A new study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) shows that unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The study also found that unvaccinated people are roughly five times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than those who are not.
"On July 25, infection and hospitalization rates among unvaccinated persons were 4.9 and 29.2 times, respectively, those in fully vaccinated persons," the study says, noting that the vaccine protection held amid the highly contagious delta variant.
“These infection and hospitalization rate data indicate that authorized vaccines were protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 during a period when transmission of the Delta variant was increasing,” the CDC wrote in the study.
“Efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination, in coordination with other prevention strategies, are critical to preventing COVID-19–related hospitalizations and deaths,” the CDC added.
The study is based on data from people ages 16 and older in Los Angeles County between May 1 to July 25.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Americans on Tuesday to “not underestimate the risk and serious consequences of this virus.”
“Vaccines are the best tool we have to take charge of this pandemic,” Dr. Walensky said, adding: “If you are not yet vaccinated, you are among those at highest risk.”
As of Monday, more than 201 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with over 171 million fully vaccinated, accounting for 51.5% of the population, according to data from the CDC. More than sixty percent of the population eligible for the COVID vaccines – Americans ages 12 and up – are fully inoculated.
Also Monday, the Food and Drug Administration granted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine full approval, the first inoculation to receive that designation. Health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, hope that full FDA approval will spur significantly more vaccinations.
“I respect people's freedom, but when you're talking about a public health crisis that we've been going through now for well over a year and a half, the time has come,” Dr. Fauci said on CNN. “Enough is enough. We just got to get people vaccinated.”
Fauci said he hoped vaccinations will jump based on a number of factors, including a Kasier Family Foundation poll found that 31% of unvaccinated people would be more likely to get the shot after the FDA gave full approval, and the potential willingness of more companies to institute vaccine mandates because of the new designation.
When asked when he thinks the FDA might grant full approval to the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Fauci said it can be difficult to predict but added, “I would imagine ... that it likely would be a matter of a month or so, but not a lot more than that.” He noted that those companies have been behind Pfizer’s timeline in submitting material.