Chart showing reductions in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations
This chart shows estimated reductions in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations associated with vaccinations among a Medicare study sample. Credit: Chart from a federal study / Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)

A study by the federal government says that COVID-19 vaccinations may have helped prevent roughly 3,100 new COVID-19 infections and 500 deaths among Connecticut seniors in the first five months of 2021. 

The study, which was conducted by researchers with HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, also found that nationally, vaccinations were linked to a reduction of approximately 265,000 COVID-19 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations, and 39,000 deaths among Medicare beneficiaries between January and May 2021.

“This report reaffirms what we hear routinely from states: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, prevent hospitalizations, and reduce infection,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized getting vaccines quickly to pharmacies, nursing homes, doctors’ offices and even provided increased reimbursement rates for at-home COVID-19 vaccinations, so that seniors and others can easily get vaccinated.”

There have been 6,876 deaths of Connecticut residents over the age of 50 since the beginning of the pandemic. There have also been a total of 8,860 deaths in Connecticut since the start of the pandemic. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Connecticut had a daily positivity rate of 2.52%. There were 237 people hospitalized with the virus. 

While Connecticut health care facilities and long-term care facilities have mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all employees, the state is allowing some executive branch employees to test on a weekly basis instead of getting the vaccine. 

As of Tuesday about 78% of the state workforce had opted to be vaccinated while 18% had agreed to the weekly testing requirements. Meanwhile, 4%, about 1,200 employees, were still out of compliance with the order. 

State employees don’t have to supply a religious or medical exemption, they simply have to agree to weekly testing. 

Except if they work in the health care field. As of Tuesday all health care or long-term care employees had to be vaccinated or have a religious or medical exemption. 

Earlier this week the federal government outlined the procedure for employees to request a medical or religious exemption under President Joe Biden’s mandate. 

Under the guidelines, federal agencies are to direct workers to get their first shot within two weeks of an exemption request being denied, or the resolution of a medical condition. They also make clear that federal agencies may deny medical or religious exemptions if they determine that no other safety protocol is adequate.