SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report shows that as vaccination rates increase among seniors, rates of infection, hospitalization and death decrease.
The age group is seeing fewer deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19. In the first nine months of the pandemic, about 352,000 people died and almost 80% of those deaths were those aged 65 and older.
From January to May 2021, vaccination increased among seniors from one percent to 80%.
According to a HHS study, there was an 11-12% decrease in weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths among Medicare beneficiaries for every 10% increase in county vaccination rates.
ABC10 Health Expert Dr. Tom Hopkins said this decrease is because at the beginning of the pandemic, seniors were the most likely to follow medical professionals' recommendations like social distancing, mask-wearing, hand-washing and most of all, vaccination.
"People who really we thought of as vulnerable and high-risk, they did what they needed to do," Hopkins said. "Now you're seeing the reason why we're not having those problems with the elderly. We've seen those numbers go down and the younger people who didn't think they're at risk, they didn't think that needed a vaccine, and then when the delta virus came along, that was the opportunity for the virus to infect those people."
In Sacramento County, 89% of those 65 and older are at least partially vaccinated, which is the highest percentage among those who are eligible for the vaccine.
People ages 70-79 and 80 and up have the fewest cases at 6,628 and 4,791 respectively, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.
Hopkins said the best way for other age groups to see numbers like seniors, is to follow recommendations by health professionals.
Find out more information about COVID-19 or schedule an appointment for a vaccine or booster at myturn.ca.gov.
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