White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was forced to explain to a Fox News reporter that vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent severe COVID-19 infections after the reporter suggested that coronavirus is “a pandemic of the vaccinated.”
“The president yesterday said that this continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Jacqui Heinrich said at the White House Press Briefing earlier today. “Isn’t it also fair to say that it’s still also a pandemic of the vaccinated, given the break-through cases?”
Get the Daily Brief
The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you:
“Well, Jackie, we also know that you are 17 times more likely to die of COVID if you are not vaccinated and 20 times more likely to be hospitalized,” Psaki responded. “So I think in terms of the impact – the dire impact on people across the country – we should be very clear about the impact of not getting vaccinated and the people who will be hurt, be hospitalized, and face the threat of death the most, and those are the people who are unvaccinated.”
it's depressing that Jen Psaki still has to explain this pic.twitter.com/j08ResdxcL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 5, 2022
A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation in December said that 163,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented if everyone had gotten vaccinated when they could.
The organization noted that there were 33,000 deaths from COVID in November alone, and 29,100 were among the unvaccinated. That means that 88% of COVID deaths that month were among the unvaccinated even though the CDC reports that only 15% of U.S. adults had not gotten at least one dose of a vaccine by December 2021.
Coronavirus was a leading cause of death last year even in age groups that are generally not believed to be at risk of dying from COVID, including children and adults under the age of 24.
So while people who are vaccinated can still have a detectable COVID viral load, the vast majority of deaths due to COVID are among the unvaccinated.