WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Compared with individuals with natural COVID-19 immunity from previous infection, individuals who are vaccinated have lower rates of all-cause emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and mortality, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Wanzhu Tu, Ph.D., from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues compared the cumulative incidence of infection, all-cause emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and mortality among 267,847 matched pairs of individuals who received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and individuals with previous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.

The researchers found that six months after the index date, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was significantly higher in vaccine recipients (6.7 percent) than in those previously infected (2.9 percent). However, among the vaccinated individuals, all-cause mortality was 37 percent lower than that of the previously infected. Similarly, the rates of all-cause emergency department visits and hospitalizations were 24 and 37 percent lower, respectively, in the vaccinated than in the previously infected individuals.

“The significantly lower rates of all-cause emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and mortality in the vaccinated highlight the real-world benefits of vaccination,” the authors write. “The data raise questions about the wisdom of reliance on natural immunity when safe and effective vaccines are available.”

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