Approximately 168,000 of the 800,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented by the Covid vaccines, a new analysis finds.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analyzed Covid death data in the U.S., and found that tens-of-thousands of deaths over the past six months could have been prevented if people had gotten vaccinated.
They used the death rate among fully vaccinated people – who do occasionally die from the virus despite the overall rarity – and calculated how many unvaccinated people would have lived if they had received the jab.
September and October were especially brutal, with a combined 92,800 deaths deemed preventable.
The United States recording its 800,000th COVID-19 death this week, a grim milestone in the pandemic so far, with one-fifth of them being avoidable, per KFF.
Researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 163,000 or 800,000 Covid deaths recorded in America could have been prevented by the vaccines – or one in every five
The KFF team gathered data as of the end of November, when 780,561 deaths attributed to Covid had been recorded.
Covid vaccines first became available in the U.S. in December 2020, though only the most vulnerable people were eligible for the shots at first.
Over time, eligibility was slowly widened, and the KFF team believes that by June 2020, every American adult had the opportunity to get fully vaccinated – if they wanted to.
From June to November 2021, approximately 186,500 Americans died of Covid.
Researchers determined that 7,100 of those people were vaccinated, and by analyzing the vaccines effectiveness at preventing death. determined that 16,100 unvaccinated people would have died even if they had received the shots.
That leaves 163,300 people who could have prevented their deaths had they chosen to get vaccinated.
September was the deadliest month, with around 58,700 Americans succumbing to the virus, and 51,200 of those deaths could have been avoided, the KFF analysis finds.
Across August, September and October, 117,400 preventable Covid deaths occurred.
A large portion of this data set took place before the Omicron variant rose to prominence in late November.
Researchers note that ‘full vaccination’ – receiving either two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – may not be as effective against the new strain, as multiple studies have found.
Both Pfizer and Moderna released data showing their vaccines were less effective against the new strain, but booster shots could help in re-establishing some level of protection.
A South Africa study published Wednesday also found that the J&J jab provided little to no protection at all from the strain.
Health officials, including Dr Anthony Fauci – America’s top infectious disease expert – even said last week that the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ would eventually change to only include people who have received their COVID-19 booster.
Currently, only 16 percent of Americans have received their booster shot, leaving a vast majority of the country still vulnerable to the variant.
Early data does show that the variant may not cause infections that are as severe as previous strains of the virus, though, a promising sign going forward.
COVID-19 was the leading killer of Americans in December 2020, and Janaury and February of 2021
The virus is now the third leading killer of Americans, accounting for 1,110 deaths per day in November, KFF finds
The KFF research team also found that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death for Americans last month, killing 1,110 people in the U.S. every day.
Only heart disease, which caused around 2,088 deaths per day, and cancer, 1,640 deaths per day, killed more Americans than Covid did in November.
Despite the many deaths suffered over summer, the virus never took over as the leading killer of Americans.
Only three months during the entire pandemic was it the leading killer of Americans, in December of 2020, and January and February of 2021.
Earlier this week, the U.S. eclipsed 800,000 COVID-19 deaths and 50 million total cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.