COVID-19 Deaths Have Risen for Those Who Aren't Up to Date on Boosters

Though, unvaccinated people are at much greater risk for severe outcomes than folks the same age who are caught up on boosters.

In the early days of COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, vaccinated people represented a small share of total COVID deaths. However, the number of deaths among those who are vaccinated has risen.

From April to August 2022, data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that about 6 in 10 adults dying of COVID-19 were vaccinated or boosted, according to a KFF analysis.

There are many factors contributing to the increase, including a rising number of people who are vaccinated (79% of adults that have completed at least the primary series), a low uptake of boosters and changes in immunity among vaccinated and unvaccinated, the analysis said. In addition, there are new variants to combat and less people are wearing masks.

While there are much more vaccinated people than there are unvaccinated, the analysis states on average, those who are up-to-date on vaccines and boosters are older and more likely to have underlying health conditions that put them at risk for severe COVID outcomes or death.

However, CDC data based on demographics shares unvaccinated people are at much greater risk for severe outcomes than folks the same age who are caught up on boosters.

It is still extremely encouraged that folks get vaccinated and stay up-to-date on their boosters as they are more effective in protection. According to the analysis, about 234,000 COVID deaths since June 2021 could have been prevented with vaccinations.

The analysis said reports have shown protection from COVID-19 vaccines can diminish over time, so, booster doses are needed to maintain robust immunity. The deaths reported indicate that many of the vaccinated people had the primary series or a booster many months or even over a year earlier - leaving their immunity more vulnerable.

The CDC recommends staying on top of booster shots, especially for those at higher risk.