Unvaccinated Texans were significantly more likely to be infected by and die from COVID-19 while the Delta variant-fueled surge was at its peak, a new study finds.
The gap widens significantly when splitting the population by age group, with unvaccinated Texans in their 40s found to be 55 times as likely to die than vaccinated people of the same age.
The data highlight the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, and why health officials are pushing so hard to get as many people as possible the jab.
Researchers at the Texas Department of Health found that unvaccinated Texans (blue line) were 13 times as likely to be infected with Covid as fully vaccinated Texans (dotted red line) during the four week period from September 4 to October 1
The researchers also found that unvaccinated Texans (blue line) were 20 times as likely to die of Covid than people who had received the vaccine (dotted red line) during the Delta variant-fueled summer Covid surge
‘The COVID-19 vaccines are doing an excellent job of protecting people from getting sick and from dying from COVID-19,’ Dr. Jennifer Shuford, chief state epidemiologist, said in a statement.
‘Vaccination remains the best way to keep yourself and the people close to you safe from this deadly disease.’
The study, published by the department of Monday, reviewed the four-week period from September 4 to October 1.
It was during this time in mid-September that Texas reached the worst point of its Delta-variant fueled summer surge, eclipsing 20,000 new cases per day on September 14.
The only other time the state reached that mark during the pandemic was the late-2020 to early-2021 winter Covid surge, which is still the worst the state has suffered.
Researchers found that, during the four-week period, 315.9 out of every 100,000 vaccinated people in Texas contracted COVID-19 compared to 14,196.6 out of every 100,000 unvaccinated people – a 45-fold difference.
They then adjusted the data based on age, decreasing the effect many younger children – who are unvaccinated but less likely to contract the virus, or if they do become infected are likely to be asymptomatic – have on the averages.
After adjustment, researchers found that 133.8 out of every 100,000 vaccinated people and 1,767 out of every 100,000 unvaccinated people had been infected with Covid – a smaller, but still massive, 13-fold difference.
‘Because no vaccines are 100 percent effective, it is expected that some fully vaccinated people will get sick with COVID-19, and that number will increase as more people get vaccinated,’ researchers explained about why some vaccinated people still get infected by, or even die from, Covid.
‘Vaccine effectiveness can also be affected by an individual’s own immune system, like how well they respond to the vaccine when it is given and how much their immunity wanes over time.’
Researchers also calculated deaths per 100,000, then adjusted them based on the natural differences in death rate by age.
They found that 3.25 out of every 100,000 vaccinated people were dying from the virus on average compared to 63.66 out of every 100,000 unvaccinated Texans.
That is a 20-fold difference in death rates depending on vaccination status.
The Covid vaccines seemed to have much more of an effect on some age groups than others.
For Texans in their 30s, being unvaccinated during the four-week time period increased their risk of death 23-fold.
There was also a 55-fold increase in risk of death among people in their 40s, and an eight-fold increased risk for Texans aged 18 to 29.
Around 62% of Texans have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and 54% are fully vaccinated. Pictured: A woman in Houston, Texas, receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on October 13
‘Vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic. All authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the US are highly effective at protecting people from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19, including those infected with Delta and other known variants,’ researchers wrote.
‘COVID-19 vaccination can also reduce the spread of disease overall, helping to keep communities safe.’
As of Thursday afternoon, 62 percent of Texans have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 54 percent are fully vaccinated, CDC data show.
The Lone Star State is slightly behind the national pace of 68 percent of Americans nationwide having received at least one shot, and 58 percent fully vaccinated.