Thousands of lives in California could have been saved with COVID vaccines: study

CALIFORNIA – Thousands of COVID-19 deaths in California – and an estimated 319,000 nationwide – could have been prevented after vaccines became widely available early last year, according to a new analysis from researchers in health.

In California, some 21,730 of the 63,877 deaths from COVID-19, or 709.7 deaths per 1 million people, could have been prevented with vaccine protection, according to the analysis published on the Global Epidemics website of the California. Brown School of Public Health.

A dashboard showing a state-by-state breakdown of preventable deaths related to COVID-19 from January 2021 to last month was released earlier this month as a descendant of the omicron variant becomes the dominant strain of the virus.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Microsoft AI for Health also contributed to the analysis.

They say their analysis shows that since vaccines became widely available, one in two deaths from COVID-19 could have been prevented.

COVID-19 has killed more than a million people in the United States since the first deaths were reported in 2020. Daily news reports COVID-19 infections have tripled since April, according to a database maintained by The New York Times, increasing in nearly every US state, but especially in the Northeast and Midwest.

In those areas, the Times reported, case reports are now higher than they were before the surge in delta variants last summer. However, with the availability of home tests whose results do not appear in official counts, the number of people infected with COVID-19 may be underestimated.

On average, more than 300 people die each day, less than the average of 2,600 people who died daily at the height of the omicron surge, according to the Times.

At the height of the pandemic in California, authorities issued safe-at-home orders and indoor mask mandates to help stem rising cases.

Although those orders have been lifted with the advent of vaccines, California faces a possible new wave of the virus as the number of cases rises across the state.


RELATED: California prepares for the latest wave of COVID


In California, about 72.6% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker. If you haven’t received a vaccine or booster, they are available at several locations in California, including doctor’s offices, stand-alone pharmacies, and pharmacies in grocery stores.

All ages 12 and up are eligible for a booster injection, and federal health officials recommend people 50 and older get a second booster shot. A CDC advisory committee was set to meet Thursday to decide whether to recommend boosters for children ages 5 to 11, an age group where vaccine hesitancy is high.

Stefanie Friedhoff, a professor at Brown and one of the authors of the analysis, told National Public Radio on Deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine was both “a remarkable success and a remarkable failure”.

The United States was the first to make vaccines available, Friedhoff said, but “didn’t start education campaigns about the importance of vaccines very early.”

“We dramatically underestimated the investment it would take to educate people about vaccines because, overall, we haven’t had a deadly disease like this, so people have walked away from the significant impact of vaccination,” she told NPR.

Once the vaccines became available, more lives could have been saved in the months since the vaccines became available. States where the most lives could have been saved tended to have high rates of vaccine hesitancy. They are ranked by the number of deaths per 1 million people that could have been prevented with vaccines:

  • West Virginia: 3,350 deaths out of 5,483, or 2,337.6 deaths per 1 million population.
  • Wyoming: 938 deaths out of 1,374, or 2,109.4 deaths per 1 million population.
  • Tennessee: 11,047 deaths out of 1898, or 2,076.7 per 1 million population.
  • Kentucky: 7,154 deaths out of 12,419, or 2,065.0 per 1 million population.
  • Oklahoma: 5,833 deaths out of 11,744, or 1,939.9 per 1 million population.

Places with high vaccine compliance had the fewest preventable deaths. They understand:

  • Washington, DC: 164 of 548 deaths, or 284.6 per 1 million population.
  • Massachusetts: 1,957 deaths out of 7,761, or 353.4 per 1 million population.
  • Puerto Rico: 1,232 deaths out of 2,681, or 470.5 per 1 million inhabitants.
  • Vermont: 287 deaths out of 498, or 562.3 per 1 million inhabitants.
  • Hawaii: 734 deaths out of 1,128, or 657.9 per 1 million inhabitants.

To learn more about the mapping project, visit National Public Radioread the story and listen to the four-minute interview with Stefanie Friedhoff.

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