Definitive data that vaccination prevents COVID-19 outbreaks in the elderly.

Michigan has been undergoing a surge in COVID-19 illness for the past month. Despite this, one group of citizens has been relatively spared — the elderly.

Average new COVID-19 cases in Michigan by age group over the entire pandemic. Notice the three waves of infection, the last one starting in late February.

This lower rate of infection might be explained by the high rate of immunization in those over 60 years of age in the state. Until recently immunizations were limited to that population, so it’s probably not surprising that they have had lower rates of illness and hospitalizations during the current surge.

Vaccine coverage vs. infections per million in Michigan, broken down by age.

The best demonstration of vaccine protection in this vulnerable population is in Michigan nursing facilities. While the residents of these facilities have a high rate of immunization, well over 70%, many employees have been reluctant to get immunized even though they have had access to COVID-19 vaccines for the past few months. 

When one looks at infections in the elderly, resident population in these facilities, there has been no increase during this last surge of infections. In contrast, the employees of these facilities have clearly demonstrated an increase in infections. 

As compared to the first two surges of COVID-19, the last wave involved the staff of nursing facilities but not the residents, showing they were protected.

Given the susceptibility of this elderly population, the fact that they were able to withstand infection when their caregivers were infected provides impressive, real world documentation of the ability of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein RNA vaccination to protect from COVID-19.

Thanks again to Tom Finholt; data available at:

Click to access 20210420_Data_and_modeling_update_vSHARE1_722795_7.pdf

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

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