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By the Numbers: COVID-19 Vaccines Save 3 Million U.S. Lives

December 27, 2022

The U.S. has administered more than 662 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during the past two years, potentially preventing three million additional deaths due to the virus.

A new analysis released this month from the Commonwealth Foundation reviews the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and its role to prevent severe outcomes due to the virus. The report uses computer models of disease transmission and “age-stratified demographics, risk factors, and immunological dynamics of infection and vaccination” to assesses the impact of the nation’s vaccination campaign.

The vaccine has played an important role to prevent severe outcomes and preserve hospital resources to provide timely care to patients.

“The swift development of the vaccine, emergency authorization to distribute widely, and rapid rollout have been instrumental in curbing hospitalization and death, while mitigating socioeconomic repercussions of the pandemic,” the report notes.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Outcomes:  From 2020 through November 2022, it’s estimated the COVID-19 vaccines helped avert 3.2 million additional deaths, 18.5 million hospitalizations, and nearly 120 million infections.
  • Costs:  The associated medical costs without the vaccination program would have been about $1.15 trillion.
  • Fun fact:  Critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay, was the first person to receive the vaccine outside of a clinical trial in the U.S. .
  • Quotable:  “In other words, without vaccination the U.S. would have experienced 1.5 times more infections, 3.8 times more hospitalizations, and 4.1 times more deaths,” the report notes. “These losses would have been accompanied by more than $1 trillion in additional medical costs that were averted because of fewer infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.”

The vaccine has been critical to provide protection, even amid the spread of Omicron and other variants, the study authors wrote.

“However, the vaccines provided broader and more durable protection against severe clinical outcomes, including hospitalization and death,” the report concluded. “The reported ‘mild’ nature of Omicron is in large part because of vaccine protection.”

To protect your loved ones, your friends, and your community, HAP strongly encourages everyone who is eligible to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.  Learn the latest on bivalent booster doses and where you can make an appointment in your neighborhood.

The Commonwealth Fund’s report is available to review online.