New statistics show 30% of those who died from COVID-19 in Maryland over the last six weeks were fully vaccinated, but experts said those numbers can be deceiving.
That number might sound startling, but researchers said to see the full picture, you need to flip that statistic around. They said the vaccines are still very effective.
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"People who are unvaccinated are on the order of 10 to 15 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than a fully vaccinated person," said Dr. William Moss, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
And researchers said that's a statistic everyone should pay attention to. The vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are in those who are not vaccinated.
"We are seeing younger and younger patients come to the ICU nowadays who are unvaccinated and they're not surviving this," said Dr. Kinjal Sheth, chief of critical care at Northwest Hospital.
The Maryland Department of Health released statistics that while the total number of deaths in Maryland among vaccinated people since the vaccines came out is .0065%, between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15, they accounted for 30% of COVID-19 deaths.
"That proportion can be misleading, and the reason why is that as more and more people are vaccinated in the United States, they make up a greater proportion of the deaths," Moss said.
The state department of health agrees, writing in a statement, "As the number of our residents who are vaccinated continues to increase, we expect to see an increase in the proportion of COVID-related deaths occurring in vaccinated individuals. Many of these deaths are linked to comorbidities that make patients more vulnerable."
Moss said those risk factors include people over the age of 85 and those with underlying medical conditions.
"Immunocompromising conditions that place them at high-risk for severe COVID should they get infected and also interferes with their immune response to the vaccine, so they're not as protected as we would like them to be," Moss said.
The most prominent recent example is the death of Colin Powell, who was 84 and had cancer.
Moss said booster shots could play a role in reducing the death rate among those fully vaccinated.
"I think there is evidence that in older age groups that booster doses will help prevent severe disease, but I want to emphasize that our vaccines are holding up pretty well against severe disease, so I don't want people to panic about that," Moss said.
Moss said a lot of these new cases and deaths are fueled by the delta variant.