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CDC says 3 shots reduced risk of ventilation or death from COVID variants

Agency finds those without a booster had a 3-4 times greater risk of hospitalization than fully vaccinated, while those who were not vaccinated at all faced 12 times the risk of hospitalization.

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ROCHESTER, Minn. — A new pair of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has underscored the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters in the prevention of hospitalization, ventilation and death.

One of the reports has determined that having had three mRNA vaccinations reduced the risk of being put on a ventilator or death from COVID-19 during the omicron wave by 94%, as well as by 90% during previous waves.

A second report has determined that unvaccinated persons were hospitalized at 12 times the rate of those who had all three shots.

It also found that those without a booster were hospitalized at 3 times the rate of the fully vaccinated, a benefit to boosters that jumped to four-fold during omicron.

The reports, published in the Friday, March 18, issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , stated that they built upon previous data showing full vaccination reduces rates of hospitalization from the virus. The study of mechanical ventilation and death rates looked at those outcomes among persons at or over 18 years old, and who were hospitalized at 21 U.S. medical centers between March 11, 2021, and Jan.24, 2022.

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The hospitalization study examined vaccination status for adults hospitalized between July 1 and Dec. 18, 2021, and between Dec. 19, 2021, through Jan. 31, 2022, in the case of omicron.

"Hospitalization rates during peak omicron circulation ... among unvaccinated adults," CDC authors wrote, "remained 12 times the rates among vaccinated adults who received booster or additional doses and four times the rates among adults who received a primary series, but no booster or additional dose."

The authors confirmed previous messages that there was a lessened severity of omicron overall, writing that "a significantly shorter median length of hospital stay was observed during the omicron-predominant period," as well as "smaller proportions of hospitalizations with intensive care unit admission, receipt of invasive mechanical ventilation, or in-hospital death."

The virus nonetheless remains capable of causing severe outcomes among the fully vaccinated who are vulnerable. The CDC report stated that the majority of vaccinated patients who received mechanical ventilation or died in hospital "were older or had complex underlying conditions, commonly immunosuppression."

Paul John Scott is the health correspondent for NewsMD and the Forum News Service. He is a novelist and was an award winning magazine journalist for 15 years prior to joining the FNS in 2019.
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