CDC Data Reveals How Effective COVID Boosters Are Against Hospitalizations

For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted data on its website that compares rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations for people who have had the booster jab, two jabs and no vaccine at all.

The data, which was posted on Thursday, only includes the 50-to-64-year-old and the 65-years-and-above age groups, as not enough young people have had their boosters for a long enough time to be able to measure their responses to the disease significantly yet.

The time period the data was collected in was from June to December 2021, before the highly contagious and now dominant Omicron variant was known to be in the United States. The Delta variant was prominent at that time.

On December 4, 2021, for the 50-64 age group, hospitalizations were at their highest rate per 100,000 people in those six months measured, at 98.3 for the unvaccinated group, according to the CDC data. In comparison, the number was 4.4 for those who had had two shots, and 1.5 for those who had a booster shot.

For the 65 and older age group, the peak hospitalization rate fell on December 11, with 275.3 in every 100,000 people being admitted to the hospital. In contrast, the rate for those who had two shots was 27.1 and 5.1 for those who had the booster jab.

In December, the monthly rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations were 44 times higher in unvaccinated adults aged between 50 and 64 years, compared with adults in the same age group who had a booster, the CDC said. This number was 49 times higher in unvaccinated adults aged 65 of older, the health agency added.

Although the vaccines have shown to be remarkably effective at stopping hospitalization, severe COVID-19 and deaths from the disease, they have not been able to stop transmission of the virus, especially the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Dr. Corey Casper, the chief executive officer of the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), told Newsweek in an interview published on Thursday that the current COVID vaccines are "not good enough" to fully end the pandemic, because they do not stop transmission of the coronavirus.

However, a CDC study published Wednesday showed that while prior COVID infection offers some protection against the disease, vaccination is still the best method to avoid getting the coronavirus. The study looked at data from four groups of adults aged 18 and older: unvaccinated people with no previously confirmed COVID infection, vaccinated people with no previously confirmed COVID infection, unvaccinated people with a previously confirmed COVID infection and vaccinated people with a previously confirmed COVID infection.

Those who were unvaccinated and had no prior infection had the highest rate of contraction and hospitalization, according to the study.

Early studies have shown that two shots of mRNA vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine seem to be less effective against the Omicron variant, compared with previous variants of the virus. Current research has indicated that vaccines without boosters offer about 30 to 40 percent protection against Omicron infection and around 70 percent protection against hospitalization. However, early research suggests that a third dose boosts effectiveness against infection to around 75 percent and 88 percent for severe disease.

Covid vaccine in Connecticut
A medical worker prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine booster to be given to children 12-15 years old at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, on January 6, 2022. For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted data on its website that compares rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations for people who have had the booster jab, two jabs and no vaccine at all. Joseph Prezioso/Getty