Washington: Not vaccinated against COVID-19 yet? You may be at 29 times more risk of hospitalisation with COVID than those who are fully vaccinated, according to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new study, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Tuesday, showed that among people not vaccinated the risk of infection was 4.9 times while hospitalisation was 29.2 times.
"These infection and hospitalisation rate data indicate that authorised vaccines were protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 during a period when transmission of the Delta variant was increasing," the agency wrote in the study.
The study was based on 43,127 infections in residents of Los Angeles County, California between May 1 and July 25. COVID hospitalisations were defined as hospital admissions occurring within 14 days after infection, the agency said.
Among all county residents, hospitalisation rates increased "exponentially" among unvaccinated, fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated people, with the highest rates among unvaccinated people in late June, the agency said.
The data shows that "if you are not yet vaccinated, you are among those at highest risk," CNBC news quoted CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky as saying on Tuesday.
"Do not underestimate the risk and serious consequences of this virus," she said during a White House briefing on the pandemic. "Vaccines are the best tool we have to take charge of this pandemic."
As of Monday, more than 201 million Americans, or 60.8 per cent of the total US population, have had at least one COVID shot, according to data compiled by the CDC. More than 171 million Americans, or 51.5 per cent of the total US population, are fully vaccinated, according to the agency.
US officials hope the Food and Drug Administration granting full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID vaccine will persuade some unvaccinated Americans to finally get the shots.