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Beaumont Health study: COVID-19 booster shots lower death rate

By: - March 24, 2022 6:27 am

Parker Michels-Boyce | Virginia Mercury/States Newsroom

A new study by Beaumont Health found that COVID-19 booster shots significantly reduced the rate of death in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated or fully vaccinated patients.

Patients who received a booster and were hospitalized had a 45% lower mortality rate than unvaccinated patients who were hospitalized, the study found.

Unvaccinated patients had a mortality rate of 12.8%. For fully vaccinated patients who did not receive a booster, that rate fell to 10.3%. Patients who had received a booster had the lowest mortality rate, at 7.1%.

Dr. Amit Bahl, director of emergency ultrasound for Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, conducted the study with Dr. Steven Johnson, an emergency physician at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, and Nicholas Mielke, a medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

The peer-reviewed study was published in The Lancet Regional Health – Americas medical journal and was among the first to observe the effectiveness of COVID-19 booster shots in the real world.

More than 8,200 hospitalized COVID-19 patients were included in the study between Aug. 12, 2021, and Jan. 20, 2022, including portions of both the delta and omicron variant surges.

Patients who received a booster and were hospitalized had a 45% lower mortality rate than unvaccinated patients who were hospitalized, the study found.

The median age of boosted patients was older and had higher rates of comorbidities than the other groups but still resulted in a lower rate of death.

As many as around 30% of the boosted patients had contracted the virus within 12 days after getting their booster vaccine. The booster shot is believed to need 14 days to be fully effective, meaning the true mortality rate may be even lower.

Partially vaccinated patients, who received only one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines but not the second dose, were excluded from the study.

Outcomes for patients who had previously contracted COVID-19 were also not examined in the study.

Michigan currently has an overall vaccination rate (one or more doses) of 66.5%, putting it in the bottom third of state vaccination rates. About 59.6% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated. Only 31.8% of the population has received a booster shot.

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Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a reporting intern with the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.

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