COVID-19 Round-Up: Moderna Vaccine Most Effective, Hospitalizing the Unvaxxed is Costly; and More

Moderna Vaccine Beats out Pfizer and J&J in Efficacy

According to the findings of a head-to-head study of all three authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., the Moderna vaccine is slightly more effective than Pfizer’s at keeping people out of the hospital. Moderna’s vaccine provided 93% protection as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while Pfizer’s vaccine was 88%. Johnson & Johnson’s one shot vaccine is is considerably lower, but still effective, at 71%.

“Among U.S. adults without immunocompromising conditions, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 hospitalization during March 11–August 15, 2021, was higher for the Moderna vaccine (93%) than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (88%) and the Janssen vaccine (71%),” the team wrote in the CDC’s weekly report on death and disease, the MMWR, via a CNN report.

Hospitalizing the Unvaccinated is Extremely Costly 

The cost of providing hospital care for unvaccinated Americans has reached $5.7 billion in just three months, CBS News reported. In the new report, the KFF-Peterson team used data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to estimate the average cost of hospitalization with COVID-19 at $20,000 per person. They then calculated the overall expense at $5.7 billion. “This ballpark figure is likely an understatement of the cost burden from preventable treatment of COVID-19 among unvaccinated adults,” the authors wrote, noting that the study doesn’t account for outpatient costs.

COVID-19 Booster Doses Have Similar Safety Profiles as First Two Doses

The findings of a study from Israel suggest that COVID-19 booster doses do not appear to have additional events or safety concerns compared to the first two doses of the vaccine. “We didn’t see any new types of adverse events and the rate, to be modest, is at least the same if not lower,” Dr. Sharon Elroy-Preiss, director of public health services at Israel’s Ministry of Health, told the US Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) in a meeting Friday, per a CNN report.

COVID School Closures Take Mental Toll on Older Children

Older children, Black and Hispanic children, and children from families with lower income who attended school remotely during the pandemic in 2020 experienced disproportionate mental health difficulties, according to a study published online ­Sept. 3 in JAMA Network Open. The analysis included survey responses collected between Dec. 2 and Dec. 21, 2020, from 2,324 U.S. adults with at least one school-aged child living in their household. “These findings suggest that allocating funding to support safe in-person instruction may reduce mental health inequities associated with race/ethnicity and income,” the authors write.