(WHTM) — Statistically, people aged fifty and older contracted COVID more easily when it began in 2020, and higher death rates continued to grow over the course of time, but that changed after the creation of the COVID vaccine.

“I believe that if you look at COVID, I think COVID is going to be around for the rest of our lives I think we’re going to have an annual COVID season that starts around the time that flu season fall ends in the spring, and I think there will be an annual COVID shot,” explained Dr. John Goldman, an infectious disease specialist with UPMC.

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Using public reports from 2020 through 2021 an analysis led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania discovered that people between the ages 25-54 had a higher COVID related death rate than people 55 and older.

“Clearly a much a younger person who’s at much higher risk of getting severe disease ending up the hospital or even dying if they had not been from COVID if they had not been vaccinated,” said Goldman.

On Friday, March 18, Pennsylvania had 66 COVID related deaths, while there were 912 COVID related deaths in the U.S. which is the lowest death rate since the start of the pandemic. This could be a result of more people being vaccinated. And even though numbers are low, COVID is still around.

“The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. John Goldman. Goldman also mentioned that getting your COVID booster shot is important too.