MONDAY, March 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates increased during the period of omicron predominance, with the lowest rates among vaccinated adults who had received a booster or additional dose, according to research published in the March 18 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Christopher A. Taylor, Ph.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, and colleagues analyzed data from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network to compare COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates among adults aged 18 years or older during the periods of delta (July 1 to Dec. 18, 2021) and omicron (Dec. 19, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022) variant predominance.

The researchers found that the weekly COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates (hospitalization per 100,000 adults) peaked at 38.4 during the omicron-predominant period compared with 15.5 during delta predominance. Increases were seen in hospitalization rates among all adults, regardless of vaccination status. Among unvaccinated adults, hospitalization rates during peak omicron circulation remained 12 times higher than among vaccinated adults who received booster or additional doses and four times higher than among adults who received a primary series with no booster or additional dose. Peak hospitalization rates were nearly four times higher among non-Hispanic Black versus non-Hispanic White adults during the omicron-predominant period; this rate was the highest seen among any racial and ethnic group during the pandemic.

“These findings suggest that the increased risk for hospitalization among Black adults during the Omicron-predominant period might also be due, in part, to lower proportions of Black adults receiving both the primary vaccination series and booster doses,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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