A new peer-reviewed study from Canada, which analyzed hospitalizations, shows that COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of ICU admissions and deaths. This is another in a long list of studies showing the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines in improving outcomes for those contracting the disease.
As usual, I will review the article and explain what it means. But I think this study provides further evidence of the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 vaccines reduce deaths paper
In a paper published on 3 April 2023 in JAMA Network Open, Charles Frenette, MD, director of infection prevention and control at McGill University Health Center in Montreal, and colleagues analyzed 1.513 million admissions at 155 hospitals across Canada from March 15, 2020, to May 28, 2022. The study included 51,679 adult admissions and 4035 pediatric admissions for COVID-19.
Here are some of their key findings:
- After the full vaccine roll-out in Canada, the proportion of adults admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) was significantly lower, at 8.7% vs 21.8%.
- During waves five and six, unvaccinated patients were 4.3 times more likely to end up in the ICU than fully vaccinated patients.
- Unvaccinated patients were 12.2 times more likely than fully vaccinated-plus (patients with one or more additional doses or boosters) patients.
- The rate of all-cause in-hospital death for unvaccinated patients was 3.9 times greater than that for fully vaccinated patients and 15.1 times greater than that for fully vaccinated-plus patients.
There is not much more for me to say about the results of this study since it is so obvious. Individuals who had not received one of the COVID-19 vaccines were at much higher risk of being admitted to the intensive care unit, and they were at much greater risk of dying. And for patients who had additional doses of the vaccine, they were at even lower risk of ICU admission or death.
This is one of those studies that has numbers so clear, it’s hard to dispute them (though I know that it will happen).
I have had six doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (I’m fully boosted), and when I contracted COVID-19 (stupid me, I was writing an article in a Starbucks, which is where I caught it). It was nothing more than a light cold, and I wasn’t hospitalized. And I certainly didn’t go to the ICU, and I most certainly didn’t die.
I’m giving this article a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’m not giving it 5 stars because it only analyzed numbers in one, relatively small, country, Canada. As much as I love our neighbors to the north, their healthcare system may have potentially biased the results, although I’m not seeing anything outright.
I know we’ve reached a point where getting the vaccine is some political nonsense. But the science is clear — the COVID-19 vaccine prevents ICU admissions and death. That seems like a good thing to me.
- Mitchell R, Cayen J, Thampi N, Frenette C, Bartoskzo J, Choi KB, Comeau JL, Conly J, Ellis C, Ellison J, Embil J, Evans G, Johnston L, Johnstone J, Katz KC, Kibsey P, Lee B, Lefebvre MA, Longtin Y, McGeer A, Mertz D, Minion J, Rudnick W, Silva A, Smith SW, Srigley JA, Suh KN, Tomlinson J, Wong A, Pelude L. Trends in Severe Outcomes Among Adult and Pediatric Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 in the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program, March 2020 to May 2022. JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Apr 3;6(4):e239050. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.9050. PMID: 37079304; PMCID: PMC10119741.