Boosted Worse Off Than Vaccinated in Many States, Data Show
Boosted Worse Off Than Vaccinated in Many States, Data Show

By Meiling Lee and Zachary Stieber

People in the United States who have received COVID-19 boosters in many states are more likely than those who have gotten just a primary series to get infected, receive hospital care, and die, according to an Epoch Times investigation.

Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among the boosted have been increasing since the booster shots were first introduced in 2021. The boosters were promoted as bolstering protection against adverse outcomes. But, compared to the vaccinated who have not received any boosters, boosted people are testing positive, being hospitalized, and dying at higher levels in many states, according to the review, which went over data in the first two quarters of 2022.

In California, for instance, the boosted population made up 72 percent of the COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people in June. In Vermont that month, the boosted population made up 90 percent of the COVID-19 deaths among the vaccinated.

The number of boosted people has continued to rise since the extra shots were first cleared in 2021. But in some of the states, one or more metrics among the boosted exceed their population.

In Wisconsin, boosted people made up 43 percent of the cases, 43 percent of the hospitalizations, and 46 percent of the deaths in June—well above the boosted population, which was 35 percent of the state as of late August.

“It is unassailable that a very large fraction of highly inoculated [people] are among those being hospitalized or dying,” Dr. Robert Malone, who helped invent the messenger RNA technology that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines utilize, told The Epoch Times. “So, at a minimum, the effectiveness in preventing hospitalization or death does not appear to be aligned with the official policy position.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have continued to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for virtually all Americans, including multiple boosters, stating that the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks. New, untested boosters replaced the old ones in the fall, but the primary series is still comprised of the old vaccines.

In 18 of the 19 states that provided or already list sufficient data, the boosted made up a majority of one or more metrics among the vaccinated, The Epoch Times found through reviewing publicly available data and public records requests after reporting how vaccinated people were more likely, when compared to the unvaccinated, to get sick, hospitalized, or die in a number of states.

In seven states, the boosted population even made up a majority of all three metrics—cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—among the vaccinated.

All data are from 2022. Only percentages or numbers were available for some states. Data for June were preferred, followed by data for July. Rates were adjusted for age. Fully vaccinated refers to people who received a primary series and no booster. Boosted refers to people who received one or more boosters, unless noted. Unvaccinated are included as a reference. An explanation of the bolded lines is below the list.

Arizona (week ending June 5)Rates per 100,000
CasesUnvaccinated: 638.4Fully vaccinated: 156.6Boosted: 278.3
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 50.5Fully vaccinated: 5.3Boosted: 4.5
Deaths (week ending May 22)Unvaccinated: 6.2Fully vaccinated: 0.50Boosted: 0.53
Vaccinated (as of June 5)Fully vaccinated: 62 percentBoosted: 27 percent
California (June)Numbers
CasesUnvaccinated: 215,889Fully vaccinated: 58,452Boosted: 149,121
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 5,057Fully vaccinated: 1,677Boosted: 2,987
DeathsUnvaccinated: 413Fully vaccinated: 100Boosted: 189
Vaccinated (as of Aug. 18)Fully vaccinated: 71.9 percentBoosted: 58.7 percent
ColoradoRates per 100,000Four-week average as of June 26
CasesUnvaccinated: 406Fully vaccinated: 162.6Boosted: 270
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 12.4Fully vaccinated: 5.9Boosted: 4.7
Deaths (as of June 1, rates per million)Unvaccinated: 55Fully vaccinated: 33.1Boosted: 17
Vaccinated (as of June 27)Fully vaccinated: 71.4 percentBoosted: 37 percent
Delaware (May 30-July 3)NumbersOnly boosted and nonboosted were provided
CasesNonboosted: 6,524Boosted: 3,154
HospitalizationsNonboosted: 451Boosted: 196
DeathsNonboosted: 6Boosted: 11
Vaccinated (as of Aug. 29)Boosted: 42.4 percent
Georgia (June 4–June 25)Numbers and rates
CasesNot fully vaccinated: 40,613Fully vaccinated: 18,169Boosted: 24,424
HospitalizationsNot fully vaccinated: 1,231Fully vaccinated: 429Boosted: 446
DeathsNot fully vaccinated: 59Fully vaccinated: 26Boosted: 35
Rates per 100,000 (June 25)
CasesNot fully vaccinated: 243.7Fully vaccinated: 77.7Boosted: 243.2
HospitalizationsNot fully vaccinated: 7.4Fully vaccinated: 1.9Boosted: 3.7
DeathsNot fully vaccinated: 0.4Fully vaccinated: 0.1Boosted: 0.5
Vaccinated (as of June 25)Fully vaccinated: 56.9 percentBoosted: 24.5 percent
Idaho (June 5–July 2)Numbers
CasesUnvaccinated: 5,766Fully vaccinated: 2,882Boosted: 3,892
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 78Fully vaccinated: 48Boosted: 42
DeathsUnvaccinated: 28Fully vaccinated: 22Boosted: 2
Vaccinated (as of June 29)Fully vaccinated: 52 percentBoosted: 23 percent
Kentucky (June)Numbers
CasesUnvaccinated: 19,016Fully vaccinated: 8,291Boosted: 10,223
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 228Fully vaccinated: 108Boosted: 155
DeathsUnvaccinated: 27Fully vaccinated: 24Boosted: 29
Vaccinated (as of Aug. 22)Fully vaccinated: 58 percentBoosted: 27 percent
Massachusetts (June 5–July 3)Numbers and rates
CasesUnvaccinated: 15,029Fully vaccinated: 6,806Boosted: 18,756
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: not providedFully vaccinated: 134Boosted: 411
DeathsUnvaccinated: 30Fully vaccinated: 41Boosted: 125
Rates per 100,000 (June 19–June 25)
CasesUnvaccinated: not providedFully vaccinated: 74.5Boosted: 155.32Second boosted: 165.99
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: not providedFully vaccinated: 1.31Boosted: 3.29Second boosted: 6.25
DeathsUnvaccinated: not providedFully vaccinated: 0.35Boosted: 1.17Second boosted: 1.11
Vaccinated (as of July 28)Fully vaccinated: 77 percentBoosted: 44 percent
Minnesota (June 5–July 3)Numbers and rates
CasesNot fully vaccinated: 7,983Fully vaccinated: 6,484Boosted: 19,437
HospitalizationsNot fully vaccinated: 517Fully vaccinated: 297Boosted: 871
DeathsNot fully vaccinated: 20Fully vaccinated: 16Boosted: 95
Rates per 100,000 (week of June 5)
CasesNot fully vaccinated: 238.2Fully vaccinated: 182.2Boosted: 249.7
HospitalizationsNot fully vaccinated: 20.9Fully vaccinated: 11.5Boosted: 7.6
DeathsNot fully vaccinated: 1.3Fully vaccinated: 0.52Boosted: 0.59
Vaccinated (as of Aug. 25)Fully vaccinated: 65 percent“Up to date”: 31 percent
Mississippi (April 1–Aug. 15).PercentagesCase and hospitalization data not provided
DeathsNot fully vaccinated: 36.6 percentFully vaccinated: 24.8 percentBoosted: 38.6 percent
Vaccinated (as of Aug. 15)Fully vaccinated: 60 percentBoosted: 29 percent
Nebraska (June 26–July 23)NumbersDeath data not provided
CasesUnvaccinated: not providedFully vaccinated: 2,928Boosted: 5,497
Hospitalizations (June 22–July 21)Unvaccinated: not providedFully vaccinated: 37Boosted: 76
Vaccinated (as of July 20)Fully vaccinated: 64 percentBoosted: 34 percent
New Jersey (June 4–June 11)Numbers and ratesHospitalization and death data not provided
CasesUnvaccinated: 8,376Fully vaccinated: 3,859Boosted: 7,648
Rates per 100,000
CasesUnvaccinated: 329.6Fully vaccinated: 116.4Boosted: 222.8
Vaccinated (as of June 11)Fully vaccinated: 76.3 percentBoosted: 37 percent
New Mexico (July 4–Aug. 1)Numbers and rates
CasesUnvaccinated: 9,316Fully vaccinated: 4,584Boosted: 10,666
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 323Fully vaccinated: 134Boosted: 264
DeathsUnvaccinated: 22Fully vaccinated: 11Boosted: 34
Rates per 100,000
CasesUnvaccinated: 1,834Fully vaccinated: 818Boosted: 1,218
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 91Fully vaccinated: 31Boosted: 23
DeathsUnvaccinated: 7Fully vaccinated: 3Boosted: 2.6
Vaccinated (as of June 23)Fully vaccinated: 72.1 percentBoosted: 41.8 percent
Oregon (July)NumbersHospitalization and death data not provided
CasesUnvaccinated: 18,622Fully vaccinated: 6,992Boosted: 14,388
Vaccinated (as of July 20)Fully vaccinated: 69 percentBoosted: 39 percent
Utah (June 5–June 26)Numbers and rates
CasesUnvaccinated: 8,472Fully vaccinated: 6,539Boosted: 11,317
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 297Fully vaccinated: 208Boosted: 415
DeathsUnvaccinated: 27Fully vaccinated: 0 (listed as “under 5” for parts of time period)Boosted: 13
Rates per 100,000
CasesUnvaccinated: 1,267Fully vaccinated: 707Boosted: 1,117
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 60Fully vaccinated: 30Boosted: 31
DeathsUnvaccinated: 7Fully vaccinated: 2Boosted: 1
Vaccinated (as of July 24)Fully vaccinated: 63 percentBoosted: 30 percent
Vermont (June)Numbers
CasesNot fully vaccinated: 863Fully vaccinated: 567Boosted: 1,396
HospitalizationsNot fully vaccinated: 6Fully vaccinated: 6Boosted: 26
DeathsNot fully vaccinated: 1Fully vaccinated: 1Boosted: 9
Vaccinated (as of June 29)Fully vaccinated: 82 percentBoosted: 51 percent
Wisconsin (June)Numbers and rates
CasesUnvaccinated: 17,071Fully vaccinated: 10,295Boosted: 21,407
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 351Fully vaccinated: 205Boosted: 429
DeathsUnvaccinated: 35Fully vaccinated: 21Boosted: 48
Rates per 100,000
CasesUnvaccinated: 836.6Fully vaccinated: 306.6Boosted: 803.5
HospitalizationsUnvaccinated: 24Fully vaccinated: 4.8Boosted: 9.2
DeathsUnvaccinated: 3.2Fully vaccinated: 0.5Boosted: 0.9
Vaccinated (as of Aug. 30)Fully vaccinated: 61.6 percentBoosted: 35.4 percent
Wyoming (June)NumbersHospitalization data not provided
CasesUnvaccinated: 3,706Fully vaccinated: 970Boosted: 1,351
DeathsUnvaccinated: 8Fully vaccinated: 3Boosted: 3
Vaccinated (as of July 1)Fully vaccinated: 42.7 percentBoosted: 20.9 percent

Notes: Case, hospitalization, and death data from state health departments. Most vaccination data is from the states, supplemented by other sources, primarily the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bold lines denote when the proportion of a metric among the boosted exceeds the population of boosted. 

Adjusted Data

Some experts say one can’t derive much from state-level data, particularly if it has not been adjusted.

“The problem with these data is that there are so many missing variables which could confound (bias) the outcomes being followed,” Dr. Andrew Bostom, a former associate professor of medicine at Brown University, told The Epoch Times via email.

For data regarding vaccination, it’s best to utilize randomized or randomized controlled trials, he added, pointing to a paper that found vaccinated people were more likely to suffer a serious adverse event after analyzing data from the original clinical trials.

Some states did adjust data for age, accounting for the fact that older people are more likely to receive not only the original vaccine series, but boosters. All eight states which provided or listed age-adjusted rates showed higher rates for at least one metric among the boosted when compared to the fully vaccinated. In Wisconsin, for example, the rate of hospitalizations among the boosted was 9.2 per 100,000—nearly double the fully vaccinated.

In two of the states—Minnesota and New Mexico—rates for cases among the boosted were even higher than the unvaccinated.

Pfizer and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment.

Not Higher Among Boosted

To be included in the review, states needed to report figures for at least one metric broken down by vaccination status, and a breakdown by time. States that would only provide data since the beginning of the pandemic, or would not provide data by daily, weekly, or monthly increments, were excluded. So were states that would not separate the boosted from the fully vaccinated.

In the other states with sufficient data, none of the metrics were higher in the boosted compared with the fully vaccinated.

North Carolina (July 31–Aug. 6).
Case data not provided.

Unvaccinated: 50.6 percent
Fully vaccinated: 29.4 percent
Boosted: 19.9 percent

Deaths (rate per 100,000 for four weeks through July 30)
Unvaccinated: 2.23
Fully vaccinated: 0.45
Boosted: 0.26

The data covers a period of time before new boosters were available. The old boosters became unavailable in the fall when regulators authorized the new, bivalent boosters. There remains no clinical trial data for the new boosters but real-world studies have estimated they provide suboptimal protection against infection and good protection, at least initially, against hospitalization.

Negative Effectiveness

The data dovetails with a growing body of research that has detected negative vaccine effectiveness after a period of time and a higher likelihood of getting infected among people with more doses.

Researchers with the Cleveland Clinic, for instance, reported this month in a preprint study (pdf) that each successive dose heightened the chance a person tested positive.

The researchers called the finding “unexpected” and cast doubt on the “simplistic explanation” offered by some that people at higher risk from COVID-19 are more likely to receive more doses.

Another study, published in November (pdf), found people who received three doses of a vaccine tested positive more than people who received two doses.

“This finding suggests that the immune response against the primary omicron infection was compromised by differential immune imprinting in those who received a third booster dose, consistent with emerging laboratory science data,” the authors, including Laith Abu-Raddad, an infectious disease expert at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, wrote.

A growing number of researchers fear that people’s immune systems are trained by the shots to react to older virus strains. The shots targeted the original Wuhan strain for years. The updated shots, which are only available as boosters, target the Wuhan strain and a sublineage of the BA.4/BA.5 Omicron subvariants. Those subvariants are already being displaced by newer, more immune-evasive strains (pdf).

“The literature predicted that there was a high risk of exacerbation of immune imprinting using this booster strategy,” Malone said, “and the data are consistent with that.”

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