Fact Check: Because There Are Few Unvaccinated Australians, Fully Vaccinated People DO Outnumber The Unvaccinated In Hospitalizations

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Because There Are Few Unvaccinated Australians, Fully Vaccinated People DO Outnumber The Unvaccinated In Hospitalizations High Vax Rate

Do the number of fully vaccinated people who are hospitalized outnumber unvaccinated hospitalized in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW)? Yes, that's true: But simple ratios don't tell the full story. The figures are found in the COVID-19 weekly surveillance report by NSW Health published on January 20, 2022. The proportion of unvaccinated people who end up hospitalized due to COVID is still much higher compared to the proportion of fully vaccinated. However, due to the high vaccination rate in Australia (91.5 percent of those age 12 or older), there are so few unvaccinated people left that most hospitalized people have received two shots, the surveillance report says.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published to YouTube by Facts Matter with Roman Balmakov on January 13, 2022, under the title "Fully Vaccinated People Hospitalized For Virus Surpass Unvaccinated, in Australia | Facts Matter." It opened:

Four days ago, over in Australia, new government data was released which show that despite them having some of the most draconian vaccine mandates in the entire world, well, at this very moment, there are more fully vaccinated patients who are hospitalized with COVID compared to the number of unvaccinated patients.

Click below to watch the video on YouTube:

Roman Balmakov is a reporter with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "Facts Matter." While he's correct that there are more fully vaccinated people (two effective doses) hospitalized in NSW than unvaccinated (no effective dose), he doesn't present the numbers in their proper context. Because 91.5 percent of those 12 and above are fully vaccinated in the Australian state, there's a very small pool of unvaccinated people who could potentially get sick. Table 5 of the NSW Health surveillance report shows 2,627 fully vaccinated people hospitalized compared to 315 of the unvaccinated. But the fully vaccinated are just 1% of the total cases for that group, while the hospitalized unvaccinated are nearly 9% of their group:

Table 5.png

(Source: NSW Health screenshot taken on Fri Jan 21 18:24:29 2022 UTC)

The surveillance report breaks down the total COVID case numbers further (Page 7):

  • Among cases since 26 November 2021, although the number of hospitalisations, admissions to ICU and deaths is greater among those who had received two effective doses than those with no effective dose, the proportion of cases with these outcomes is still much higher among those with no effective dose.
  • Among cases aged 12 years and over with no effective dose, 8.9% of cases were hospitalised, 1.5% of cases were admitted to ICU, and 0.6% of cases died. In comparison, among cases who had received two effective doses, 1.0% of cases were hospitalised, 0.1% were admitted to ICU, and less than 0.1% died.
  • COVID-19 is relatively mild in most young children aged 0-11 years who are ineligible for vaccination: among cases in this group, 0.6% were hospitalised, less than 0.1% were admitted to ICU, and less than 0.1% have died.

The figures show the unvaccinated are getting sick at a higher rate than the fully vaccinated and are more likely to end up in the intensive care unit (ICU) or die. These numbers hold even with a surge in COVID cases due to the omicron variant. Just under a third of Australia's population lives in NSW.

Lead Stories has previously debunked claims that didn't present COVID numbers in correct context:

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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