HealthDay News — COVID-19 vaccines are effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection requiring hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and emergency department or urgent care clinic visits, even in populations disproportionately affected by the infection, according to a study published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Mark G Thompson, PhD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues examined the effectiveness of vaccines against symptomatic COVID-19 in a study involving adults 50 years and older with COVID-19-like illness who underwent molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2. Data were assessed from 41,552 admissions to 187 hospitals and 21,522 visits to 221 emergency departments or urgent care clinics from January 1 through June 22, 2021.

The researchers found that the effectiveness of full mRNA vaccination was 89%, 90%, and 91% against confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection leading to hospitalization, ICU admission, or an emergency department or urgent care clinic visit, respectively. With respect to a COVID-19-associated hospitalization or emergency department or urgent care clinic visit, full vaccination was similarly effective for the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines. Vaccine effectiveness varied from 81% to 95% for adults 85 years and older, those with chronic medical conditions, and Black or Hispanic adults. The effectiveness of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine was 68% against SARS-CoV-2 infection leading to hospitalization.

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“This study confirms that these vaccines are highly effective,” Thompson said in a statement. “They offer significant protections for people older than 85, people with chronic medical conditions, as well as Black and Hispanic adults. All are groups who have been hit particularly hard by this disease.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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