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Majority of COVID-19 Deaths, Hospitalizations Occur in the Unvaccinated, Epidemiologist Says

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Majority of COVID-19 Deaths, Hospitalizations Occur in the Unvaccinated, Epidemiologist Says

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Comal County Epidemiologist Connie Alaniz. File image.

Comal County Epidemiologist Connie Alaniz said today the majority of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.

Most deaths also occur in those not immunized against the virus, she said.

However, Alaniz said data on hospitalization-vaccination history is not reported in all cases, and — even if publicly available — would not present an accurate picture of what is actually occurring with the virus.

There are no reports of the Delta variant in the county, she said in an email. Specimens are sequenced randomly. Only 83-percent of specimens are actually sequenced by the state.

Alaniz also denied reports that COVID-19 vaccines are responsible for the variant.

“Coronavirus, just like the flu virus, adapts and changes,” she said. “This is expected, and this is what it is doing.”

But getting vaccinated won’t confer residents with complete immunity from COVID-19.

“Even if you’re vaccinated, you could get COVID-19,” Alaniz said. “However, current data still suggests that being vaccinated decreases your chance of requiring hospitalization or dying from the disease. No vaccine is 100%. The COVID-19 vaccine is one layer of protection against this respiratory virus. There are several things we still need to be doing to protect ourselves and our family members.”

Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-New Braunfels spokesperson Nikela Pradier said the hospital does not release information about the vaccination status of its patients.

Friday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that 85.5% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States occur in the unvaccinated and that 97% of people hospitalized with the virus also are unvaccinated.

“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” she said.

About Connie Alaniz

Alaniz was hired by Comal County in April 2020 after retiring in 2018 from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

For nine years she served as an epidemiologist with DSHS Region 8 in San Antonio, which includes Comal County. She investigated individual cases and outbreaks of foodborne, waterborne, invasive respiratory, and vaccine-preventable illness and was part of the team that investigated outbreaks of listeria, salmonella, legionella, pertussis, and influenza.

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