Next Vaccine Challenge: Reassure Older Americans

Dr. Timothy Farrell, a geriatric scholar at the University of Utah, said he was surprised and excited about the effectiveness of the vaccine in this group. “Looking at the subgroup analysis will be very important,” he said — that is, knowing if there is a significant difference after age 85.

Still, he recommends the vaccine for all patients between the ages of 65 and 106.

“We have a clear and present danger of Covid and a social isolation,” Dr. Farrell said. “We know that it is an independent risk factor for mortality and is even stronger than individual chronic illnesses.”

Dr. Inoue came to the same conclusion both professionally and personally.

Her 91-year-old mother, who lives in the Assisted Living facility, is independent and energetic, still playing the piano and bridge, and exercising regularly. Still, depending on her mother’s age, medical condition, and living conditions, she “has a very high and very high risk of Covid,” Dr. Inouye said.

“We are desperately worried about her every day,” she added. “Balanced with that tremendous horror, I think her risk of getting infected with Covid is much higher than the risk of side effects that she knows to be very rare.”

For many, the possibility of getting a new vaccine for a new virus can be daunting.

Fear of side effects discouraged Jeffrey Balkind’s wife from applying for the vaccine test, but Balkind, 74, stared at the death twice.

“When I came to the near-death experience twice and volunteered for a vaccine test, it wasn’t a big worry or anxiety for me,” Balkind said.

Next Vaccine Challenge: Reassure Older Americans

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