Scientists from CDC found that fewer people die from COVID-19 in better-vaccinated communities.
They analyzed data across 2,558 counties in 48 US states and found that counties with high vaccine coverage had a more than 80% reduction in death rates compared with largely unvaccinated counties.
The research is published in The BMJ.
As of 11 April 2022, more than 11 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally and the World Health Organization’s target is to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by mid-2022.
In the study, the team estimated how increasing county coverage of vaccines affected population-level mortality and incidence of COVID-19.
Their findings are based on more than 30 million cases of COVID-19 and over 400,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 across 2558 counties, which were reported during the second year of the pandemic.
The team found that increased vaccination coverage in counties was linked to reduced levels of COVID-19-related mortality and cases.
For example, during the first half of 2021, when the alpha variant of coronavirus was dominant, the COVID-19 mortality rate was reduced by 60%, 75%, and 81% in counties with low, medium, and high vaccination coverage, respectively, compared with counties that had very low coverage.
The corresponding figures for the reduction in cases were 57%, 70%, and 80%.
Similar reductions in mortality were also seen during the second half of 2021 when the delta variant became dominant in the US, although with smaller effects on case levels.
These findings were similar after further sensitivity analyses, suggesting that they withstand scrutiny.
This study adds to the evidence that vaccination can prevent infection and illness on a large scale.
It shows that many more lives could have been saved, and will be saved, by encouraging people to keep up to date with vaccination in the face of waning immunity and new coronavirus variants and by achieving even higher population coverage.
If you care about COVID, please read studies about a new drug that could prevent COVID-19, and scientists find antibodies that can neutralize Omicron.
For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about new ways to predict who will get severe COVID-19 and die, and results showing people with COVID-19 infections may age much faster.
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