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New Report: National COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Prevented 280K Deaths

Researchers from Yale and The Commonwealth Fund estimate the COVID-19 vaccine prevented spring surge of hospitalizations, deaths

July 08, 2021

The nation’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign has prevented nearly 280,000 deaths and 1.25 million hospitalizations since December, according to a new report released this week.

The report highlighted the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to prevent a spring surge that could have brought COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths above their winter peak. The vaccine was particularly important with the emergence of new, more transmissible variants, the report noted.

“The swift early rollout of the vaccine program, which ramped up during February and March and exceeded 3.3 million doses administered per day in April 2021, played a critical role in curtailing the pandemic,” the report noted.

In Pennsylvania, about 63 percent of the population had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 61 percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated, state officials said today.

The report indicated the following benefits from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout:

  • Fewer cases, deaths:  Without a vaccination program, the U.S. would have recorded about 279,000 additional deaths and up to 1.25 million additional hospitalizations by June
  • Speed is key:  Broad distribution of the vaccine arrived at a critical time. At half the actual pace of vaccination, the country would have experienced 121,000 additional deaths and more than 450,000 additional hospitalizations
  • Spring surge:  Without the vaccine, daily COVID-19 cases could have jumped to nearly 4,500 per day during a “2021 spring surge.” That rate would have surpassed the daily peak of 4,000 cases during winter 2021

The vaccines were critical to limit the impact of the Alpha and Gamma variants this spring, the report noted.

The White House’s COVID-19 Response Team highlighted the report during its briefing today, while encouraging Americans across the nation to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The growing presence of the Delta variant poses a threat in communities with low COVID-19 vaccination rates, but the COVID-19 vaccines appear to provide protection against the variant, the nation’s leading public health officials said today.

While COVID-19 case counts remain far below the winter levels, areas of the country with lower vaccination rates are beginning to see an uptick in cases.

"The bottom line is there's simply no reason that anyone 12 and older should be severely impacted by this virus, so our focus is on reaching those who have still not made the choice to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities,” said Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator.

To help limit the spread of the virus, HAP urges the remaining Pennsylvanians who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine to make an appointment. The vaccines are safe, effective, and free, and have been approved for people age 12 and older. Getting vaccinated protects you, the people you love, and your community from COVID-19 and brings us closer to the end of the pandemic.