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Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 14, 2022
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COVID-19 vaccines saved 240K US lives in first 6 months, study suggests

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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COVID-19 vaccination in the United States saved nearly a quarter-million lives in the first 6 months that shots were available compared with a scenario in which there were no vaccines, researchers estimated.

The researchers created a model that simulated two pandemic trajectories: one with no vaccines and one with a vaccine program “that achieved only half the daily vaccination rate of actual rollout.”

Vilches TN, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.42725.
Vilches TN, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.42725.

“For each scenario, cumulative infections, hospitalizations, and deaths were compared with the simulated trends under the U.S. vaccination program,” they explained.

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

According to the researchers, vaccinations prevented a wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the alpha variant that would have occurred in April 2021, if not for vaccines. 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 were administered at half of the reported pace, the authors estimated the U.S. would have still 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 counties with low vaccination coverage, will be crucial to preventing avoidable COVID-19 cases and bringing the pandemic to a close,” the authors wrote.