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Update: COVID Vaccines Prevent 2.2 Million U.S. Deaths, 17 Million Hospitalizations

Vaccination campaign helped reduce Omicron’s winter surge

April 11, 2022

The COVID-19 vaccines helped prevent 2.2 million additional deaths, 17 million hospitalizations, and nearly $900 billion in associated health care costs, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund.

The report highlights the lifesaving benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines to help protect against the “massive wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.” While Omicron challenged U.S. health systems this winter, the toll could have been even greater without vaccinations, the report says.

“Our findings highlight the profound and ongoing impact of the vaccination program in reducing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths,” the report concludes.

The report, released this month, updates previous analysis from December that found the U.S. vaccine rollout helped avert 1.1 million deaths and 10.3 million hospitalizations through summer and early autumn of 2021 due to the Delta variant.

The report found that COVID-19 vaccines helped the U.S. avoid:

  • 2,265,222 deaths
  • 17,003,960 hospitalizations
  • 66,159,093 cases
  • $899.4 billion in health care costs

The report covers the span between December 12, 2020 and March 31, 2022.

“Redoubling efforts to increase vaccine uptake, especially among the elderly and other vulnerable groups, will be critical to avert outbreaks as pandemic restrictions are lifted,” the report concludes. “With continued spread of the BA.2 subvariant, our findings point to the tremendous power of vaccination to reduce disease burden from COVID-19.”

HAP encourages everyone to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines provide protection for you, your loved ones, and your community. In addition, it’s important to monitor the COVID-19 community levels to assess the spread of the virus in your region.

The Commonwealth Fund’s issue brief is available to review online. More information about how the analysts reached their estimates also is available.