Study: COVID vaccination rates do not correlate with lower infections

In a comparison of 68 countries and 2,947 counties in the U.S., a new study concludes that jurisdictions with high vaccination rates do not have lower infection rates. 

A recent study just published in the European Journal of Epidemiology demonstrated that vaccination rates did not have an effect on new cases of COVID in the first week of September. The study examined 68 counties around the world and compared COVID-19 cases per 1 million people for each country to the percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated. It found “no discernable relationship between percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days” (see figure below). 

 

Relationship between cases per 1 million people (last 7 days) and percentage of population fully vaccinated across 68 countries as of September 3, 2021 (See Table S1 for the underlying data)

“In fact, the trend line suggests a marginally positive association such that countries with higher percentage of population fully vaccinated have higher COVID-19 cases per 1 million people. Notably, Israel with over 60% of their population fully vaccinated had the highest COVID-19 cases per 1 million people in the last 7 days. The lack of a meaningful association between percentage population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases is further exemplified, for instance, by comparison of Iceland and Portugal. Both countries have over 75% of their population fully vaccinated and have more COVID-19 cases per 1 million people than countries such as Vietnam and South Africa that have around 10% of their population fully vaccinated.” The study concluded.

A similar observation is made when looking at the U.S. counties. “There also appears to be no significant signaling of COVID-19 cases decreasing with higher percentages of population fully vaccinated” the study reports. 

Percentage of counties that experienced an increase of cases between two consecutive 7-day time periods by percentage of population fully vaccinated across 2947 counties as of September 2, 2021

While the data in this study is a snapshot of changes in the first week of September, it provides a link to historical data where one can see other weeks as well. This latest study confirms what many others have been observing, that even a successful vaccination campaign does not reduce new COVID cases.  

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