Unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who are fully inoculated, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control found.
The results come as the highly contagious Delta variant, the dominant strain in the United States, has driven a spike in new cases across the country — overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated.
“The bottom line is this – we have the scientific tools we need to turn the corner on this pandemic,” Walensky told reporters Friday.
“Vaccination works and will protect us from the severe complications of COVID-19,” Walensky added.
“It will protect our children and allow them to stay in school for safe, in-person learning.”
The study reviewed almost 600,000 cases in 13 states from April 4 to July 17, linking vaccination status to outcomes, the CDC said.
A separate CDC study also released Friday showed that the Moderna vaccine was the most effective at protecting against serious infections that required hospitalization.
Vaccine effectiveness among Moderna recipients was 95 percent, followed by the Pfizer jab at 80 percent and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot at 60 percent.
Overall vaccine effectiveness against hospitalizations was 86 percent, according to the study, which cited data from 32,000 cases from June to August — when the Delta variant became the predominant virus strain.
The highly contagious Delta mutation now accounts for more 98 percent of all cases, officials said during the White House COVID-19 response team briefing Friday.
The US is reporting an average of 136,000 new coronavirus cases a day — as well as over 11,000 hospital admissions and more than 1,000 daily deaths, according to the CDC.
But more than 90 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, and there are 10 times more unvaccinated patients than vaccinated patients with breakthrough cases, according to the CDC director.
Meanwhile, the emerging Mu variant that was first detected in South America accounts for less than 0.5 percent of tracked cases in the US — and the C.1.2 variant, which first emerged in Africa over spring, has yet to be confirmed in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci said at the briefing.
The new data comes a day after the Biden administration announced sweeping new requirements to battle soaring coronavirus cases, including a federal mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees to require workers get vaccinated or be tested weekly.
The recent uptick in infections comes as children under 12 have yet to be approved for vaccinations, even as in-person schooling gets underway at districts across the US.
More vaccinations could help even children who are unable to get their doses, Walensky said.
“Communities with higher vaccination rates have lower reported emergency department visits and hospitalizations for children with COVID-19 – even children who cannot be vaccinated themselves,” the CDC director said.