Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor

COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people
Data: CDC; Note: Data represents 30% of Americans across 16 jurisdictions: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York City, Seattle/King County, Wash., Utah and Wisconsin; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Even vaccinated Americans who are 80 or older are at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus than anyone — vaccinated or not — under the age of 50, according to CDC data.

Why it matters: The vaccines work really well against hospitalization and death, but they're not perfect. Reducing the level of COVID circulating in the community is key to protecting older or vulnerable adults — even vaccinated ones.

The big picture: Age has always been one of the biggest determinants of whether someone is at risk of severe COVID, and that remains true even with vaccines.

  • That's why regulators are in the process of recommending booster shots for older adults, along with other vulnerable populations.
  • Some Pfizer recipients, as well as immunocompromised people, are already eligible for a third dose.
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