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Data: CDC, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than two-thirds of Americans 75 and older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, as have more than half of those 65-74, per CDC data.

Why it matters: Any future surge in cases almost certainly wouldn't be as deadly as previous waves, because older people are the most likely to die from the virus.

What they're saying: "Measuring the risk from Covid is no longer primarily about tallying daily cases or analyzing the positivity rate. As the most vulnerable Americans are increasingly being protected by vaccines, it’s also about assessing the number of people developing severe disease," former FDA Commissioners Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Although the virus isn't going to go completely away, "the goal should be for hospitalization rates to resemble those associated with routine infectious diseases."

Yes, but: Millions of younger Americans have pre-existing conditions that also make them vulnerable to the virus, and the vaccination effort has often prioritized age above underlying conditions.

  • In many states, people with underlying conditions still aren't eligible for the vaccine, per KFF.
  • Risk of infection — including via work — has also generally fallen lower on the priority list, which impacts people of color disproportionately.
  • White people have received a higher share of vaccinations than their portion of the population in most states that report such data, also per KFF.

The bottom line: The vaccination effort still has a long way to go, and researchers are still evaluating the effectiveness of the vaccines against new virus variants.

  • But millions of older Americans — and their loved ones — can breathe a collective sigh of relief for the first time in a year.

Go deeper

48 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 54 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.