How Many Lives Have Been Saved By COVID-19 Vaccines So Far?

In not even two years, COVID-19 has killed over 4.5 million people worldwide, including more than 640,000 Americans (per World Health Organization). Without a doubt, vaccines are the most effective tool we have to combat this pandemic. Research is conflicting, but available data suggest that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are at least 42% and as much as 96% effective against the delta variant (per Healthline).

The vaccines are even more effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Research published in The Lancet found that among the slim minority of fully vaccinated people who contracted COVID-19, the risk of hospitalization was slashed by 70%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated people are 25 times less likely to die of COVID-19.

With all of this in mind, it is no surprise that the COVID-19 vaccines have saved many lives in the United States and around the world.

COVID-19 vaccines may have saved up to 279,000 lives

Research by the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) found that vaccines have prevented up to 279,000 COVID-19 deaths and 1.25 million hospitalizations in the United States. Slashing the vaccination rate by half would have led to 450,000 additional hospitalizations and 120,000 additional deaths. Even the more conservative estimate offered by Health Affairs suggests that COVID-19 vaccines saved 140,000 lives.

"The vaccines have been strikingly successful in reducing the spread of the virus and saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States alone," Alison Galvani of YSPH told Yale News. However, she was quick to emphasize that "until a greater majority of Americans are vaccinated, many more people could still die from this virus. The danger is not over. Now is not the time to let down our guard."

According to the CDC, more than 53% of American adults are fully vaccinated, including more than 82% of people above the age of 65. However, vaccination rates vary widely by state, and communities with lower vaccination rates are bearing the brunt of the delta wave.