The Nation’s Health: Seniors Left Behind as Public Edges “Back to Normal” after COVID-19 (Feb/March 2023)
COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are a fraction of what they were at the beginning of the pandemic. But older Americans continue to bear the brunt, making up nearly all of the COVID-19 fatalities that still occur every day across the nation. Advocates are urging federal officials to remember the ongoing COVID-19 risk that older Americans face, even as the nation winds down its emergency response.
Denny Chan, JD, managing director for equity advocacy at Justice in Aging, said many of the vaccine barriers older Americans faced before the pandemic — from mistrust to lack of transportation — are still hampering booster uptake today. He said lessons from earlier in the COVID-19 response show one-on-one efforts go far to boost vaccination rates, but the work is resource-intensive and requires ongoing support.
Chan said he is “not optimistic, unfortunately,” about the sustainability of such work going forward, given the Biden administration’s recent unsuccessful attempts to secure more COVID-19 relief funding from Congress.