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Rochelle Walensky

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on August 6, 2021 implored Americans to get vaccinated as new data from the agency showed that unvaccinated people are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with the virus that causes Covid-19 than those who have been inoculated against it. (Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

New CDC Data Shows Covid-19 Reinfection Risk Double for Unvaccinated People

"Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Brett Wilkins

As new data published Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that unvaccinated people are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with the coronavirus than those who have been inoculated against the virus, public health officials and experts underscored the importance of vaccination.

"Even among the uncommon cases of Covid-19 among the fully or partially vaccinated, vaccines make people more likely to have a milder and shorter illness compared to those who are unvaccinated."
—CDC

A CDC study of 246 people in Kentucky who were reinfected with SARS-CoV-2—the coronavirus that causes Covid-19—between May and June found that those who were unvaccinated "had 2.34 times the odds of reinfection compared with those who were fully vaccinated."

The researchers also found that "vaccines prevented Covid-19 related hospitalizations among the highest-risk age groups."

"As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths rise, the data... reinforce that Covid-19 vaccines are the best way to prevent Covid-19," the CDC said. "Covid-19 vaccines remain safe and effective. They prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death."

"Additionally, even among the uncommon cases of Covid-19 among the fully or partially vaccinated, vaccines make people more likely to have a milder and shorter illness compared to those who are unvaccinated," the agency added. "CDC continues to recommend everyone 12 and older get vaccinated against Covid-19."

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said: "If you have had Covid-19 before, please still get vaccinated. This study shows you are twice as likely to get infected again if you are unvaccinated. Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country."

Last week, Common Dreams reported that an internal CDC document (pdf) warned that the Delta variant of the coronavirus—now the dominant strain in the U.S. and throughout much of the world—is as highly transmissible as chickenpox, could lead to more extreme illness than earlier mutations, and can likely be spread by people who are fully vaccinated.

Driven by the Delta variant, daily U.S. Covid-19 cases have surged to a six-month high, with a seven-day average of nearly 95,000 new infections reported. Seven states with among the country's lowest vaccination rates—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas—accounted for nearly half of all nationwide cases and hospitalizations over the past week.

Earlier this week, the United States reached President Joe Biden's stated goal of at least 70% of U.S. adults receiving at least one vaccine dose.


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