June 8 (UPI) -- COVID-19 infections, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths declined significantly among older adults in the United States this spring as more seniors were vaccinated against the virus, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Compared with adults ages 18 to 49 years, there were 40% fewer coronavirus cases among adults age 70 years and older between April 18 and May 1, the data showed.
ER visits during the same three-week period were 59% lower for the older age group and hospital admissions were 65% lower, the agency said.
Among adults age 70 years and older, deaths from the virus were down 66% compared with those ages 18 to 49 years, according to the CDC.
By May 1, 82% of adults age 65 and older in the United States had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while just 42% of those ages 18 to 49 years had received at least one dose, the data showed.
The differences in infections, hospitalizations and deaths are due, at least in part, to these lower vaccination rates.
The findings highlight "the potential benefits of rapidly increasing vaccination coverage," CDC researchers wrote.
"These data are consistent with other preliminary reports showing a reduction in COVID-19 cases and severe illness in populations with high vaccination coverage," they said.
As of Monday, nearly 64% of adults in the United States had received at least one dose of either the two-shot COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna or the one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, according to the CDC.
This includes 88% of adults age 65 and older, 77% of whom are fully vaccinated against the virus, the agency said.
As of Monday, however, fewer than half of adults age 18 to 49 and less than 25% of adolescents and teens nationally have been fully vaccinated.
As a result, the agency said teens and younger adults in recent weeks have been central to continued COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in many parts of the country.
"Despite sufficient vaccine supply and expanding eligibility, administration of COVID-19 vaccines has steadily declined in adults since mid-April," the agency researchers wrote.
"These results suggest that tailored efforts by state and local jurisdictions to rapidly increase vaccine coverage among all eligible age groups could contribute to further reductions in COVID-19 cases and severe outcomes," they said.