Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing Hospitalization Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years - COVID-NET, 13 States, February-April 2021

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Aug 13;70(32):1088-1093. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7032e3.


Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use in the United States (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen [Johnson & Johnson]) indicate that these vaccines have high efficacy against symptomatic disease, including moderate to severe illness (1-3). In addition to clinical trials, real-world assessments of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness are critical in guiding vaccine policy and building vaccine confidence, particularly among populations at higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults. To determine the real-world effectiveness of the three currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines among persons aged ≥65 years during February 1-April 30, 2021, data on 7,280 patients from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) were analyzed with vaccination coverage data from state immunization information systems (IISs) for the COVID-NET catchment area (approximately 4.8 million persons). Among adults aged 65-74 years, effectiveness of full vaccination in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalization was 96% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 94%-98%) for Pfizer-BioNTech, 96% (95% CI = 95%-98%) for Moderna, and 84% (95% CI = 64%-93%) for Janssen vaccine products. Effectiveness of full vaccination in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalization among adults aged ≥75 years was 91% (95% CI = 87%-94%) for Pfizer-BioNTech, 96% (95% CI = 93%-98%) for Moderna, and 85% (95% CI = 72%-92%) for Janssen vaccine products. COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the United States are highly effective in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalizations in older adults. In light of real-world data demonstrating high effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among older adults, efforts to increase vaccination coverage in this age group are critical to reducing the risk for COVID-19-related hospitalization.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • mRNA Vaccine