New research published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) revealed how much more effective COVID-19 vaccines are compared with natural immunity at preventing hospitalizations in people over 65. Data analysis from nine states show that the odds of COVID infection in hospitalized people were nearly 20 times greater among unvaccinated seniors than fully vaccinated recipients with no previous documented infection. Additionally, the study found hospitalized people under 65 who were unvaccinated were at 5 times greater risk of COVID infection compared with those who received both doses of an mRNA shot.
The study further confirms that vaccine-induced immunity was more protective than infection-induced immunity against laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. Study researchers issued several strong calls for everyone eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible, even if they have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2. It’s especially important for the older population who are not yet fully vaccinated to do so, said the experts. Although those 65 and older make up about 16% of the total U.S. population, they account for some 75% of COVID deaths.