Why COVID-19 deaths among vaccinated show that boosters matter

March 7, 2023

Since COVID-19 vaccines became widely available in the spring of 2021, there has been a wide gap in deaths between the unvaccinated and vaccinated. Toward the end of 2022, though, data showed that most deaths from COVID-19 were among those who are vaccinated. But that doesn’t mean COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are ineffective. It’s quite the opposite.

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster—which was first recommended last fall—protected against infection and death during the circulation of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. In fact, people who received the updated COVID-19 bivalent booster were 14 times less likely to die compared with those who received no vaccine. They were also three times less likely to die compared with those who received only the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In an interview, AMA member Elisa Choi, MD, an internal medicine and infectious diseases physician, shared why COVID-19 deaths among vaccinated people are happening and why boosters remain key.

Read more at the American Medical Association.

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