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COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Down in Seniors After Vaccine Introduction

THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 -- Following the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, decreases in COVID-19 cases, emergency department visits, hospital admission, and deaths were seen among older adults, according to research published in the June 8 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Noting that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended prioritizing health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities followed by essential workers and persons at risk for severe illness for COVID-19 vaccination, including those aged ≥65, Athalia Christie, from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues examined the impact of COVID-19 vaccination. The rates of COVID-19 cases, emergency department visits, hospital admission, and deaths were examined by age group prevaccine (Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, 2020) and during April 18 to May 1, 2021.

The researchers found that 82, 63, and 42 percent pf persons aged ≥65, 50 to 64, and 18 to 49 years had received one or more COVID-19 vaccine doses by May 1, 2021. Comparing the oldest age group (≥70 for hospital admissions; ≥65 for other measures) with adults aged 18 to 49 years yielded rate ratios for COVID-19 incidence, emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and deaths that were 40, 59, 65, and 66 percent lower, respectively, in late April.

"Comparing the two-week prevaccination period with two weeks in late April, declines were significantly greater among older adults, who had higher vaccination coverage, than among younger adults, who had lower coverage," the authors write. "These age-stratified results provide ecologic evidence of the likely contribution of vaccination coverage to reducing COVID-19 outcomes."

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