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Most COVID patients in Colorado still unvaccinated

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Most COVID patients in Colorado still unvaccinated

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The percentage of Coloradans hospitalized with COVID-19 who are unvaccinated is less overwhelming than it was in the fall, but people who received the vaccine still appear to have more protection against serious illness.

During the peak of the delta wave, from mid-November to late December, between 80% and 86% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 on any day were unvaccinated, state data shows. . The percentage started to drop on New Year’s Eve and hovered around 70% this week.

But it seems that those who are most seriously ill are more likely not to be vaccinated. At UCHealth, about 82% of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit and 91% of those patients on ventilators were unvaccinated as of Thursday morning. No one is tracking the vaccination status of all patients in intensive care units or on ventilators statewide.

The more contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 has made it a little more difficult to interpret the number of hospitalizations and the effectiveness of the vaccine than in previous waves, said Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director of control and infection prevention at UCHealth.

During the fall surge driven by the delta variant, the number of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 but primarily needed care for something else was “minimal”, she said. As of this week, however, about two-thirds of COVID-positive patients at UCHealth have come for another reason.

Recently, only about a third of the 355 patients who had tested positive for the virus were receiving oxygen or a drug used for severe COVID-19, such as the steroid dexamethasone or the antiviral remdesivir, Barron said. The health system is still analyzing the data to see if those patients were disproportionately likely to be unvaccinated, she said.

Barron, who works with patients who have had organ or bone marrow transplants, said everyone she has seen recently who has been vaccinated and had COVID-19 has been there because of others. infections or accidents.

It’s remarkable because people with weakened immune systems are one of the groups most vulnerable to a serious breakthrough infection – although the number of people she saw was too small to draw a scientific conclusion. The only patient seriously ill with the virus was unvaccinated, she said.

“It really hit home that omicron potentially behaves differently,” she said.

The state released the data differently before November, so it is difficult to compare the current situation with the end of the third wave in the winter of 2020 or the fourth wave in the spring of 2021.

Looking at weekly data released since January 2021, the percentage of unvaccinated hospitalized patients has gone from 100% to around 75% at some points in the delta surge. Some of this simply reflects the vaccine coverage in the state: At the start of January 2021, no one was two weeks away from their second vaccine, meaning the entire population was considered unvaccinated.

Most COVID patients in Colorado still unvaccinated

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