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HHS: COVID-19 Vaccine Prevents 250K Cases, 100K Hospitalizations among Older Adults

October 08, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccine may have prevented thousands of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among older adults, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The report, released this week, linked the vaccine with the reduction of about 265,000 COVID-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations, and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between January and May 2021.

"This report reaffirms what we hear routinely from states: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, prevent hospitalizations, and reduce infection," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

Among the key takeaways:

  • Without the vaccine:  There would have been an estimated 1,481,000 cases, 504,000 hospitalizations, and 177,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries during the study period
  • The Delta variant:  The high vaccination rate among older adults was critical to prevent a surge in cases from the Delta variant, which is more than twice as contagious as previous variants
  • Disparities by states:  By May, vaccination rates among older adults varied from state to state, from the lowest (34%) to the highest (85%)
  • Climbing vaccination rates:  Nearly 95 percent of adults 65 and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 84 percent are fully vaccinated, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Those who remained unvaccinated (or only partially vaccinated) are at far higher risk of COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes,” the report noted.

HAP joins organizations across the nation urging everyone who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines. The approved vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available in your community. Getting vaccinated helps protect you, your family, and those who are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.

HAP encourages those with questions about the available vaccines to contact their health care provider for more information. Additional resources about the COVID-19 vaccines are available online.