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1.4 lakh deaths, 30 lakh cases — what early Covid vaccinations helped prevent in US

Study in Health Affairs journal estimates number of lives that were saved during the first 5 months of the vaccination campaign in each of America's 50 states and Washington DC.

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New Delhi: Early vaccination efforts in the US likely prevented nearly 1.40 lakh deaths and 30 lakh cases of Covid-19 by the second week of May this year, a new study estimates.

In the study published in the journal Health Affairs, researchers estimated the number of lives that were saved during the first five months of the vaccination campaign in each of the 50 states and Washington DC.

New York saw the largest estimated reduction, with 11.7 fewer Covid-19 deaths per 10,000 adults. Hawaii, meanwhile, observed the smallest reduction, with 1.1 fewer Covid-19 deaths per 10,000 adult residents.

The Covid vaccination programme in the US was rolled out in December 2020. As a result of this, the country on average experienced five fewer deaths from Covid for every 10,000 adults.

“This study brings into focus the dramatic success of the early months of the nation’s coronavirus vaccine rollout,” Christopher Whaley, a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organisation, said in a statement.

“The findings provide support for policies that further expand vaccine administration to enable a larger proportion of the nation’s population to benefit,” said Whaley, who is also one of the authors of the study.

Also read: How nasal bacteria could hold key to improving intranasal Covid vaccines

Economic value of lives saved

The coronavirus pandemic has led to over 6,40,000 deaths in the US — the highest in the world. However, according to the researchers, Covid-19 case numbers and deaths have fallen sharply since the vaccination programme began.

Researchers from RAND and Indiana University created models to estimate the number of deaths that would have prevailed in the absence of Covid vaccinations.

They compared the difference between the reported deaths and the modelled estimates to arrive at the number of Covid deaths that were likely prevented by the vaccination campaign between 21 December 2020 and 9 May 2021.

The team also estimated the economic value of the lives saved during the study period, which they said is between $625 billion and $1.4 trillion.

The US government had allocated $13 billion for vaccine development and manufacturing.

“Our results suggest that further efforts to vaccinate populations globally and in a coordinated fashion will be critical to achieving greater control of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sumedha Gupta, first author of the study and an economist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said in a statement.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)

Also read: Moderna’s mRNA vaccine safe & effective in teens, US clinical trial findings show


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