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Vaccination Gap: Unvaccinated Wisconsinites COVID-19 risk compared to vaccinated rises further

FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, a syringe containing a dose of the Pfizer...
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, a syringe containing a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine sits in a container during a vaccine clinic at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska.(Loren Holmes | Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News via AP, Pool, File)
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:29 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As new COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket – into critical levels for some counties – the risk of contracting the virus is growing faster for unvaccinated individuals than it is for those who have completed their vaccine series.

New Dept. of Health Services’ numbers break down the rates each group are contracting COVID-19 on a per capita basis. The agency found the gap between the two groups has widened drastically, even as both the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups saw significant increases.

Last month, health officials’ numbers showed unvaccinated individuals were nearly three times more likely to test positive for the virus. In this Wednesday’s update, the difference rose more than 30% and reached nearly four times as many COVID-19 cases, per capita, among those who have not completed their vaccination series.

The figures also echo health officials’ warnings that not getting vaccinated increases the likelihood of suffering more severe complications, or even dying, from the virus. Hospitalization rates were approximately eight times higher for unvaccinated individuals, while the death rate was over 10 times higher. The latter number nearing the CDC’s recent data that showed unvaccinated individuals were 11 times more likely to die if they contracted COVID-19.

Cases/100KHospitalizations/100KDeaths/100K
Sept. 15
Fully Vaccinated360.711.51.1
Not Fully Vaccinated1,413.798.511.7
Aug. 15
Fully Vaccinated125.44.90.1
Not Fully Vaccinated369.218.21.1

Skyrocketing cases overall

While Wednesday’s numbers laid bare the heightened risks involved with not getting vaccinated, they also highlighted the overall spike in total cases across the state.

Vaccinated or not, everyone saw major jumps in COVID-19 rates over the month between each report. For the fully vaccinated, the infection rate nearly tripled, going from 125.4 cases per 100,000 vaccinated individuals. Hospitalizations more than doubled and deaths per capita jumped 11 fold.

The per capita explosion among the unvaccinated was even more pronounced, as displayed in the side-by-side graphic below.

For every 100,000 people who have not completed their vaccine series, the number of people who tested positive jumped by more than 1,000, or a full percentage point, from 369.2 last month to 1,413.7 in September’s report.

Additionally, DHS notes that these figures come with a two-week lag. At the beginning of the period being measured the seven-day rolling average sat nearly 1,000 cases per day lower than it is now, which would indicate that the next report, due in the middle of next month, will be even higher.

Whether the universal increase means the gaps between unvaccinated and vaccinated widens even further remains to be seen.

Slide image to compare last month’s COVID-19 case rates to current levels

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