Unvaccinated Americans had a higher rate of hospitalization compared to fully vaccinated people during the recent omicron variant surge — especially compared to those who got the COVID-19 booster shot.

The news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new data out of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which looked at how the coronavirus spread from Nov. 7, 2021, to Jan. 8, 2022.

  • This time period is when the omicron variant began to spread in the United States.
Related
This omicron variant symptom is becoming more prevalent among the elderly
3 reasons why your omicron variant infection hasn’t been severe
2 new omicron symptoms you won’t realize are from COVID

By the numbers: In the 14-day period that ended on Dec. 11 — the day when the delta variant was no longer seen as dominant — COVID-19 cases were 12.3 times higher for the unvaccinated compared to boostered Americans, according to ABC News.

  • Hospitalizations were 83 times higher. Yes. Eight-three times.
  • For the week ending on Jan. 8, unvaccinated people were 3.6 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 compared to those with booster shots, according to the CDC data.
  • Unvaccinated people were 23 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to those with boosters.

Why it matters: “These findings align with those from recent studies, indicating that COVID-19 vaccination protects against severe COVID-19 caused by … variants, including omicron,” the CDC’s report read. “Efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccination and boosters are critical to preventing COVID-19–associated hospitalizations and severe outcomes.”

What to watch for: The World Health Organization recently outlined specific symptoms to watch out for if you’re worried about hospitalization.

  • “Depending on the age of the person in your care, their symptoms may look different,” the WHO said. “Adults may look dehydrated, have shortness of breath or chest pains. They may also complain of lightheadedness.
  • “Children may suddenly appear confused or refuse to eat. Their face or lips may turn blue. Babies may be unable to breastfeed.
  • “These symptoms are warning signs that urgent care is needed.”