Doubling pace of boosters could prevent 41,000 deaths, report finds

Ramping up COVID-19 booster administration could save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations over the next four months, according to a Jan.7 analysis from the Commonwealth Fund.

Researchers used a simulation model to project the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths if booster rates accelerated between January and April. 

In December, the U.S. administered about 770,000 booster shots daily. At that pace, the U.S. will see about 110 million new infections, 210,000 deaths and nearly 1.7 million hospitalizations over the next four months, the model predicted. 

By doubling the daily pace of boosters, the nation could prevent about 14 million infections, 41,000 deaths and more than 400,000 hospitalizations by the end of April, the model showed. If this rate tripled to 2.3 million boosters administered daily, the expected number of deaths and hospitalizations would fall by nearly 30 percent and 35 percent, respectively. 

"Tripling the pace of booster vaccination to 2.3 million doses is achievable," researchers wrote, noting that the U.S. administered about 2 million vaccine doses every day for nearly three months in early 2021.

"As omicron spreads, our findings highlight the urgent need to administer boosters as quickly as possible to everyone who is eligible," the researchers concluded. 

 

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