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Covid-19: the majority unvaccinated in intensive care, really?

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” Lthe facts are there. At the press conference on Monday, December 27, where he announced new restrictions to deal with the fifth meteoric wave of Covid-19, Prime Minister Jean Castex was adamant. “In all critical care services, the vast majority of people hospitalized with severe forms of Covid are not vaccinated or do not have full vaccination coverage. »An affirmation repeated the next day during a trip to Créteil.

“This information is not verifiable, and it’s a shame”, tackle, on Twitter, Guillaume Rozier, founder of the CovidTracker site, which deciphers the official indicators since the start of the epidemic. The Prime Minister would therefore launch figures on the fly to push at all costs the last refractory to be vaccinated? It’s more complicated.

Covid-19: the number of cases explodes among young people in France

The unvaccinated over-represented in the hospital

Data exists. The Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics Department (DREES) publishes weekly figures from the cross-referencing of the various databases of Public Health France: vaccines, tests, hospitalizations, etc. And they clearly show that the non -vaccinated are much more exposed to Covid-19, especially to severe forms of the disease. From 1er as of 12 December, only 8% of those over 20 had not been vaccinated at all. However, they represented 23% of positive PCR tests, 44% of hospitalizations, 55% of critical care admissions and 40% of deaths.

If these data show that the unvaccinated are overrepresented in relation to the population they constitute – and demonstrate the effectiveness of vaccination – the latter are only slightly in the majority, in volume, in critical care admissions. This is not surprising, with 92% of those over 20 vaccinated, but it does not correspond to what Jean Castex says.

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This does not mean, however, that the Prime Minister’s claim is false. We must note a small subtlety in the figures of the DREES: they count the new hospitalizations and admissions in critical care, but not the number of beds occupied at a time T. If the vaccinated patients emerged faster than the others, that could explain that they don’t occupy that many beds. But these data do not allow to know. Another limitation of these figures: they link the hospitalizations and admissions in critical care to the existence of a positive PCR test for the patient, but it is not known if the Covid-19 is the reason why he is treated at the hospital, or if they have only a mild or asymptomatic form of the disease while being treated for something else.

Wet finger estimates

Jean Castex does not, however, have more precise data. His statements, the Prime Minister bases them on “his observations and what the heads of the Covid departments of hospitals tell him”, specifies Matignon in Point. The situation of many intensive care units corresponds in fact to that described by the head of government. “In my CHU, of the eight people hospitalized in intensive care, seven were not vaccinated”, reported on December 20 on France Info Jean-Paul Stahl, infectious disease specialist at Grenoble University Hospital. On December 22 in Bordeaux, six unvaccinated out of seven patients with Covid-19 in intensive care, reports France 3. At the northern hospital of Marseille, where The JDD spent Christmas Eve, nine unvaccinated out of ten occupied beds. In Toulouse, reports France Bleu on December 28, none of the 34 patients in intensive care is vaccinated.

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Sometimes it’s a little less: five for ten at the Châteauroux hospital in mid-December, for example. Asked about BFMTV on December 22, the Minister of Health was also more cautious, indicating that the non-vaccinated represented in the intensive care units “according to the hospitals, 50%, 80%, in some services 90% “Of the sick, that is, on average,” a small majority on a national scale “- when Jean Castex speaks of an” immense majority “. But, said Olivier Véran, that does not disqualify vaccines for all that. The other patients are almost all “very fragile” and therefore less reactive to the vaccine: elderly people, with chronic diseases, immunocompromised … This is what observes for example the CHRU of Nancy. As of December 28, out of 33 patients with Covid-19 in intensive care, 24 were not vaccinated, and, among the 9 others, 4 were suffering from commorbidities or had received their last injection more than 6 months ago.

If we take the data from the DREES, and add to the unvaccinated those who have only received a single dose of vaccine, or whose vaccination dates back more than six months and have not done so. As a reminder, the numbers are leaping. This population, not or not fully vaccinated, represents 1er as of December 12, 66% of hospitalizations, 72% of critical care admissions and 73% of deaths. The effectiveness of the vaccination and the booster dose on severe forms is indisputable. To convince the last refractories, the government would have everything to gain by relying on complete and indisputable statistics of the vaccination profile of patients occupying hospital beds. For the moment, it is satisfied with partial data, consolidated by wet finger estimates.


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