Background: The COVID-19 outbreak highlights our vulnerability to novel infections, and vaccination remains a foreseeable method to return to normal life. However, infrastructure is inadequate for the immediate vaccination of the whole population. Therefore, policies have adopted a strategy to vaccinate older adults and vulnerable populations while delaying vaccination for others.
Objective: This study aimed to understand how age-specific vaccination strategies reduce daily cases, hospitalizations, and death rates using official statistics for Tennessee, United States.
Methods: This study used publicly available data on COVID-19, including vaccination rates, positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from the Tennessee Department of Health. Data from the first date of vaccination (December 17, 2020) to March 3, 2021, were retrieved. The rates were adjusted by 2019 data from the US Census Bureau, and age groups were stratified into 10-year intervals starting with 21 years of age.
Results: The findings showed that vaccination strategy can reduce the numbers of patients with COVID-19 in all age groups, with lower hospitalization and death rates in older populations. Older adults had a 95% lower death rate from December to March; no change in the death rate of other age groups was observed. The hospitalization rate was reduced by 80% for people aged ≥80 years, while people who were 50 to 70 years old had nearly the same hospitalization rate as prior to vaccination.
Conclusions: This research indicates that targeting older age groups for vaccination is the optimal way to avoid higher transmissions and reduce hospitalization and death rates.
Keywords: COVID-19; hospitalization; mortality; mortality rates; older adults; pandemic; strategy; vaccination; vaccination strategy; vaccine.
©Ali Roghani. Originally published in JMIRx Med (https://med.jmirx.org), 12.08.2021.