Despite continued claims from the Scott administration that COVID-19 is “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” data from the Health Department continues to show significant deaths and hospitalizations among the fully vaccinated.
To date, there have been 438 hospitalizations and 157 deaths reported among the 37,561 “breakthrough” cases involving vaccinated individuals, according to the state COVID-19 Data Summary released Feb. 3.
Despite this trend, the state continues to say more vaccines mean fewer people get sick. According to the Health Department’s COVID-19 modeling document released on Feb. 1, the Health Department suggests that those who are not fully vaccinated are 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19.
“Across the US, the average weekly chance of a boosted person dying of Covid was about one in a million according to the most recent available CDC data (the chance an average American will die in a car crash is 2.4 per million), but older and unvaccinated Vermonters face increased risk from the virus. For the latter group, state data continues to show the risk of death is ten-fold that of boosted Vermonters,” the document states.
However, the Vermont Health Department Spokesperson Ben Truman told True North on Monday that the Health Department does not currently know how frequently persons from each group — the vaccinated and the unvaccinated — are receiving COVID tests.
“As for the number of people testing positive, the exact figures are getting harder to determine because of the increased use of self-testing and the voluntary nature of reporting those results,” Truman wrote in an email.
Federal and state policies offer different protocols for testing the unvaccinated versus the vaccinated. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to advise that unvaccinated workplace employees get weekly COVID tests as a condition of employment. In contrast, those who are vaccinated who can forgo testing.
At the state level, the Vermont Department of Health guidelines give different protocols for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated on testing after suspected contact with a COVID-positive individual. For those who are up-to-date on their shots, the policy is not to quarantine, and testing is optional. Those who are not fully vaccinated should quarantine and have at least one negative PCR or LAMP test, or two negative antigen tests.
Another factor that may further muddy comparisons of the vaccinated versus the vaccinated deals with the criteria for categorizing a partially vaccinated person. For example, the state’s definition of “fully vaccinated” says a person must have received at least two COVID vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson shot — and at least 14 days must have passed. If someone gets sick or hospitalized during that two-week stretch, the incident is recorded as an “unvaccinated” case.
Truman told True North that the state does not track data on how often Vermonters test positive or are hospitalized within that two-week time interval.
Not all of the vaccine studies conclude more shots deliver better outcomes with COVID. On Dec. 29, 2021, the GatewayPundit reported on two new studies that apparently show COVID vaccines actually end up causing more illness than they prevent.
“After just three months, fully vaccinated individuals begin to experience sharp negative protection. Researchers found that those who received the Pfizer vaccine were an astounding 76.5% more likely to have a breakthrough infection than their unvaccinated counterparts once 90 days had passed — those who received Moderna’s were 39.3% more likely,” the report states.