In recent months, there has been a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the fully vaccinated portion of the Pennsylvania population.
And the data is at best five weeks old.
The latest sign of the trend is the latest Tower Health update, which showed on Tuesday that eight out of 11 patients were considered fully vaccinated.
That criterion is the two-dose course of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose course of the Johnson & Johnson product. But the fully vaccinated name sticks no matter how long it’s been since the last shot, and vaccinations have slowed down to a trickle.
“The Department of Health recommends that everyone who is eligible for vaccines to updated (for most people 12 years and older, that means fully vaccinated and boosted), with their vaccine regimen to protect themselves from COVID-19 and its multiple variants,” said Mark O’Neill, press secretary for the agency in an emailed statement. -mail, with the bold “While vaccine effectiveness may decline over time, booster shots have been and continue to be widely available to provide additional protection to people in the state and nation.”
The increasing number of people whose vaccination protections have declined comes amid the second wave of omicron spawned by the derivatives of the original omicron that swept through the population in a matter of weeks in early 2022.
The derivatives have been shown to be less likely to cause hospitalization and death.
When the total number of cases decreased in February and April, the percentage of cases among the vaccinated started to increase. The baseline was in the range of 20% to 25%, but:
• 56% of cases for the 35 days ending April 11.
• 37% of hospital admissions over the same period.
• 47% of deaths in February.
It is unclear why the death records are not up to date.
In Berks County, nearly 2 in 3 residents are considered fully vaccinated, but vaccination statistics for the past five weeks have been dominated by the category of second boosters and fourth doses for the immunocompromised.
Before that, going back to October, boosters and third shots were the most commonly given. However, the height of the ommicron wave caused a rush of first and second shots.
Many of those people would now be booster candidates.
“The reality is that in the United States there are a lot of people who qualify for a booster injection but haven’t received one yet,” O’Neill said. “The department continues to strongly urge anyone who qualifies for a booster injection to get one as soon as possible. As the ministry has repeatedly stated in recent months, the pandemic is not over and families must use all available means to protect themselves, including keeping their vaccines up to date.”
In addition, people who die for any reason are not removed from the vaccination rolls. It is unclear how large the number has become after 18 months of vaccinations.
Berk’s weekly update
The upward trend in COVID cases continued for the sixth week in Berks County and across Pennsylvania in the most recent Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
It was the largest weekly increase yet in the second ommicron wave over Pa., with the state now averaging about 3,000 cases per day.
However, Berks remains well below the state average in key metrics, fueling the rise of the state in some counties that were previously relatively safe havens.
Berks saw a nearly 50% increase in the infection rate to 77.4 cases per 100,000 of the population and a 10.8% positivity rate, an increase of more than 2 points in a week. The population is 429,000.
The total state numbers are 128.9 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 13.9%.
Adjacent counties that have previously performed well during the pandemic but are hot include:
• Chester: 143.6 cases per 100,000 and 15.4%.
• Montgomery: 175.2 per 100,000 and 17.4%.
Chester has about 100,000 more residents than Berks and Montgomery has nearly double the population. Both were as Berks is now for most of the past year: below the state average.
Another province in the region that contributes to the state numbers is Lucerne with 215.2 and 18.2% respectively.
Some statistics in this second ommicron peak would have alarmed state health officials at phases of the pandemic period. The pandemic has not yet been officially declared over.
Pennsylvania dropped daily updates on May 4 and moved to weekly updates from the main COVID dashboard and monthly press releases on cases, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations.
The most recent vaccination totals for Berks include:
• 246,490: Completed two-dose Pfizer or Moderna treatment.
• 113,855: Had at least one booster dose or additional injection for immunocompromised.
• 11,650: Received a second booster or other extra dose for immunocompromised.
The number of COVID deaths from Berks residents is 1,595, with COVID deaths recorded in Berks at 1,455.
Hundreds of Berks residents have died outside the county and a smaller number of non-residents have died in Berks. The exact numbers are no longer kept.
The national picture
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the third ommicron derivative, known as BA.2.12.2, continued to gain ground. It is responsible for at least part of the mild rise in cases.
Nationally it is 46.2%, but in the mid-Atlantic it is 48.1%.
The second derivative of omicron, BA.2, remains dominant at 56.4% nationally and 51.3% in the mid-Atlantic.
The original ommicron and its first derivative have been nearly squeezed out of existence.
Nationally, the seven-day average has more than tripled since bottoming out after the first ommicron blitz, according to the CDC.
The latest seven-day average is 87,382 cases, according to the CDC. The 2022 low in the seven-day average was 24,843 on March 29.
The current seven-day average is still less than 11% of the same average at the peak of the ommicron wave.
The unknown component remains the number of people testing at home and not reporting the results.