FRIDAY, July 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- COVID-19 vaccines have prevented at least 279,000 deaths and 1.25 million hospitalizations in the United States, but the Delta variant poses a significant threat to that progress, researchers say.
"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," said study author Alison Galvani, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at the Yale School of Public Health.
"Yet until a greater majority of Americans are vaccinated, many more people could still die from this virus," she said in a Yale news release. "The danger is not over. Now is not the time to let down our guard."
Galvani and her team analyzed data from Oct. 1, 2020 through July 1 and found that more than 328 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were given during that time, and that 67% of adults received at least one dose.
If only half as many shots had been administered there would have been more than 120,000 additional deaths and 450,000 additional hospitalizations, according to the researchers.
It also found that the number of COVID-19 cases plummeted from more than 300,000 a day at the pandemic's peak in January to less than 20,000 a day in mid-June.
However, the progress made with the national vaccination program could be quickly reversed by the highly transmissible Delta variant if it triggers a spike of new cases among the millions of people who haven't been vaccinated, the researchers warned.
The study was published July 7 by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization that focuses on health care issues.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccines.
SOURCE: Yale University School of Public Health, news release, July 9, 2021