COVID vaccines saved 3.2 million US lives, researchers say

The COVID-19 vaccines developed by biotech companies Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson saved more than 3 million American lives over a two-year period, according to new research from the Commonwealth Fund.

The first coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. was administered in December 2020. Since then, health care workers have put more than 655 million doses into the arms of Americans, with 80 percent of the population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Commonwealth Fund estimated the vaccines prevented more than 18.5 million hospitalizations and 3.2 million deaths from December 2020 to last month.

Researchers added the vaccines also prevented 120 million more COVID-19 infections and saved the U.S. more than $1 trillion.

“The unprecedented pace at which vaccines were developed and deployed has saved many lives and allowed for safer easing of COVID-19 restrictions and reopening of businesses, schools, and other activities,” researchers wrote in a blog post. “This extraordinary achievement has been possible only through sustained funding and effective policymaking that ensured vaccines were available to all Americans.”

The Commonwealth Fund employed a model that incorporated daily data of vaccinations in the U.S. and also pulled incidence data, including the trends of hospitalizations and deaths. A simulation was modeled off of the pandemic’s trajectory without vaccinations for comparison.

While the first rollout of vaccines applied only to adults, now children as young as 6 months can get vaccinated in the U.S.

With a majority of Americans vaccinated, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across the country have plateaued.

Still, hundreds of people are dying from the novel coronavirus everyday. The White House is pushing to get Americans updated on their vaccinations with booster shots as immunity wanes, leaving the people more vulnerable to reinfection.

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