The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has prevented up to 279,000 U.S. deaths and 1.25 million hospitalizations
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths from the disease in the US, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) ran simulations to determine what would have happened if no vaccines had been distributed by the summer of 2021.
The results showed that there would have been up to 279,000 more COVID-19-related deaths and 1.25 million hospitalizations from the virus.
More than 606,000 U.S. deaths have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, but the daily death toll has fallen from an average of 4,000 deaths in early February 2021 during the winter wave to 230 this month, thanks in large part to the vaccine.
But the team says these advances could be reversed if the vaccination campaign in the US stagnates and the Indian ‘Delta’ variant continues to rampage across the country, leading to spikes in parts of the US with both high and low vaccination rates.
A new study found that without the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the US, there would have been up to 279,000 additional deaths this summer
If only half as many doses had been administered, there would have been more than 457,000 extra hospitalizations (green) and without vaccine there would have been 1.25 million extra hospitalizations (red)
“The vaccines have been remarkably successful in reducing the spread of the virus and saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States alone,” said lead author Dr. Alison Galvani, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at YSPH. in a press release.
But until a greater majority of Americans are vaccinated, many more people could die from this virus. The danger is not over. This is not the time to be on our guard.’
For the research, published by the private foundation The Commonwealth Fund, the team looked at the trajectory of the pandemic from October 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021.
They also looked at vaccination data and adjusted for the emergence of highly transmissible variants, including the Kent “Alpha” variant, the Brazilian ‘Gamma’ variant and the Delta variant.
The Delta variety has since become the dominant strain in the US, accounting for 51.7 percent of all new infections.
However, all three vaccines approved for emergency use in the US have been shown to be effective against variants, including the Delta variant.
The model was good for two hypothetical scenarios: one in which no COVID-19 vaccines were administered and one in which half the number of daily vaccines had been given by the summer of 2021.
As of Friday, 332 million doses have been distributed in the US, with 55 percent of the population having received at least one dose — including 67.4 percent of adults.
If only half as many doses had been delivered by July 1, or about 166 million doses, there would be about 121,000 additional deaths and more than 457,000 additional hospitalizations.
In addition, the daily death rate would have been higher than the observed death rate and would be slightly higher than 4,000 per day.
If only half as many vaccine doses of COVID-19 had been administered, there would have been about 121,000 additional deaths by the end of June 2021
The model found that no COVID-19 vaccine was likely to have triggered a spring wave with 4,500 deaths per day, higher than during the winter wave
Next, the researchers looked at the number of deaths and hospitalizations that would have occurred in the US without a vaccination program.
The model determined that without a vaccine, up to 279,000 additional deaths would have occurred by the end of June this year.
Researchers also found that there would have been a spring surge this year with a potential of 4,500 deaths per day, more than the 4,000 deaths per day recorded in February.
In addition, there are said to have been 1.2 million hospital admissions, on top of the approximately 1.5 million hospital admissions recorded since the vaccine’s rollout began.
“Our results demonstrate the extraordinary impact of rapidly vaccinating a large proportion of the population to prevent hospitalizations and deaths,” the authors wrote.
The speed of vaccination appears to have prevented another potential wave of the US pandemic in April that would otherwise have been caused by the Alpha and Gamma variants.
“Additional new varieties such as Delta will pose a particular threat to unvaccinated populations in the coming months.
A renewed commitment to expanding access to vaccines will be critical to achieving higher levels of vaccination needed to contain the pandemic and prevent avoidable suffering, particularly for those in historically disadvantaged groups and areas in the US with low vaccination rates.’