Study estimates how many lives could have been saved with higher vax rates in the South

Oct. 13, 2021

It’s well known that COVID-19 vaccines have saved lives in the pandemic fight. But exactly how many lives have been lost by not getting a vaccine? A group of researchers have now put together a study that proposes an answer to that question.

Published recently in The Lancet, the authors of the study set up an experiment. They first examined states with the highest uptake in shots — including Vermont, Connecticut and Maine — where vaccination rates have hovered around 74%. Using that rate as a benchmark, they then compared rates of COVID-19 transmission, hospitalizations and deaths with Florida and Texas, where vaccination rates have stalled at about 60% and 56%, respectively. 

The bottom line? If Florida and Texas had kept up with other states’ vaccination rates both states would have stopped: 

  • About 1,311,900 cases
  • 95,000 hospitalizations
  • 22,000 deaths 

“As the pandemic continues, efforts to increase vaccination will be crucial to preventing future SARS-CoV-2 variants that can fuel additional waves of severe illness, hospital admissions, and deaths,” the authors said.