Oct 5, 2021 - Health

HHS: Vaccination linked to lower COVID cases and deaths among seniors

Photo of a nursing home worker sitting beside a senior resident on a bench located on a front porch
A resident care associate sits outside with residents at a Benchmark Senior Living facility in Woburn, Massachusetts. Photo: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

COVID vaccinations were linked to a reduction of roughly 265,000 COVID-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between January and May this year, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Why it matters: The findings reflect the "devastating effect COVID-19 has had on our vulnerable seniors and demonstrates that efforts to prioritize and vaccinate this group directly correlate to saving lives," the agency said.

Details: All racial and ethnic groups as well as all 48 states analyzed experienced lower numbers of deaths, hospitalizations and cases linked to increases in vaccination rates.

  • Texas and Hawaii were excluded due to reporting limitations.
  • American Indian and Alaska Native Medicare beneficiaries saw the largest vaccination-related percentage decrease in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to HHS.
  • Vaccines were also linked to a reduction of about 5,600 deaths among nursing home Medicare beneficiaries, a group disproportionately impacted by COVID.

What they're saying: "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.

  • "The Biden-Harris administration has prioritized getting vaccines quickly to pharmacies, nursing homes, doctors' offices and even provided increased reimbursement rates for at-home COVID-19 vaccinations, so that seniors and others can easily get vaccinated."
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