NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New data shows how effective the COVID-19 vaccine has been for New Mexico’s seniors. A report from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department says the vaccine has prevented around 1,500 new COVID-19 infections, 200 deaths, and 600 hospitalizations among seniors between January and May of 2021.
A press release from HHS states that the study which was conducted by researchers with the department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation additionally found that nationwide, vaccinations were linked to a reduction of about 265,000 COVID-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations, and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between those same months.
According to the HHS, more than 352,000 lives were lost nationwide during the first nine months of the pandemic and before the vaccines were available, almost 80% of these deaths were among individuals who were 65 and older who were Medicare eligible. The department states that from January to May 2021, a period where vaccination grew from 1% to 47% among adults 18 to 64 and from 1% to 80% among seniors, the study found an 11-12% decrease in weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries for every 10% increase in county vaccination rates.
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HHS reports that all racial and ethnic groups in 48 states that were analyzed experienced reduced numbers of COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations, and infections which were linked to increases in vaccination rates. Hawaii and texas were excluded from the analysis due to data reporting limitations.
The largest vaccination-related percentage decrease in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths were seen in American Indian and Alaska Native Medicare beneficiaries. The study also saw that vaccines were linked to a reduction of about 5,600 deaths among nursing home Medicare beneficiaries.