COVID Vaccines Are Now Available
ARE THEY JUST AS EFFECTIVE FOR SENIORS?
As we all know, seniors are at an increased risk of being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19. For this reason, the CDC recommends that states prioritize inoculations for people age 65 and older, as well as those who reside in long-term care facilities. But are the COVID vaccines safe for seniors? The European Medicines Agency is expected to authorize the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine this month–a few weeks after it was approved for use in the UK. According to an article in The Guardian, this vaccine may be not be authorized for seniors in the European Union because there is “insufficient data on how well it works in the over-65s,” the agency head suggested. The Astra Zeneca has not been approved in the US. The Food and Drug Administration has approved two COVID-19 vaccines: the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that seniors were not included in a number of COVID vaccine trials to the same extent as younger individuals. This is not uncommon when vaccines are being tested, according to Ardeshir Hashimi, MD, a geriatric specialist from the Cleveland Clinic Center for Geriatric Medicine. In a piece in VeryWellHealth.com, Dr. Hashimi suggests that seniors often express anxiety about the “safety, adverse side effects, and efficacy” of vaccines. Consent to participate in the trial may be problematic if the applicant has any problems with cognition, according to the article. That being said, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have proven to be effective for older adults. According to an analysis of the Moderna COVID vaccine trial in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients 18 to 65 demonstrated an efficacy of 95.6%, while the rate was 86.4% for those over 65 years of age. Pfizer states that their efficacy is over 94% in the over-65s.