Younger people now make up more hospitalizations in Houston, doctors say

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In Harris County, 54% of people who are 12 or older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The people ending up in the hospital are individuals who have not been vaccinated.

According to Memorial Hermann Hospital, 99% of people hospitalized with the virus are not vaccinated, but what they're seeing now is that the people hospitalized are younger than before.

People in their 20s, 30s and 40s make up 40% of hospitalizations. That wasn't the case six months ago.

In January and February, older adults were the ones hospitalized, but now, that population has been vaccinated.

"Some of that you would expect," said Dr. James McCarthy, the executive vice president and chief physicians executive at Memorial Hermann. "We've done a great job of vaccinating everybody over the age of 65, so of course, many of them are protected. There's just going to be fewer of them, but what's important is that the percentage of the admissions that are going to the ICU, about 22% of the people we admit to the hospital, end up in the ICU. That number has stayed constant."

In fact, McCarthy said since July 4, COVID hospitalizations are up by more than 200%.

So we've heard about breakthrough cases, but is one vaccine better than another?

The vaccine was really designed to protect against severe disease, meaning hospitalizations and deaths. All three vaccines, which are the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna vaccines, do very well at getting that done.

Still, there are breakthrough cases.

Dr. Robert Atmar with Baylor College of Medicine said there's no data available at this point concerning which vaccine people have taken who have had a breakthrough case.

He believes that data is being collected but said the mRNA vaccines are more efficacious overall.

"I have my bias," said Atmar. "I don't want to get sick. If I can avoid getting sick and the mRNA vaccines are better at that, but they're two doses verses a single dose of the J&J vaccine."

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