The vaccines against Covid-19 are working. The best evidence of this is data from Spain showing that the unvaccinated in the 60-80 population are 25 times more at risk of dying from Covid-19, compared to those who have been fully immunized in the same age group. What’s more, with nearly 80% of the population in Spain fully vaccinated, the incidence rate among the unvaccinated is nearly triple that of those who have received their shots.
The Spanish Health Ministry on Tuesday revealed for the first time an in-depth picture of how the coronavirus affects the vaccinated and unvaccinated population differently. This data received a lot of attention on social media, particularly two graphs that showed the level of protection among the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. One of the most shared and retweeted images on Twitter was published by journalist Eduardo Súarez. This graph uses the same data as the one in Súarez’s table.
Last week, new data also highlighted the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines at preventing serious illness and death. Some 60% of Covid-19 patients in Spain’s intensive care units (ICUs) are unvaccinated, according to figures provided by the regions. This led many to raise questions about the other 40%, which was argued to be an extremely high figure. This argument, however, did not take into account the fact that in Spain, many more people are vaccinated than unvaccinated. In other words, the 60% of unvaccinated ICU patients must be seen in the context of a much smaller group of people. This is better understood visually, for example, in the graph posted on Twitter by Belgian journalist Noël Slangen. Since being shared on November 19, it has been retweeted more than 5,800 times. The graph at the top of this article has been formulated using a similar design, but with data specific to Spain.
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias repeated on Tuesday the key message of her department: “Vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate continues to be the best path.” An earlier October study from the Health Ministry found that vaccination reduces the risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 by more than 90% in most age groups.
The Covid-19 vaccination drive in Spain has been one of the most successful in Europe. Nearly eight in 10 residents are fully vaccinated in Spain, compared to the EU average of 65%.