All About COVID-19 in Elderly : Vaccination, Side Effects and More

COVID-19 can have irreversible side effects in the elderly. The possibility of being hospitalized, the need for intensive care and ventilation increases with age. According to statistics published by the CDC, more than 85% of deaths due to COVID-19 occur in people over 65 years of age.

As of May 1, 2021, approximately 82% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, the number of hospital admissions, deaths, and emergency department visits is expected to decrease significantly. On the other hand, observations show that adults 65 years and older who received two doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines had a 94% reduction in risk of hospitalizations, and vaccination was 64% effective among people who were partially vaccinated.


COVID-19 in elderly: Importance of vaccination in this age group

Because the risk of developing a severe form of COVID-19 is high in people 65 and older, CDC has made vaccination in the elderly a top priority. Some underlying diseases in the elderly put them at greater risk of a severe form of the COVID-19:

  • Cancers
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung illnesses such as asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and pulmonary hypertension.
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Heart problems such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, and hypertension 
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease


If you have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccine, you can contact the state or local health department for information about the vaccination. In addition, you can visit vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you. Your family member or friend can help you with scheduling an appointment.

Some seniors think they may get COVID-19 when they get the vaccine. Fortunately, this idea is completely wrong. No one gets the COVID-19 infection after vaccination. Depending on the kind of vaccine you get, you might need a second dose 3 or 4 weeks after your first shot.

The US federal government is giving the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to all those living in this country, irrespective of their health insurance or immigration status.


Medicare and COVID-19 vaccine

As mentioned, you do not have to pay anything to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have Medicare and face difficulty in getting to a location away from home for a vaccination, Medicare will pay a care provider to give you the vaccine in your home. You must give them your Medicare Number for billing, but there’s still no cost to you for the vaccination and its injection. Contact your health care provider or doctor and ask if they are able to give you the vaccine in your home. If they can’t, they might refer you to someone who can do this. In addition, Medicare covers COVID-19 tests, antibody tests, and monoclonal antibody treatments.


Side effects of COVID-19 vaccination in elderly

You may have side effects after receiving the vaccine. Some common side effects that occur after vaccination are:

  • Muscle pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

These are normal symptoms and indicate that your body is building immunity to the virus. Note that the side effects you experience after receiving the second dose may be more severe. The good news is that these signs are also normal and probably go away in a few days.

You can use a clean, cool, and wet washcloth to reduce symptoms such as pain and inflammation at the injection site. You can also gently exercise your arms. To reduce fever, it is better to drink enough fluids or dress lightly. You can also talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin. Taking these medications will help reduce pain after vaccination. It is not recommended you take these medications before vaccination for the purpose of prevention of side effects.


When to call your doctor

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • The redness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours.
  • Your symptoms are worrying you and have not gone away in a few days.



  • Side effects reduce your ability to perform daily activities, but these symptoms will disappear within a few days.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines should be used in two doses for the most protection. Even if you have severe side effects after the first dose, you should still take the second dose unless your doctor tells you not to get vaccinated.
  • The second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is injected 21 days after the first dose, and the second shot of the Moderna is given 28 days after the first dose.
  • You only need one shot of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine to achieve maximum protection. 
  • The body needs time to build immunity. Therefore, two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or single-dose J & J / Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, the person can be said to have been fully vaccinated. You must use a mask and maintain a social distance until you are fully vaccinated.

If you are fully vaccinated, you are able to return to your pre-pandemic life. Once you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask or stay 6 feet apart unless federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial laws ask you otherwise. If you are fully vaccinated but suffer from a weakened immune system, you still need to take all precautions.


Actions you can take

Keep in mind that vaccination is currently the best protective measure. Then, based on your underlying problems, it is better to remember the following tips:

  • Continue to take your regular medications as prescribed by your doctor and adhere to your treatment plan (such as exercise recommendations, dialysis schedule, and blood sugar testing)
  • Use foods with a long shelf life, and keep in mind that your food choices should be in a way that meets your medical needs.
  • Know the triggers for your condition and avoid them when possible. For example, you can prevent asthma triggers by disinfecting surfaces. In this case, our in-home caregivers can provide effective help to you or your elderly loved one.
  • You may experience stress during a pandemic. It is wise to learn ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
  • As much as possible, try to keep regular checkups and routine healthcare appointments. 


The last word

Vaccination helps us return to a normal life, something we all want as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated is one of the most reliable ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Thus, vaccination helps the elderly and older adults with diseases such as diabetes and heart problems prevent the severe form of infection and death from the virus.


  1. Joe says:

    Thank God I found this article, grandfather was worried about vaccination, with this information, I can assure him it’s safe.

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