Since early 2020, people around the world have been coping with COVID-19, the disease caused by the highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes mild to severe respiratory illness. Cases of COVID-19 can be mild, but others can be more severe and even deadly—especially for older adults or those living with chronic health conditions.
In late 2020 and 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided emergency authorization for three vaccines that proved in clinical trials to be highly effective at preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19 symptoms. In August 2021, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (now also known as Comirnaty) received full FDA approval. Moderna has applied to the FDA for full approval and Johnson & Johnson expects to apply for full approval by the end of the year. As of October 2021, over 190 million people have been vaccinated in the United States.
Note that as of November 2021, upwards of 85% of adults 65 years or older across the country were fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness declines after the primary series. The CDC strongly recommends a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for all adults 65 years and older to protect against symptomatic infection and severe disease from COVID-19.
If you feel like the news you read about the COVID-19 vaccination seems to change daily, you’re not alone. That’s why we've asked health professionals, scientists, and researchers from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) to help us better understand the science behind the vaccines and how they can help protect us from severe COVID-19. Check out these resources and share them with others to help answer any questions you, your friends, your family or your community may have.