COVID vaccines likely saved vulnerable

Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Brad Horrigan/The Hartford Courant/TNS)

New York Daily News

(TNS) – Vaccinations against COVID-19 have likely prevented the hospitalizations and deaths of tens of thousands of older and more vulnerable American residents in the last five months, according to a new study from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report, released on Tuesday, used individual Medicare claims and county-level vaccination rates to estimate the net reduction in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the 62.7 million Medicare beneficiaries across the country.

It concluded vaccinations fended off an estimated 265,000 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths between January and May.

In regions with average to above-average vaccination rates, experts found that deaths and hospitalizations fell more sharply than in areas where fewer residents sought out inoculation.

The research, which relied on a sample of 25.3 million beneficiaries, further indicated that boosting vaccinations in lower-rate areas had big payoffs.

To illustrate the point, the study’s author’s cited Georgia, which currently boasts the lowest vaccination rate in the country.

Still, they estimated vaccines had reduced infections by 290, hospitalizations by 120 and deaths by 40 per 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries, according to the study’s data.

“This report reaffirms what we hear routinely from states: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, prevent hospitalizations and reduce infection,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement.

Since mid-December, when the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was first approved about 186 million Americans, or just more than half the country, have been fully vaccinated against the fast-spreading disease.

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