Being vaccinated against COVID-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization by 90 percent for people age 65 and older, according to a report released Wednesday by public health officials.
The report examined the vaccination status of Southwest Washington residents hospitalized for COVID-19 from March 22 to June 27. The analysis included residents of Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties.
"This report demonstrates how effective COVID-19 vaccines are at preventing severe illness that can lead to hospitalization," said Dr. Steven Krager of Clark County. "Completing the vaccination series provides the most protection, but even those who are not yet fully vaccinated receive some protection from the vaccine."
The analysis of hospitalization data found that the risk of hospitalization fell by 90 percent for fully vaccinated individuals age 65 and older and by 75 percent for people in that age group who were partially vaccinated.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. People are considered partially vaccinated if they've received at least one dose.
Researchers also looked at the vaccination status of people 45 to 64 years old, but with fewer than 10 fully vaccinated residents in that age group who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in that time period, they could not calculate an estimated rate that was statistically stable.
A press release announcing the results of the report noted, however, that 91 percent of hospitalized residents ages 45 to 64 years old were unvaccinated, while 49 percent of the population in that age group in the region are unvaccinated.
"The COVID-19 vaccines are very effective, but they're not perfect. A small number of people who are fully vaccinated may still get COVID-19," said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. "But this data show that those who are vaccinated are far less likely to be hospitalized as a result of their illness. Getting vaccinated provides the best protection."
The report was compiled by Cowlitz County Health and Human Services. Clark County Public Health and other Southwest Washington health departments worked with Cowlitz County on the project.