THURSDAY, April 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Higher vaccination coverage is associated with lower rates of COVID-19 mortality and incidence in the United States, according to a study published online April 27 in The BMJ.

Amitabh Bipin Suthar, Pharm.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted an observational study to examine the impact of vaccine scale-up on population-level COVID-19 mortality in the United States. Data were included for residents of 2,558 counties from 48 U.S. states. The impact of a 10 percent improvement in county vaccination coverage was estimated.

The researchers found that over 132,791 county weeks, there were 30,643,878 cases of COVID-19 and 439,682 deaths associated with COVID-19. There was an 8 percent reduction in mortality rates and a 7 percent reduction in incidence in association with a 10 percent improvement in vaccination coverage. During the period of predominance of the alpha and delta variants, higher vaccination coverage levels were associated with reduced mortality and incidence rates.

“The findings of this study also make clear that many more lives could have been saved, and will be saved, by encouraging people to keep up to date with vaccination in the face of waning immunity and new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants and by achieving even higher population coverage,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “How many lives is a matter for others to explore. Meanwhile, this new study is another confidence booster for COVID-19 vaccines.”

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