YORK COUNTY, Pa. — After more than a year of a pandemic filled with reports of high levels of COVID-19 transmission, including its variants, one might say this period of time has no light at the end of the tunnel. However, a recent study by one of the nation's top health departments may bring just that.
Researchers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted a study showing a decrease of 265,000 COVID-19 cases in seniors. In addition to this, they found a reduction of 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths from Medicare beneficiaries between January and May of 2021.
Those who conducted the study include individuals from the department's office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation or the ASPE.
Xavier Becerra, the secretary to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says the prime reason for these findings is the COVID-19 vaccines the nation currently has. In their report Becerra says:
"This report reaffirms what we hear routinely from states: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, prevent hospitalizations, and reduce infection," she said. "The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized getting vaccines quickly to pharmacies, nursing homes, doctors' offices and even provided increased reimbursement rates for at-home COVID-19 vaccinations so that seniors and others can easily get vaccinated."
The study did a deeper dive into analyzing ethnic groups of 48 U.S. states, excluding Hawaii and Texas due to limited information. American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals who are recipients of Medicare were found to be the highest in the vaccination-related decrease in case counts.
An unfortunate revelation of the study reveals 5,600 deaths were among people who are nursing home Medicare beneficiaries. Nursing homes, an important addition to the care industry, have been one of the many vulnerable groups affected negatively by the pandemic.
Currently, seniors who have received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for the pharmaceutical company's booster shot.
Those who have received the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna initial vaccine doses must sit tight.