COVID-19 Risks and Information for Older Adults

Older unvaccinated adults are more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19

Older man outdoors wearing a protective mask.

Risk Increases With Age

The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk.


What You Need to Know

  • Older adults are more likely to get very sick or die from COVID-19. Those who are unvaccinated or have a disability, weakened immune system, or certain medical conditions are also at greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • There are tools to protect you from getting very sick from COVID-19:
    • Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines are effective at protecting people from severe illness and death from COVID-19.
    • Older adults, especially those with other medical conditions, wear the most protective mask that fits well and that you will wear consistently to protect against COVID-19.
    • Get treatment early if you have COVID-19. Effective treatments are now widely available for people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, including older adults.

Increased Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19

Older adults (especially those aged 50 years and older) are more likely than younger people to get very sick from COVID-19. The risk increases with age. This means they are more likely to need hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they could die. Most COVID-19 deaths occur in people older than 65.

Other factors can also make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. These include not getting vaccinated, or having underlying medical conditions— like chronic lung disease, heart disease, or a weakened immune system. Often, the more health conditions you have, the higher your risk of becoming very sick if you get COVID-19.

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