DSHS Study Evaluates COVID-19 Cases & Deaths By Vaccination Status

Texas DSHS vaccination numbers

Study Shows In September Unvaccinated Texans Were 20x more Likely To Die From COVID-19

DSHS recently shared a study where they analyzed the real-world impact of COVID-19 vaccines in Texas. The Texas data shows COVID-19 vaccines offer powerful protection for people from getting sick or seriously ill — even against Delta and other variants.

DSHS calculated the impact of vaccination in Texas by comparing COVID-19 case and death rates among unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. In order to do this, researchers at the Texas Department of State Health Services analyzed data from electronic lab reports, death certificates, and the state immunization registry. By comparing COVID-19 case and death rates among people who were unvaccinated to those who were fully vaccinated enabling DSHS  to calculate the impact of vaccination in Texas.

The analysis included a period from Jan. 15 to Oct. 1 with a particular focus on the four weeks from Sept. 4 to Oct. 1, which allowed the agency to measure the effect of COVID-19 vaccination as the more contagious Delta variant surged across Texas.

Key Findings From September 4 through October 1, 2021:

  • Unvaccinated people were 13 times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.
  • Unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people.
  • Vaccination had a strong protective effect on infections and deaths among people of all ages. The protective impact on infections was consistent across adult age groups. Protection was even greater in people ages 12 to 17 years. The protective impact on COVID-19 deaths, which was high for all age groups, varied more widely. In the September time frame, unvaccinated people in their 40s were 55 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated people of the same age. Unvaccinated people aged 75 years and older were 12 times more likely to die than their vaccinated counterparts.
  • Overall, regardless of vaccination status, people in Texas were four to five times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 or suffer a COVID-19-associated death while the Delta variant was prevalent in Texas (August 2021) compared with a period before the Delta variant became prevalent (April 2021).

*A fully vaccinated case is a COVID-19 case (either PCR or an antigen) in a vaccinated person that occurred ≥14 days after completion of their vaccination series.

View the entire DSHS study

Why Did DSHS Use This Timeframe?

The analysis timeframe was chosen because Jan. 15, 2021 represents the first day a Texan could be fully vaccinated, and Oct. 1, 2021 represents the most recent date with complete available data.

What Do They Mean By Vaccinated?

For this study fully vaccinated cases are defined as  cases who received their last recommended dose of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine, with the appropriate interdose interval if they received a 2-dose series and have had at least 14 days to establish protection.

Unvaccinated cases are defined as cases who did not receive any doses of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

DSHS Data sources:

ImmTrac2, Texas Immunization Registry
Death Registry, Vital Statistics
COVID-19 ELR, National Electronic Disease Surveillance System Electronic Laboratory Reporting

The rates presented in this report were calculated using the state population distribution based on the 2019 U.S. Census standard population estimates. Calculations include only the 12 and older population because they are eligible to be vaccinated. 

CDC Study Data Finds Vaccination Offers More Protection Than Previous COVID Infection

CDC published new report reinforcing that vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19. In a new MMWR examining more than 7,000 people across 9 states who were hospitalized with COVID-like illness, CDC found that those who were unvaccinated and had a recent infection were 5 times more likely to have COVID-19 than those who were recently fully vaccinated and did not have a prior infection.

“We now have additional evidence that reaffirms the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, even if you have had prior infection. This study adds more to the body of knowledge demonstrating the protection of vaccines against severe disease from COVID-19. The best way to stop COVID-19, including the emergence of variants, is with widespread COVID-19 vaccination and with disease prevention actions such as mask wearing, washing hands often, physical distancing, and staying home when sick,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky.

The study looked at data from the VISION Network. Analysis of the data showed among adults hospitalized with symptoms similar to COVID-19, unvaccinated people with prior infection within 3-6 months were 5.49 times more likely to have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated within 3-6 months with mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines. The study was conducted across 187 hospitals. (CDC referenced Study )