January 05, 2022

Seniors are Disproportionately Affected by Breakthrough Covid Hospitalizations

Although vaccines are proven to significantly reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 infection, breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths have been reported among some fully vaccinated people. New research has found that the majority of COVID-19 breakthrough hospitalizations occurred among people ages 65 and older.

The report from the Peterson Center on Healthcare and Kaiser Family Foundation identified the characteristics of fully vaccinated hospitalized patients who have COVID-19 breakthrough infections and compared them to patients who are not fully vaccinated and hospitalized with Covid.

The findings show that from June through September 2021, 69% of breakthrough Covid hospitalizations were of people ages 65 and older, while people under the age of 50 accounted for only 10% of the breakthrough hospitalizations.

The researchers say that the disparity could be because older people are already at a heightened risk of severe Covid infection, or that it could be that older adults were among the first to receive the vaccine, leading to a decline in immunity over time.

Even so, an overwhelming majority of Covid hospital admissions occurred among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people. While breakthrough cases are possible, health experts still urge vaccination as the best way to protect oneself from severe disease. And with booster shots now available to a majority of the country, the CDC recommends that all adults receive their booster dose to limit the possibility of breakthrough infection.

“Older Americans need to understand the risks over COVID-19,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “We urge all seniors to speak to their physicians about how best to protect themselves from this disease.”

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