A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that vaccinations help prevent hospitalizations from COVID. “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,” the authors concluded.

CDC says that among adults aged 65-74 years old, effectiveness of full vaccination in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalizations was 96 percent for the Pfizer vaccine, 96 percent for Moderna, and 84 percent for Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. For people 75 years old and over, effectiveness was 91 percent for Pfizer, 96 percent for Moderna, and 85 percent for J&J/Janssen.

“I think the evidence has been consistent that vaccines have worked amazingly well, and the data continue to give us great hope,” says Daniel Haimowitz, MD, CMD, a Pennsylvania-based medical director and geriatrician. However, he adds, “We’re not out of the woods yet. There are still questions about issues such as how long immunity will last and when boosters will be necessary.”

Nonetheless, he says, “This new report is good news and confirms what is happening with my residents. We are seeing far fewer severe illnesses and hospitalizations, and that is mainly because of the vaccines.”

The report authors note that there are some limitations to this data. For instance, they say, “The underlying risk for severe illness from COVID-19 in this medically fragile population could contribute to lower vaccine effectiveness among [long term care] residents than among the general population of older adults.” They also say it is possible that the timing of the second Pfizer and Moderna doses “could affect the observed effectiveness of partial vaccination.”

Additionally, the authors suggest that individuals choosing to get vaccinated later in the rollout might have different risk characteristics than their counterparts who were vaccinated earlier and may have had different access to vaccine products by time and location.

Whatever the factors involved in the relationship between vaccinations and severity of illness and hospitalization, Haimowitz says, “The bottom line is that we need to keep doing what we’re doing, that is, promote vaccinations and continuing to practice infection prevention/control measures and safety precautions.”