COVID-19 deaths in vaccinated people grows, but boosters significantly lower risk

covid vaccine
Posted at 6:33 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 18:33:38-04

(WXYZ) — A growing number of vaccinated people are dying from COVID-19, but data shows booster shots can lower the risk.

Omicron’s highly transmissible variants are part of the reason. But waning vaccine protection is also contributing to higher deaths for those who are fully vaccinated.

Federal data shows that during the height of the delta wave, almost 19% of COVID-19 deaths were among the vaccinated. That number jumped to 40% in February, when cases were surging because of omicron.

Now, this does not mean that our vaccines are not working. They have saved millions of lives and continue to do so.

It is still the unvaccinated that continue to have the highest risk of severe illness and death than those who are fully vaccinated, meaning two doses of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s vaccine, or Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot dose. In fact, the unvaccinated’s risk of death is about five times higher.

Our older population continues to be most at risk. About three-quarters of deaths this year have been seniors. They were the first in line to get COVID-19 vaccines. Many people are now a year out from getting the first shot.

But boosters can add protection. Data tells us that people who were only fully vaccinated had a three times greater risk of death from COVID-19 than people who got their booster shot.

So, all adults, aged 18 and up, really should get a booster dose. All Americans aged 50 and up and those who are immunocompromised over the age of 12 should get a second booster dose, especially since numbers are going up nationwide as well as in Michigan.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, metro Detroit has moved from low risk to medium risk. That means cases are up and so are hospitalizations.

Deaths are not up yet, but they typically follow. That’s most likely due to the more transmissible subvariant, BA.2. It makes up about three-fifths of cases. And its sublineage, BA.2.12.1 makes up about 30% of new cases in the U.S.

So please, once again, I will remind you all to get fully vaccinated, boosted and then a second booster if you’re eligible. Being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.