What Older Adults Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

There’s no question regarding the risk to older adults who contract the virus that causes COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is clear: older adults who contract it are more likely to face both hospitalization and death, both prospects that increases with age.  

With eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the United States having been adults 65 years and older, the CDC has reason for concern, and has issue vaccine guidelines accordingly: older adults are among the first groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccines recently approved under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization Act. Those 65 years of age and older were included in the 1b vaccination eligible group. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) emphasizes the safety of the available COVID-19 vaccines—both found to be more than 94 percent effective at protecting people from COVID-19. 

“Scientists built off decades of research for other vaccines when developing the COVID-19 vaccines,” the department states. “The vaccines went through large clinical studies involving tens of thousands of people of different ages, races and ethnicitiesYou cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines.”  

Possible Vaccine Side Effects

Some patients have reported experiencing side effects from the vaccines, which can range from arm soreness, headache, and body aches, to tiredness and fever.  

“Side effects usually go away within two to three days, are more common after the second shot and are less common in older adults,” the NYSDOH adds, and recommends that patients who experience lasting or worsening side effects call a physician. 

The NYSDOH also emphasizes the importance of eligible older adults getting flu shots in addition to the COVID-19 (at least 14 days apart).  

People who receive the COVID-19 vaccine—even those who have received both shots—are urged to continue wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands thoroughly to help slow the spread of the virus.

Weill Cornell Medicine, in partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian, is currently able to vaccinate those eligible individuals 65 and over who live in the five boroughs of New York City. Vaccination appointments are required. For more details about eligibility and scheduling availability please visit VaccineTogetherNY.org. To ensure your Connect account is active, please visit here to login or sign up today

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