Vaccines could have prevented 22,000 deaths in Florida, Texas, study suggests

If 74 percent of Texas and Florida residents had been vaccinated against COVID-19 by August, they could have reported a total of 95,000 fewer hospitalizations and 22,000 fewer deaths, according to a study published Oct. 7 by The Lancet.

Researchers adapted a model of virus transmission to the demography, contact patterns and age-stratified vaccination trajectories of Florida and Texas. The model accounted for the spread of alpha, gamma, iota and delta variants in addition to the original strain. The model was calibrated to the reported incidence in each state between Oct. 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2021.   

The researchers scaled the model to achieve 74 percent coverage of fully vaccinated adults by July 31, 2021. The 74 percent mark matches the average vaccination pace of top-performing states Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island. In comparison, Florida and Texas reported only 59.5 percent and 55.8 percent of adults fully vaccinated by July 31, respectively. 

Achieving 74 percent vaccination coverage by July 31 and continuing with the associated daily rate would have averted 664,007 additional cases in Florida and 647,906 infections in Texas. By Aug. 31, the enhanced vaccination in Florida would have reduced hospital admissions by 61,327 and deaths by 16,235. The reduction in Texas hospitalizations by Aug. 31 would have been 37,587, and the reduction in deaths would have been 6,353.  

Researchers also found that if vaccination rates accelerated daily by 50 percent starting Sept. 1, more than 26,000 cases and 1,200 deaths could have been prevented in both states by Oct. 31.


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