As the United States confronts an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths fueled by the delta variant, a new study from researchers at the RAND Corporation and Indiana University provides support for policies that expand vaccine administration. The study finds that the first few months of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign prevented nearly 140,000 deaths and 3 million cases of COVID-19 nationwide.
Speed of early vaccination campaigns varied greatly among states and researchers examined state-level data to measure the association between vaccination rates and changes in COVID-19 deaths in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Adjusting for population size, New York saw the largest estimated reduction, with 11.7 fewer COVID-19 deaths per 10,000 adult residents. Hawaii observed the smallest reduction, with 1.1 fewer COVID-19 deaths per 10,000 adult residents.
The study estimates the economic value of the lives saved during the first five months of the vaccination campaign—from December 21, 2020, to May 9, 2021—to be between $625 billion and $1.4 trillion. In comparison, the federal government had allocated $13 billion for vaccine development and manufacturing through the end of 2020.
The study’s findings provide support for policies that expand vaccine administration to enable a larger proportion of the nation’s population to benefit. The results also 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.
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