Infectious Disease

COVID-19 vaccines saved 240,000 US lives in first 6 months, study says

January 14, 2022

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COVID-19 vaccination in the United States saved almost a quarter of a million lives in the first 6 months that vaccines were available, compared to a scenario in which vaccines were not available, researchers estimated.

Researchers created a model that simulated two pandemic trajectories: one with no vaccines and one with a vaccine program “that only achieved half the daily immunization coverage of actual rollout.”

Vilches TN, et al.  JAMA network open.  2022;  doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.42725.

Vilches TN, et al. JAMA network open. 2022; doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.42725.

“For each scenario, cumulative infections, hospitalizations, and deaths were compared to the simulated trends in the US immunization program,” they explained.

According to the results, from December 12, 2020 to June 30, COVID-19 vaccines saved an estimated 240,797 lives (95% Crl, 200,665-281,230) and prevented an estimated 1,133,617 hospital admissions (95% Crl, 967,487-1,301,881) . 2021. The number of averted COVID-19 cases was estimated at more than 14 million.

According to the researchers, vaccines prevented a wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the alpha variant that would have occurred in April 2021 had vaccines not existed. The wave had an estimated peak of 4,409 deaths (95% Crl, 2,865-6,312) and 17,979 hospitalizations (95% Crl, 13,191-23,219).

If vaccinations had been administered at half the rate, the authors estimate that the authors would still have suffered 77,283 deaths (95% Crl, 48,499-104,519) and 336,000 hospitalizations (95% Crl, 225,330-440,109).

“As new variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to emerge, a renewed commitment to vaccine access, particularly among underserved groups and in countries with low immunization coverage, will be critical to preventing preventable COVID-19 cases and spreading the pandemic quit,” the authors write.

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