As of August, a majority of Americans dying from COVID-19 were at least partially vaccinated, according to a new analysis of federal and state data.
This marks the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that vaccinated individuals have died at a higher rate than unvaccinated people.
An analysis from the Washington Post published Wednesday found that the waning efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, intertwined with increasingly contagious strains of the virus being spread to elderly and immunocompromised people, have increased the number of deaths among those who have taken at least one vaccine dose.
“Fifty-eight percent of coronavirus deaths in August were people who were vaccinated or boosted,” the Post reported, describing a “troubling trend” as the number of vaccinated deaths have been “steadily rising” over the past year.
“In September 2021, vaccinated people made up just 23 percent of coronavirus fatalities. In January and February this year, it was up to 42 percent,” the article said.
Kaiser Family Foundation vice president Cynthia Cox, who conducted the analysis on behalf of the Post, said, “We can no longer say this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Health officials have repeatedly pushed Americans to get vaccinated, urging them to get follow-up booster shots to maximize vaccine protection against COVID-19.
On Tuesday, during a press briefing, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha unveiled the Biden administration’s new “six-week sprint” campaign in a bid to vaccinate more Americans this holiday season.
“Bottom line is that we’re doing everything we can in the next six weeks to help families get their updated COVID shots by the end of the year, because it’s the best protection for this winter,” Jha said, adding that the latest iteration of the COVID-19 vaccine is a “once a year shot,” similar to the flu shot.
The outgoing adviser emphasized that COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death and suggested Americans get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.
Fauci noted that COVID vaccine effectiveness wanes overtime, claiming that it was unreasonable to compare the virus to other illnesses, because of the emerging variants every few months.
“My message, and my final message, maybe the final message I give you from this podium, is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID 19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community,” Fauci said. “I urge you to visit vaccine.gov to find a location where you can easily get an updated vaccine, and please do it as soon as possible.”
Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and other medical experts have admitted that COVID vaccines do not protect “overly well” against transmission and infection. However, when other medical experts, including Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, have suggested that COVID vaccines were not as effective as originally claimed, they have received harsh criticism.
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