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Vaccines offer nearly 90% protection from COVID-19, LTU study finds

Release Date: March 1, 2022
SOUTHFIELD—People fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 are nearly 90 percent less likely to get sick, be hospitalized, and die of the disease, according to a new study from Lawrence Technological University.

The study analyzed data on coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by vaccination status from the Commonwealth of Virginia between Jan. 23 and Sept. 11, 2021.

Lead study author Matthew Johnston, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at LTU, said the study was sparked by a former colleague’s social media post last summer about “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“I wondered, is that sound bite true?” Johnston said. “I got to thinking we could do some modeling, take some data and stratify the population by vaccination status.”
Johnston said the study looked at Virginia because the commonwealth was the first state that responded to his inquiries with good-quality data that was available to the public.

The study found that during the time window of the data, fully vaccinated people were 89.8 percent less likely to become infected with the novel coronavirus, 88.5 percent less likely to be hospitalized with the disease it causes, COVID-19, and 85.7 percent less likely to die of COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.

“It’s very clear that people who are vaccinated have a very different outcome from COVID than the unvaccinated, at least through the time window we studied,” Johnston said. The time period of the study incorporated the rise of the coronavirus’ Delta variant.

The study, “A Mathematical Study of COVID-19 Spread by Vaccination Status in Virginia,” was published Feb. 8 in the scholarly journal Applied Sciences. It’s available at https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/12/3/1723.

Co-authors of the study with Johnston are LTU colleagues Bruce Pell, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, and Patrick Nelson, professor and chair of the LTU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Going forward, Johnston said he’s working with an LTU student to update the study with Michigan data through the end of January, using information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Pell is now analyzing the Michigan data to determine when immunity from the vaccines begins to fade, to help scientists determine how frequently booster shots should be given. These studies will concentrate on the coronavirus’ Omicron variant that emerged late last year.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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