3 CDC Studies Leave Little Doubt: COVID-19 Vaccines Work

The data seem to give credence to the government’s push to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

The chances of unvaccinated individuals dying from COVID-19 are about 11 times greater than that for vaccinated individuals, and the 3 vaccines currently on the market are all effective against the delta variant, but Moderna’s is the most effective. On the heels of President Joe Biden’s announcement last night that the government will increase efforts to get hesitant Americans vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today carpet-bombed the country with data in 3 studies that back up Biden’s initiative.

The 3 studies were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Two of the studies include sections called “What are the implications for public health practice?”

For the study weighing the vaccines’ effectiveness against the delta variant the answer is: “Getting vaccinated protects against severe illness from COVID-19, including the delta variant. Monitoring COVID-19 incidence by vaccination status might provide early signals of potential changes in vaccine effectiveness that can be confirmed through robust controlled studies.”

For the study weighing the chances of death and/or hospitalization for unvaccinated individuals against vaccinated individuals the answer is: “To protect against COVID-19-related hospitalization, all eligible persons should receive COVID-19 vaccination. Additional studies are needed to understand differences in COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness across age groups.”

The study that found Moderna’s to be the most effective vaccine notes that “across all ages, VE [vaccine effectiveness] was significantly higher among Moderna vaccine recipients (95%) than among Pfizer-BioNTech (80%) or Janssen (60%) vaccine recipients.”

Collectively, the 3 vaccines were 86% effective in preventing hospitalizations. The data represent a real-world assessment of the vaccines in 32,867 patients in 187 hospitals and 221 emergency departments (EDs) and urgent care (UC) clinics across 9 states. The data were collected from June to August, “beginning on the date the delta variant accounted for >50% of sequenced isolates in each medical facility’s state,” the study states.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said at a White House COVID-19 briefing today that “the bottom line is this: We have the scientific tools we need to turn the corner on this pandemic. Vaccination works and will protect us from the severe complications of COVID-19.”

The study that compares the 3 vaccines does not divulge why Moderna’s might be the most effective. Moderna has 3 times the amount of mRNA than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the interval between the shots is longer. For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine it’s 3 weeks, for Moderna it’s 4 weeks.

The study that measures deaths and hospitalizations between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated states that in “13 U.S. jurisdictions, rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were substantially higher in persons not fully vaccinated compared with those in fully vaccinated persons, similar to findings in other reports…. After the week of June 20, 2021, when the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant became predominant, the percentage of fully vaccinated persons among cases increased more than expected for the given vaccination coverage and a constant VE.”

The study about how the vaccines fair against delta variant states that “protection against COVID-19–associated hospitalization remained high despite the emergence of delta as the predominant variant in the United States; protection was similar during periods before (February–June 2021; 84.1%) and during (July–August 2021; 89.3%) delta variant predominance. Recent reports have shown that COVID-19 vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection is lower in areas with increasing delta variant transmission….; however, protection against severe disease outcomes, including hospitalization, remains high.”

Biden last night took aim at Republican politicians who the president feels isn’t getting behind the effort to have their citizens vaccinated.

“Let me be blunt,” Biden said. “My plan also takes on elected officials in states that are undermining you and these lifesaving actions. Right now, local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools.”

At least 2 Republican governors immediately pushed back.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp: “I will pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey: “The vaccine is and should be a choice.”

But 1 Republican governor, Larry Hogan of Maryland, is actually going further than Biden and the CDC in terms of vaccinations. Hogan announced today that “Maryland is immediately authorizing COVID-19 booster shots for all Marylanders 65 and older who are living in congregate care settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential drug treatment centers, and developmentally disabled group homes.”