Dr. Sumedha Gupta recently published an article titled, “Vaccinations Against COVID-19 May Have Averted Up To 140,000 Deaths In The United States” in the journal Health Affairs.
COVID-19 vaccination campaigns continue in the United States, with the expectation that vaccines will slow transmission of the virus, save lives, and enable a return to normal life in due course. However, the extent to which faster vaccine administration has affected COVID-19-related deaths is unknown. We assessed the association between US state-level vaccination rates and COVID-19 deaths during the first five months of vaccine availability. We estimated that by May 9, 2021, the US vaccination campaign was associated with a reduction of 139,393 COVID-19 deaths. The association varied in different states. In New York, for example, vaccinations led to an estimated 11.7 fewer COVID-19 deaths per 10,000, whereas Hawaii observed the smallest reduction, with an estimated 1.1 fewer deaths per 10,000. Overall, our analysis suggests that the early COVID-19 vaccination campaign was associated with reductions in COVID-19 deaths. As of May 9, 2021, reductions in COVID-19 deaths associated with vaccines had translated to value of statistical life benefit ranging between $625 billion and $1.4 trillion.
Sumedha Gupta is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI