More Covid-19 cases among vaccinated but benefits of jab clear, says expert

Two-thirds of people testing positive are vaccinated but over 90% of adults have had jab

The latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show 5,673 people who were vaccinated and 2,839 people who were unvaccinated tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending November 12th, a ratio of almost exactly two to one.

The figures are provisional as the vaccination status of 15,593 people who tested positive has yet to be been determined.

However, previous weeks, when there was a much smaller number of unknowns, the pattern was similar. The vaccinated constituted 62 per cent of positive cases during the week ending October 22nd, 69 per cent in the week ending October 29th and 71 per cent in the week ending November 5th.

As vaccinated people outnumber unvaccinated people in the State by more than nine to one the numbers still clearly indicate that unvaccinated people are far more likely to get Covid-19 and almost all of those who are vaccinated but become seriously ill are report having had a underlying medical condition.


Trinity College Dublin (TCD) immunologist Professor Kingston Mills said the results were not a "great surprise" given that vaccinated people are an overwhelming majority of the population.

As vaccinations wane, he anticipates that the percentage of people who are fully vaccinated who get Covid-19 will increase.

He stressed the unvaccinated are still more likely to get Covid-19. “There is a huge benefit to the vaccine, but there is still a significant number of vaccinated people who get infected,” he explained.

"There is still a huge benefit in getting the vaccine and that benefit increases as you go through hospitalisations and ICU. The vaccines do protect some people, but they are struggling to prevent mild infection in some people. These vaccines were designed to take care of the Wuhan strain not the Delta strain," he said.

A study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) show that unvaccinated people are six times more likely to get Covid-19 than vaccinated people.

The CSO figures show that unvaccinated foreign nationals are over-represented in ICU admissions for Covid-19.

They constitute just over a quarter of all admissions to ICU in the months of September and October.

According to the Central Statistics Office, 28 per cent of those who contracted the virus during that period and were admitted to an ICU were not born in Ireland with 90 per cent of those reported to have been unvaccinated.

More than half (54 per cent) of all of those admitted to ICUs in September and October said they were not vaccinated though the numbers of vaccinated adults have consistently been above 90 per cent in that time frame.

Almost 84 per cent of those who contracted Covid-19 in September and October and were admitted to an ICU had an underlying health condition while people aged 65 and over have accounted for half of all those hospitalised through the whole period of the pandemic.

Almost all (97 per cent ) of those who contracted Covid-19 in September and October and were admitted to an ICU despite having been vaccinated had an underlying health condition.

In the week ending November 12th there were 24,105 confirmed cases of Covid-19 of whom 5,355 were in the largely unvaccinated 0 to 14 age group.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times