Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths fell dramatically among people 65 and older following the rollout of vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.
Adults ages 65 and up are among the most vulnerable to Covid-19, and were prioritized early on for vaccination.
Since vaccinations began, emergency room visits related to the virus have declined 77 percent among older adults, the report found. And though Covid-19 deaths are still highest in older adults, following vaccinations, the death rate in this group fell faster compared to younger people.
The report "demonstrates how high vaccination coverage in older adults in the United States has served to reduce Covid-19 cases or outcomes," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday during a news briefing. Over 86 percent of adults age 65 and over have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccines to date.
A separate analysis released by the CDC on Monday offered additional real-world evidence of the vaccines' benefits.
The mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna were found to reduce the risk of Covid-19 by 91 percent among fully vaccinated people who'd received both doses, and 81 percent after just one shot. (Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine was not included in the study.)
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The study included 3,975 people whose jobs put them at higher risk for infection: health care workers, first responders and other essential workers. All were regularly tested for Covid-19.
While some breakthrough infections were reported — that is, infections that occurred after vaccination — those illnesses tended to be milder than infections among unvaccinated people, according to the report.
Even partially vaccinated participants who became infected felt better six days faster, on average, and were less likely to develop symptoms, compared with people who had not received the shots.
As of Tuesday, the CDC reported 63.7 percent of U.S. adults had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.