In spite of significant advances in many aspects of the medical community’s approach to COVID-19, patients continue to be hospitalized and die from the virus. In the vast majority of cases, though, the literal difference between life and death appears to come down to one factor that is under the patient’s control: immunization. In her latest press briefing, Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed that Americans who are fully vaccinated against the virus—meaning they’ve received the full dosage plus a booster—are 97 times less likely to die from the virus than those who have not been vaccinated. Even those who have only received the initial one- or two-dose vaccine dosage are 14 times less likely to die compared with the unvaccinated. The data reflect compilation of reports from 25 jurisdictions in early December, when the average weekly deaths among unvaccinated individuals numbered 9.7 per 100,000 people, compared with 0.7 who had the full dosage and 0.1 among those who had the full dosage plus a booster. Vaccination figures at the time of Walensky’s briefing reveal that 80% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 68% received a complete initial dosage but only 51% have had the full complement plus a booster. With discussion of dropping mask mandates heating up around the country, ensure patients are aware of their risk in turning down the opportunity to become fully protected against COVID-19.

Patients Are Still Dying from COVID-19—and Most of Them Have Something in Common