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COVID-19 vaccines saved millions of lives, over $1 trillion in costs, study says

Virus Outbreak Winter
Posted at 1:58 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 13:58:30-05

COVID-19 vaccines have saved lives. Leading scientists haven’t disputed that.

One study tried to quantify exactly how many lives have been saved and how much the U.S. saved in health care costs.

According to research from the Commonwealth Fund, COVID-19 vaccinations have prevented over 3.2 million deaths, 18 million hospital visits and 118 million infections. The financial benefit has reached over $1 trillion in averted medical costs, the group found.

Since December 2020, when the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered to those facing a high risk from COVID, the U.S. would have experienced 1.5 times more infections, 3.8 times more hospitalizations, and 4.1 times more deaths, the Commonwealth Fund said.

“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,” the group’s findings said. “This extraordinary achievement has been possible only through sustained funding and effective policymaking that ensured vaccines were available to all Americans.”

The Commonwealth Fund modeled the characteristics of five COVID-19 variants in making its determination.

Most of the U.S. population, especially those vulnerable to the virus, is considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 68.9% of the population is fully vaccinated. Of the adult population, that number rises to 78.6%.

Of those ages 65 and up, which is considered the most vulnerable age group, 93.8% are fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated, however, does not mean most have gotten updated boosters. Just 13.5% of those ages 5 and up are boosted, while 34.2% of those over age 65 have gotten a booster.