People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are not only less likely to die from the virus, but they’re also less likely to die from any cause in the months following vaccination, according to a new study.
The study team, which included researchers from the CDC and health care groups across seven states, found the results while studying the safety of the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
The results were published Friday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States have shown again and again to be safe. This study also confirms their safety,” Stanley Xu, who led the study team and is a researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, told CNN.
“In fact, it shows that people vaccinated for COVID-19 had lower death rates than those who were not vaccinated, even when COVID deaths were excluded,” he said. “That’s in addition to the mounting evidence from other studies showing that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against COVID-19 infection, serious illness, and death.”
The research team studied 11 million people, including 6.4 million people who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and 4.6 million people who had received flu shots in recent years but hadn’t received a COVID-19 vaccine. They filtered out anyone who had died from COVID-19 to analyze the non-coronavirus deaths.
Between December 2020 to July 2021, COVID-19 vaccine recipients had lower rates of non-COVID-19 mortality than unvaccinated people, including adjustments for age, race and ethnicity, sex, and geographic location.
Those who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 34% as likely to die from non-coronavirus causes in the months after vaccination as unvaccinated people. Those who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine were 31% as likely to die as unvaccinated people, and those who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine were 54% as likely to die.
One explanation could be that people who get vaccinated, in general, tend to be healthier than people who don’t, the researchers said, noting that they plan to study this more in the future.
“There is no increased risk for mortality among COVID-19 vaccine recipients,” they wrote. “This finding reinforces the safety profile of currently approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.”