The claim: Deaths among COVID-19 vaccinated people are significantly higher compared to unvaccinated population
New data this week have shown that fully vaccinated adults 65 or older are 94% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than their peers – and 64% less likely if they have received only one dose of mRNA vaccine.
These findings are the first major, real-world findings that confirm Pfizer and Modern’s clinical trial data (and early reports from Israel), said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study.
However, vaccination, although very effective, does not completely prevent coronavirus in some people. In the last few weeks, states across the United States have reported cases of COVID-1
On social media, a small number of deaths among this group has led to comparisons with the COVID-19 death rate among the general population.
“The death rate for fully vaccinated people is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than the unvaccinated,” Instagram user Ian Smith claims in a April 25 post.
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Smith’s post includes a screenshot of an April 24 tweet claiming that the CDC has reported “7,157 fully vaccinated Americans have contracted COVID-19, 88 have died …”
As of April 20, the CDC has actually reported a total of 7,157 cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people and 88 deaths.
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But public health experts say it is misleading to calculate a death rate from these figures and compare it with the general population.
USA TODAY has reached out to Smith for comment.
Data mostly reflect severe COVID-19 cases
To calculate an exact death rate, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases among vaccinated individuals should be known. But that number is not, said Lisa Miller, an epidemiologist and clinical professor at the Colorado School of Public Health.
“We do not know because we are not out there testing everyone (vaccinated),” she told the United States TODAY.
This loophole in reporting is also recognized by the CDC, which relies on voluntary reporting from state health departments.
“Not all real-world breakthrough cases will be identified due to lack of testing. This is especially true in the case of asymptomatic or mild disease, ”the agency said, stressing that data only serve as a“ snapshot ”to help identify patterns … among vaccine breakthrough cases. ”
Without a fair number of asymptomatic and mild cases, this snapshot is skewed toward severe COVID-19 cases, said Kristin Nelson, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.
Infected vaccinated people with severe symptoms are likely to seek medical attention, be hospitalized or die. These are the cases that have been noticed and investigated by state health departments that later reach the CDC, both Nelson and Miller told the United States TODAY.
It is important to note that the CDC has said that 11 of the 88 deaths among COVID-19-infected, fully vaccinated humans were “asymptomatic or unrelated to COVID-19.”
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The number of vaccine breakthrough infections is also quite small compared to the more than 100 million American adults who have been fully vaccinated per year. April 30th.
Vaccinated people are the most vulnerable
The most obvious reason to avoid comparing the vaccinated and non-vaccinated deaths is types of people in each group.
Each state has prioritized the people most at risk, so the group of people vaccinated is strongly skewed toward those whose age and medical history make them prone to severe cases of COVID-19 and death because of it. So when the expected breakthrough cases occur, it is not surprising that some deaths would result.
Let us e.g. Look at age.
Older adults have the highest risk of developing serious illness that requires hospitalization and death, with eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported among adults aged 65 and over, according to the CDC. And 37% of the people vaccinated so far are in that age group, even though people 65 and older are only 16% of the total population.
So the vaccinated are a pool of people who are predisposed to more serious cases.
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Among those reported over 7,000 breakthrough infections, nearly 46% are associated with people over 60 years of age. We do not know the ages of those who died after breakthrough infections because the CDC has not released this data.
Our rating: False
We assess the claim that the mortality from COVID-19 among fully vaccinated individuals is significantly higher than the unvaccinated FALSE, based on our research. Experts say that because the total number of vaccine breakthrough infections is unknown, and voluntary reporting to the CDC skews toward more severe COVID-19 cases, it is not possible to directly deduce an exact death rate. And regardless, any comparison between vaccinated and non-vaccinated is strongly skewed by the fact that the vaccinated group currently has a much higher proportion of older adults who are most at risk.
Our sources for fact checking:
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 28, fully vaccinated adults 65 and older are 94% less likely to be admitted with COVID-19
USA TODAY, April 18, a warning: COVID-19 infection after vaccination is rare, but breakthroughs can occur. It happened to this man.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opened April 29, COVID-19 Breakthrough Case Studies and Reporting
Lisa Miller, April 29, phone interview
Kristin Nelson, April 29, telephone interview
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, access April 30, trends in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States reported to the CDC, by state / territory
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, access to COVID-19 vaccinations in the US on April 30
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 16, Elderly Adults
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Feb. 18, risk of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death by age group
Tara Kirk Sell, April 27, telephone interview
USA TODAY, April 30, 100 million Americans have received two doses or one J&J shot; USA to restrict flights from India: Live COVID-19 updates
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This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Fact check: misleading allegation of death in fully vaccinated people