COVID-19 wreaked havoc in most parts of the world, as the U.S. has borne more than 625,000 deaths since January 2020. It is one of the most severely affected countries in the world. However, thanks to the vaccine, more than half of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated.
As a result, the Health Affairs journal predicts that the U.S. may have averted nearly 140,000 deaths thanks to the COVID-19 vaccination.
In a recent post, Medical News Today highlights some astonishing numbers that suggest how valuable the COVID-19 vaccination has saved the country’s vast population.
Estimates Suggest COVID Vaccine is a Valuable Asset for the US
RAND Corporation and Indiana University studied the effects of vaccination campaigns on a state-level and how it might have impacted deaths. As a result, they could predict the number of lives that were saved, possibly due to the COVID vaccine.
The data came from all the 50 states and Washington D.C. The researchers used Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker. In the analysis, the researchers measured all the doses administered in each state every week.
The researchers also used the survey population data from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results to analyze the doses per 100 people above 16 years.
Furthermore, the research also included daily vaccination data and state-reported COVID-19 deaths from New York Times database in calculating the cumulative deaths per 100 adults every week. This analysis calculated deaths from December 21st, 2020, to May 9th, 2021.
After calculating all the major aspects, the researchers estimated the number of deaths that might have occurred in each state if the vaccination plan was not put into place.
No Vaccination Campaigns Meant that the Death Toll Would be 1.2 Time Higher
The study authors believe that the cumulative deaths would be 1.2 times higher if not for the vaccination plans in early 2021.
As far as state levels are concerned, the state of New York showed the biggest impact of vaccination. There were 11.7 fewer deaths per 10,000 adults compared to Hawaii’s estimated values of 1.1 fewer deaths per 10,000 adults.
Database Limitations Cause Limitations to the Study
Even though the study presents eye-opening numbers and the value of COVID-19 vaccination, the researchers were quick to identify the study’s limitations. For instance, the database from Bloomberg does not account ethnicity, race, age, or occupation of the vaccinated people.
There was no segmentation on a regional basis, i.e., nursing homes, pharmacies, etc., and there was no identification of first and second doses either.
Another critical limitation was that the researchers couldn’t identify if the death prevention came from the vaccine or natural immunity.
According to Dr. Elitza Theel, the director of the Infectious Diseases Serology Lab, Mayo Clinic, there could have been further discussions about different levels of prevention for each state.
Dr. Theel noted that many of the vaccine receivers were under lockdowns while many others were under more lenient restrictions. These parameters also played a critical role in the measurement of the death tolls.
Researchers Call for Additional Research to Predict More Accurate Numbers
According to the researchers, this study can be a valuable support for making further policies regarding vaccination. There are many cases where people were unable to get hospitalization due to low income, and they eventually died due to insufficient health services.
Such cases are disproportionately high and call for immediate attention. Hence, it will provide equal opportunities for everyone to avail the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination.
Initial Vaccination Proved Beneficial, Study Author Believes
According to Dr. Christopher Whaley, a senior study author and a policy researcher at RAND, this study showed the clear success of the initial vaccination. These findings provide enough support to devise further policies regarding COVID and can help a wide population of the country.
Dr. William Schaffner is a professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He believes that this study is just an ignition to many more similar studies in the future. He added that future studies would not just look at the deaths but possible aversions from hospitals and ICUs due to the vaccination.
More Research Needed as COVID Variants Emerge
Dr. Theel and Dr. Schaffner are convinced that there is a need for more research as the SARS-CoV-2 variants keep emerging in different parts of the world. According to Dr. Theel, it is important to identify how efficient the current vaccines can be in fighting different variants of the disease.
As researchers continue to refine the research methods by involving several critical parameters, it is evident that determining the essential parameters can help devise better policies to fight the pandemic in the future.
Furthermore, these studies can prove to be the stepping stone for the future as more researchers join the bandwagon on research regarding the efficacy of vaccinations.
Whatever the future may bring, this study is a definite milestone that elaborates the value of COVID-19 vaccination that has possibly averted nearly 140,000 deaths.