Older and Wiser

COVID-19 cases are rising among the unvaccinated, many of them caused by the highly contagious Delta variant that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns “appears to be more severe than earlier versions of the virus”.  More young, unvaccinated people in their 20s and 30s who are otherwise healthy are being hospitalized with COVID-19 as the Delta variant spreads.  Older and wiser adults over the age of 65, due to fear of serious illness and the wisdom of life experience, however, have reached a vaccinated rate of 90 percent in the United States.  

According to a recent Kaiser Health News report, vulnerable older adults have been urged to get vaccinated not only for COVID-19 but are also accustomed to being advised by their doctor to get their immunizations for flu, pneumonia, shingles, and other diseases that are risky for seniors.   As a result, more older and wiser adults are familiar with the benefits of vaccines, and most likely remember being inoculated for polio when the vaccine became available in the 1950s.  Once one of the most feared diseases in the U.S., causing 15,000 cases of paralysis each year according to the CDC, polio has now be eliminated in America for more than 30 years. 

Because the message was so strong during the early days of the pandemic that older adults and those with underlying health conditions were most at risk for serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 infection, healthy younger adults may have developed a false sense of security.  But now with the Delta variant ripping through communities, causing more hospitalizations, younger people are strongly urged to get their shots. 

As schools and businesses prepare to return to a more “normal” routine this fall, some cities, colleges, and workplaces are requiring people to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to be admitted.  Many more establishments are once again requiring the wearing of masks indoors even for fully vaccinated people due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.  New research shows that vaccinated people can carry high levels of the coronavirus and become infected with “breakthrough” cases although these instances are rare and far less likely to cause serious illness. 

Stay informed about updated health recommendations for fully vaccinated people based on new evidence concerning the Delta variant by following this link to the CDC website.