Covid-19 vaccine effort is protecting older people, mounting evidence suggests

A growing number of signs show that vaccines are beginning to reshape the Covid-19 pandemic in the US.

Hospitalizations and deaths among the elderly are declining, marking hopeful signs that a vaccination push aimed first at older Americans is paying off. Nursing home related deaths have plummeted. The seven-day averages for recently reported deaths have dropped below 1,000 again for the first time in more than four months.

Public health researchers warn that the pandemic is far from over, especially as recently reported cases in the US stabilize after a sharp decline and the spread of more infectious variants of the coronavirus. But as this happens, Americans who have long faced the highest risk of mortality are increasingly protected.

“People who die tend to be older,” said Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University. “And now we have vaccinated many people over 55 years old.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites vaccinations among people 65 and older. This group has on average accounted for more than four out of five Covid-19 deaths in the US since the pandemic began, death certificate data shows. By Wednesday, more than 70% of this age group had received at least one dose of vaccine, compared with nearly 26% of the general population, CDC data shows. Almost 44% of people over 65 are fully vaccinated.


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