19 Nov. 2021 – Two top U.S. health officials say a growing number of fully vaccinated people who did not receive a booster shot are hospitalized with COVID-19 breakthrough cases.
“What we’re now starting to see is an increase in hospitalizations among people who have been vaccinated but have not received a boost,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday in said an interview with NBC News. “It’s a significant proportion, but not the majority by any means.”
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, speaks at a White House news briefing, noted that many of the vaccinated people who arrive in emergency rooms are older than 65. Vaccine efficacy is declining for that age group, which was among the first to be vaccinated, she said.
Walensky and Fauci both stressed that booster shots help keep people – especially the elderly – out of the hospital.
Fauci, referring to data from Israel, said booster shots help prevent people from becoming seriously ill. One such study reported a twenty-fold decrease in serious illness among people older than 60 who received booster injections.
“This is where we come back to the importance of getting a boost,” Fauci said. “It will dramatically reduce the likelihood that if you do get infected with a breakthrough infection, you will end up in the hospital.”
Walensky cited research on long-term care facilities from the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network that compared COVID rates between people who were fully vaccinated and those who received extra doses.
“The disease rate is noticeably lower for those who have received their booster shot, which shows that our boosters work,” she said. “We want to reinforce the importance of eligible people now getting a boost, especially those who are at greatest risk for serious illnesses.” But the unvaccinated are still the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
“Studies show that those who are not vaccinated are still more likely to become infected, more likely to be in the hospital, and more likely to have serious complications from Covid-19,” Walensky said.
Walensky said the seven-day daily average of cases was about 83,600 cases per day and the seven-day average of hospital admissions was about 5,300 per day. The seven-day average daily deaths were about 1,000 per day.