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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."

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

Puerto Rico leads U.S. COVID vaccination rates

A mass vaccination event at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 31. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States as of Oct. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The island has managed to accomplish such feats amid frequent power outages, earthquakes and high dependence on imports of health technologies from outside the region.

22 hours ago - Health

Virginia governor has had long COVID for more than a year

Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam still has long COVID-19 symptoms more than a year after his initial infection, he said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor is one of millions of Americans suffering from symptoms of long COVID, which could have serious implications for employers and social programs if enough people can no longer work because of it, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson registered $502 million of global revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date vaccine sales to $766 million.

The big picture: J&J, which is selling the vaccine at a not-for-profit price of $7.50 per dose, still expects to generate $2.5 billion of COVID vaccine sales this year, executives said Tuesday. But that total will still dwarf the use and sales of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

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