Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. In this retrospective population-based study, vaccination against COVID-19 among those over age 50 in France was effective in reducing morbidity, mortality, and stress on the healthcare system.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Following the widespread distribution of vaccines against COVID-19, it is important to retrospectively evaluate the effectiveness of this public health endeavor. Researchers aimed to assess the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths that were avoided by vaccination in France. This retrospective ecological study utilized French national surveillance data on individuals over age 50 from December 28, 2020 to March 6, 2022. 279,443 hospitalizations, 60,186 ICU admissions, and 74,690 deaths occurred due to COVID-19 during the study period. In total, 25,152,788 individuals over age 50 received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19. Researchers estimated that 480,150 (95% CI, 260,072-582,516) hospitalizations, 132,156 (95% CI, 50,409-157,767) ICU admissions, and 125,376 (95% CI, 53,792-152,037) deaths among those over the age of 50 were prevented by vaccination. A limitation of this study is that only data on deaths reported by hospitals and nursing homes were included, and as such, no deaths that occurred in other settings were accounted for, such as deaths at home. As well, this study appropriately addressed the benefits of vaccination for those who received the vaccine, but future studies may assess the effects of vaccination on herd immunity and protecting unvaccinated members of the population as well. Overall, this study demonstrates that vaccination against COVID-19 was an effective strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality, as well as lessening the strain on the healthcare system in France.

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