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An Estimated 279,000 Deaths Averted by U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Program

Last Updated: July 19, 2021.

MONDAY, July 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The vaccination program in the United States played a crucial role in slowing the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing an estimated 279,000 additional deaths and up to 1.25 million additional hospitalizations by the end of June 2021, according to a report published online July 7 by The Commonwealth Fund.

Alison Galvani, Ph.D., from the Yale Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined the impact of the vaccination program in the United States in a COVID-19 modeling study, which included transmission dynamics of the Alpha, Gamma, and Delta variants in addition to the original Wuhan-1 variant.

As of July 2, 2021, 67 percent of U.S. adults had received at least one vaccine dose. The authors note that by the end of June 2021, there would have been about 279,000 additional deaths and up to 1.25 million additional hospitalizations without a vaccination program. There would have been nearly 121,000 additional deaths and more than 450,000 additional hospitalizations if the United States had achieved only half the actual pace of vaccinations. Daily deaths from COVID-19 potentially would have jumped to nearly 4,500 deaths per day during a second 2021 spring surge if there had been no vaccination program.

"Our results demonstrate the extraordinary impact of rapidly vaccinating a large share of the population to prevent hospitalizations and deaths," the authors write. "The speed of vaccination seems to have prevented another potential wave of the U.S. pandemic in April that might otherwise have been triggered by the Alpha and Gamma variants."

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