As we approach the fall, there is a renewed push to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable, who continue to bear the brunt of the nation's COVID-19 crisis.
Although over 61 million people, over the age of 50, are eligible to receive their second COVID-19 booster shot, just a third have actually done so, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Similarly, less than half of Americans, over the age of 5, who are eligible to receive their first booster have received their supplemental shot.
"One of the key messages coming out of this moment is: If you are 50 or over and you have not gotten a shot this year ... it is absolutely critical that you go out and get one now," White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz, last month.
Although the immunity provided by vaccines continues to wane with time, CDC data shows that COVID-19 booster doses are helping to significantly increase protection against severe forms of COVID-19 disease and death, particularly among older Americans.
Among people ages 50 years and older, the unvaccinated had a risk of dying from COVID-19 that was 29 times higher than their fully vaccinated and double-boosted peers.
In April, risk of death was 42 times higher among the unvaccinated. Despite the fact that there has been a decline in vaccine efficacy, data shows that the shots are still largely helping protect against severe disease.
Among people ages 50 years and older, vaccinated people with one booster dose had a risk of dying from COVID-19 that was 4 times higher than those fully vaccinated and double boosted.
Older Americans — particularly those over 70 — are being hospitalized at a significantly higher rate than all other age groups. Comparatively, people 70 and over, in the U.S., are entering the hospital 10.5 times more often than people ages 18 to 29.
On average, about 6,100 virus-positive Americans are now entering the hospital each day. There are currently about 43,000 virus-positive patients hospitalized across the country.
The overall number of patients hospitalized has also been at a plateau for several weeks. However, numbers remain significantly lower than at the nation's peak, when there were more than 160,000 patients hospitalized with the virus.
In addition, although death totals also remain much lower than during other parts of the pandemic, hundreds of Americans are still dying from COVID-19 every day.
On average, nearly 400 American deaths to COVID-19 are reported each day, and over the last seven days, the U.S. has reported more than 2,700 deaths, according to the CDC.