Nov 2, 2021 - Health

The vaccines have kept older Americans out of the hospital

Monthly COVID-19 hospitalization per 100,000 enrollees, by Medicaid eligibility
Reproduced from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations among older Americans dropped significantly since the vaccine rollout at the start of the year, new federal data show.

Why it matters: The vaccines have worked extremely well for one of the most vulnerable demographics. Roughly 97% of people 65 and older have at least one vaccine dose, and more than 85% of that age group is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Yes, but: Certain portions of the Medicare population continue to be more susceptible to severe COVID-19 and hospitalization than others.

  • People who are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid — the poorest demographic, who often are in nursing homes — are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized, according to federal data.
  • Medicare enrollees who have kidney failure and compromised immune systems also are significantly more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than old or disabled Medicare enrollees.
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