Feb. 3, 2022 -- Americans who have received a COVID-19 booster shot are 97 times less likely to die from the coronavirus than those who aren’t vaccinated, according to a new update from the CDC.
In addition, fully vaccinated Americans – meaning those with up to two doses, but no booster -- are 14 times less likely to die from COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.
“These data confirm that vaccination and boosting continues to protect against severe illness and hospitalization, even during the Omicron surge,” Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC, said during a briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team.
“If you are not up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations, you have not optimized your protection against severe disease and death, and you should get vaccinated and boosted if you are eligible,” she said.
Walensky presented the latest numbers on Wednesday based on reports from 25 jurisdictions in early December. The number of average weekly deaths for those who were unvaccinated was 9.7 per 100,000 people, as compared with .7 of those who were vaccinated and .1 of those who had received a booster.
“The data are really stunningly obvious why a booster is really very important,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the briefing.
Fauci also encouraged vaccination for those who are pregnant and couples who may want to conceive in the near feature. He highlighted two recent studies that found vaccination in either partner didn’t affect fertility, including in vitro fertilization.
Meanwhile, fertility fell temporarily among men who were infected with the coronavirus. Couples were 18% less likely to conceive if the male partner had contracted the coronavirus within 60 days before a menstrual cycle.
“New data adds to previous studies that indicate that COVID-19 vaccination does not negatively impact fertility,” Fauci said. “Vaccination is recommended for people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners.”
About 80% of eligible Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, and 68% are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data. About 51% of those who are eligible for a booster dose have received one.
The FDA could authorize the Pfizer vaccine for children under age 5 later this month. When that happens, about 18 million children will qualify for a shot, Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, said during the briefing. The Biden administration is already working on distribution plans for the shot for young kids, he added.
“We’ll be ready to start getting shots in arms soon after FDA and CDC make their decisions,” he said.