama Public Health wrote on Facebook on Monday: "Data as of August 18, 2021 shows that 89.8% of Alabama's COVID-19 cases and 94.1% of Alabama's COVID-19 deaths were in unvaccinated Alabamians. Current data shows that fully vaccinated persons who get COVID-19 are much less likely to get severely ill, go to the hospital, or die from COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines are working."

The data also showed that out of 118,612 COVID cases between April and August, 12,099 people (10.2 percent) were breakthrough cases from fully vaccinated people. ADPH said that 1,065,789 people have been fully vaccinated in that time period, meaning only 1.1 percent went on to contract COVID.

Alabama Public Health COVID Data
Alabama Public Health graphic showing proportion of breakthrough COVID cases among the fully vaccinated. Alabama Department of Public Health

There have been 4,822 COVID deaths in Alabama so far in 2021, with 12,000 in total. Alabama is listed as the worst state in the entire country in terms of percentage of population who have been fully vaccinated, according to the Beckers Hospital Review, with just 36 percent having received both doses as of August 23.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said that there has been an increase in people getting vaccinated in Alabama recently.

Harris told WBRC that the state is tied in 44th place in terms of offering the first dose and is currently averaging around 14,000 and 16,000 shots per day, compared to around four to five thousand shots per day six weeks ago.

On August 2, Harris said that of the 2,379 COVID-19 deaths reported in Alabama from January 19 to June 30, 99 percent occurred in unvaccinated people.

Following the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 16 and over, the ADPH said that not enough Alabamians "realize the seriousness of infection" with COVID while continuing to urge people to get their shots.

Alabama vaccine deaths
(File photo) A member of the dialysis prepares to treat a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at a hospital on May 1, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland Win McNamee/Getty Images

The ADPH reminded people that Moderna and Johnson and Johnson also offer "safe and effective" vaccines against the virus.

"We have high levels of disease transmission in every county throughout the state. COVID-19 vaccination will help keep our communities safe and our children in school," Harris said in a statement.

Announcing the FDA approval of Pfizer, acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said: "While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated.

"Today's milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S."

This graphic, provided by Statista, shows the COVID vaccination rates of countries across the world as of August 18.

Vaccination rates across the world

Update 8/25/21 3:52 a.m. ET: This story has been updated to include further comment from the Alabama Department of Public Health.