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Unvaccinated 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, CDC study says

Infection and hospitalization rates in late July were five and 29 times higher respectively among unvaccinated people in Los Angeles County than the fully vaccinated, according to a new report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Hospitals and state health officials have been warning that the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations mostly comprises of unvaccinated adults.

The big picture: Still, the data, which shows one-fourth of L.A. infections were from vaccinations, coincides with another CDC report out Tuesday that also shows the waning vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant.

  • CDC looked at a cohort of frontline health care workers and vaccine effectiveness had gone down to 66%, independent of time since vaccination.
  • Last week, the agency released initial reports on vaccine effectiveness including one on adults in New York with vaccine effectiveness declined from about 92% in early May to nearly 80% by late July.

Between the lines: The two datasets out Tuesday add to the emerging evidence that protection from COVID-19 shots decreases over time.

By the numbers: Among the 43,127 COVID infections in Los Angeles County, between May 1 and July 25, about 25% were fully vaccinated, about 3% were partially vaccinated and about 71% were unvaccinated, the report shows.

Fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 were also less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated people.

  • About 3% of vaccinated people were hospitalized, .5% were in an ICU and .2% needed a ventilator.
  • Among the unvaccinated, nearly 8% were hospitalized, 1.5% were in an ICU and .5% on a ventilator.

The bottom line: The vaccine still protects the majority of people from severe illness and that breakthrough cases among the vaccinated are still rare.

Go deeper: We're all going to pay for the unvaccinated

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