- COVID-19 vaccines saved nearly 265,000 seniors from disease and 39,000 from death by early 2021, a new report finds
- HHS researchers analyzed Medicare data and county-level vaccination rates, finding that counties with more vaccinations saw fewer Covid cases among seniors
- Highly vaccinated counties saw 450 fewer COVID cases per 100,000 senior citizens, compared to the rate of possible cases if vaccines were not available
- Study shows importance of vaccination, especially for older adults and others who are more vulnerable to severe COVID
- But young adults also need to get their shots to protect seniors in their community – for every 10% increase in the county’s vaccination rate among adults aged 18-64, seniors die from Covid. had a 12% lower risk, analysis finds
A new report finds that vaccination against COVID-19 saved nearly 265,000 seniors from the disease and 39,000 from deaths by early 2021.
Researchers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who analyzed Medicare data and county-level vaccination rates found that counties with more vaccinations saw fewer COVID-related health problems among seniors.
Counties with the highest vaccination rates saw about 450 fewer COVID cases per 100,000 senior citizens, compared to potential case rates if vaccines were not available.
For the counties with the lowest vaccination rates, this reduction was only 180 fewer cases per 100,000 senior citizens.
The study shows the importance of vaccination, especially for older adults and others vulnerable to severe COVID cases.
But getting vaccinated for older adults isn’t enough — young adults need to get their shots, too, to protect seniors in their community, the researchers said.
A new HHS report found that COVID vaccines protected thousands of cases and deaths of senior citizens in the first five months of 2021. Pictured: A Safeway pharmacist operates a Booster Shot A clinic in San Rafael, California, October 2021
Counties with high vaccination rates among both seniors and young adults saw fewer COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths as vaccine rollouts continued
During the COVID pandemic, senior citizens have been particularly vulnerable to this new disease.
HHS estimates that around 80 percent of Covid deaths in 2020 occurred in seniors.
The impact of COVID was particularly severe for senior citizens living in nursing homes and other mass facilities.
Nearly one in ten nursing home residents died of COVID in the first year of the pandemic, according to Analysis by the COVID Tracking Project.
As a result, when COVID vaccines became available in the US, seniors were one of the first groups to queue for shots – followed by nursing home residents and healthcare workers.
A new report from HHS – published on tuesday – Shows how paid vaccinations among seniors were made to protect this vulnerable population from COVID in 2021.
Researchers from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation estimated cases, hospitalizations and deaths for seniors saved by vaccines.
Using individual-level Medicare claims data and county-level vaccination rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers studied a group of 25 million seniors enrolled in Medicare.
They focused on the first five months of the vaccination rollout from January 2021 to May 2021.
For seniors in the study, a 10 percent increase in a county’s vaccination rate for older adults was associated with an 11 percent lower chance of a coronavirus infection.
Dr Claudia Hoyn said, “The fact that you were able to prevent many deaths and many cases and hospitalizations in just a few months, when people could be vaccinated, it really shows you that the vaccine Works.” an infectious disease specialist who did not work on the study, told CNN.
Researchers found a similar pattern for vaccination in young adults aged 18 to 64.
Researchers estimate that in a group of 25 million seniors, there were about 107,000 fewer COVID cases in the first five months of 2021 than we would have seen without vaccines.
For every 10 percent vaccination increase in this young age group, seniors in the county had an 11 percent lower chance of being hospitalized for Covid and 12 percent less likely to die.
‘This suggests that in protecting Medicare beneficiaries, high vaccination rates among people 65 and older are not as effective as high vaccination rates among all adults,’ the researchers wrote.
Overall, of the 25 million seniors included in the analysis, the researchers estimated that these patients would have suffered about 107,000 fewer COVID infections if vaccines were not widely available.
The researchers found that seniors also suffered 43,000 fewer hospitalizations and 16,000 fewer deaths.
In other words, vaccination resulted in an 18 percent reduction in infections, a 21 percent reduction in hospitalizations, and a 22 percent reduction in deaths.
After this initial analysis of 25 million, the researchers extrapolated their estimates to all senior citizens enrolled in Medicare — about 63 million people.
Researchers estimated that overall, seniors faced 265,000 fewer COVID cases in 2021 than they would have without the vaccine.
Seniors also faced 107,000 fewer Covid hospitalizations and 39,000 fewer deaths.
Senior citizens were better protected in states and counties with higher vaccination rates. The reduction in COVID cases ranges from 22,000 in California to less than 6,000 in Virginia and Georgia
Researchers also looked at Covid outcomes by race and ethnicity, finding that vaccination had a positive effect on demographic groups.
For all races and ethnicities, vaccination resulted in about 20 percent fewer Covid cases in seniors, and 21 to 25 percent fewer deaths in early 2021.
Native Americans had the greatest reduction in risk of COVID-19 – 21 percent fewer infections and 25 percent fewer deaths if vaccines were not available.
There were many differences…