Syracuse, N.Y. – People hospitalized for Covid-19 even after being fully vaccinated tend to be the same people who have ended up in hospital beds since the coronavirus pandemic began: older adults with serious underlying conditions.
For the first time, Onondaga County has released data showing who the fully vaccinated hospitalized are. More than 80% of them admitted from Aug. 1 to Sept. 9 were over 60 years old. The biggest share was people over 80.
While the county data doesn’t detail their underlying conditions, many among these breakthrough, hospitalized patients had serious medical illnesses that make them more vulnerable to serious effects of the novel coronavirus, said Dr. Stephen Thomas, head of Upstate Medical University’s Global Health program.
“Of the people that are vaccinated and have breakthrough infections, who is most likely to experience disease significant enough to bring them to the hospital or kill them?” asked Thomas, who treats people with the disease. “It’s unfortunately who we would expect: the vulnerable population, people over 65 years old who have pre-existing conditions like heart disease, kidney disease and lung disease.”
Among the findings of the county’s new data, which covers Aug. 1 to Sept. 9:
- 85 of the 258 patients hospitalized for Covid-19 had been fully vaccinated – about a third of the total admissions. That is still a tiny fraction of the nearly 290,000 county residents who have been vaccinated.
- Of the 50 patients hospitalized during that time span who were 80 or older, two-thirds of them had been vaccinated.
- It’s a completely different picture for people under 60: They accounted for 17% of the fully vaccinated people with Covid-19 admitted into Syracuse hospitals.
- No one under 20 who was fully vaccinated was admitted to a hospital.
Older people with underlying conditions have borne the brunt of Covid-19 since the disease emerged in the U.S. in early 2020, even before vaccines were rolled out for them early this year. In New York, 87% of Covid-19 deaths reported by the state Department of Health since the pandemic began in early 2020 were of people 60 and older.
The 60-and-up population who are vaccinated are overrepresented in the hospital data for several reasons.
First, older people have a higher rate of vaccination than younger people, so just by sheer numbers they’re likely to make up a large share of hospital admissions. They’re also more likely to have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of Covid-19 complications; an estimated 80% of Americans 65 and older have at least one chronic condition.
“Because they have these underlying conditions and because we know Covid can impact multiple organs in the body,” Thomas said, “they don’t have the ability to tolerate infection as well as people who are younger and don’t have those medical problems.”
In addition, the vaccines don’t always work as well in older people, whose immune systems are weaker and don’t generate the level of immunity that younger people do. Lastly, older people were among the first in line to get shots last winter, so they’ll be among the first groups to see waning immunity over time.
An advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration on Friday recommended booster shots for people who received the Pfizer vaccine and are over 65 or at high risk from the disease. The FDA itself is expected to make a decision on boosters in the next few days, though it usually follows the committee’s recommendations.
Source : https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2021/09/which-vaccinated-people-are-ending-up-in-cny-hospitals-onondaga-county-releases-details.html