How many people hospitalized with COVID are vaccinated?

A low percent of  fully vaccinated people will still contract COVID-19. 

When someone is fully vaccinated and contracts COVID-19, this is called a “breakthrough” case. Although the vaccine is very effective at preventing infection, it is not 100%. However, it is even more effective at preventing severe illness (requiring hospitalization) and death.

Unvaccinated people are much more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.

A group of researchers from Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by vaccination status using state-level data from 2021. Vaccinated people stayed largely protected. Out of the fully vaccinated people, less than 1% had a COVID diagnosis, and even fewer were hospitalized or died. Unvaccinated people were at a serious risk. The vast majority of hospitalizations (95 to 100%, depending on the state) and deaths (97-100%) were among people who were not fully vaccinated. 

Other data emphasizes the risk of being unvaccinated. Data from Los Angeles County from May 1 to July 25, 2021, demonstrated that hospitalization rates were 29.2 times higher in unvaccinated individuals. A lower percentage of fully vaccinated people with COVID were admitted to the hospital, required life support, or died, compared to unvaccinated people with COVID. Data from New York demonstrated that being fully vaccinated prevents hospitalization (90% decrease in risk of hospitalization). However, in the setting of the delta variant being the predominant strain, overall vaccine efficacy decreased from 91.7% to 79.8%.

Finally, CDC data showed that unvaccinated individuals were 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die of COVID compared to unvaccinated individuals. These studies all provide strong evidence that getting vaccinated can prevent COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths, as well as getting infected with COVID

Last update: 9 September 2021, 16:45 ET

Science review: SGB, GSN