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Research suggests COVID-19 vaccine prevented 1,300 elderly deaths in Indiana

Nationally, the study estimates nearly 40,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries were prevented in the first five months of this year.

Throughout the pandemic, experts have said the COVID-19 vaccines prevent serious illness and death, especially among people most vulnerable to COVID-19. Now, a new study estimates how many Indiana Medicare recipients avoided the hospital and premature death after getting vaccinated.  

The study released by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday estimates the COVID-19 vaccine prevented 1,300 deaths, 9,500 cases and 3,600 hospitalizations in among the Medicare population in Indiana during the first five months of this year.

Medicare is government insurance primarily for people ages 65 years and older, but also for people with disabilities and specific medical conditions.

Hoosiers older than 70 account for 73.8 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state and 37 percent of all hospitalizations. As of Oct. 5, there have been 15,342 COVID-19 deaths in Indiana and 974,169 cases.

People ages 65 and older account for 27 percent of vaccinated individuals in the state.

The study analyzed Medicare claims and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between January and May 2021. This data from 32 million Medicare beneficiaries was then applied to the full Medicare population of more than 62 million people.

Nationally, the study estimates the COVID-19 vaccines prevented nearly 40,000 deaths, 265,000 cases and 107,000 hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries in the first five months of this year.

Contact reporter Carter Barrett at cbarrett@wfyi.org and on Twitter @carter_barrett.