Decreases in COVID-19 Cases, Emergency Department Visits, Hospital Admissions, and Deaths Among Older Adults Following the Introduction of COVID-19 Vaccine - United States, September 6, 2020-May 1, 2021

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jun 11;70(23):858-864. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7023e2.


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, older U.S. adults have been at increased risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness and death (1). On December 14, 2020, the United States began a nationwide vaccination campaign after the Food and Drug Administration's Emergency Use Authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended prioritizing health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities, followed by essential workers and persons at risk for severe illness, including adults aged ≥65 years, in the early phases of the vaccination program (2). By May 1, 2021, 82%, 63%, and 42% of persons aged ≥65, 50-64, and 18-49 years, respectively, had received ≥1 COVID-19 vaccine dose. CDC calculated the rates of COVID-19 cases, emergency department (ED) visits, hospital admissions, and deaths by age group during November 29-December 12, 2020 (prevaccine) and April 18-May 1, 2021. The rate ratios comparing the oldest age groups (≥70 years for hospital admissions; ≥65 years for other measures) with adults aged 18-49 years were 40%, 59%, 65%, and 66% lower, respectively, in the latter period. These differential declines are likely due, in part, to higher COVID-19 vaccination coverage among older adults, highlighting the potential benefits of rapidly increasing vaccination coverage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • COVID-19 Vaccines