Tens of thousands of COVID-19 deaths over the past four months could have been prevented had people gotten vaccinated, a new analysis finds.
Researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that 90,000 virus-related deaths since June 2021 – while the vaccine was widely available – were avoidable.
More than half, nearly 50,000, of these preventable deaths occurred in September, and 24,600 deaths occurring in August.
Researchers want health officials to do more to help reach the remaining 70 million unvaccinated Americans, and convince them to get the shots to protect themselves.
A KFF analysis finds that more than 90,000 deaths in the U.S. between June and September of 2021 – 80% of total deaths – could have been prevented by the COVID-19 vaccines
The researchers, who published their findings Wednesday as part of the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, used official death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their analysis.
Dr Krutika Amin, associate director of the tracker and one of the study’s authors, told DailyMail.com that her team looked at the total number of reported Covid deaths in the four months from June to September 2021.
They excluded deaths that resulted from so-called ‘breakthrough’ infections, which occur when fully vaccinated people contract the virus.
Next, the team took the remaining deaths, and applied the reported 91 percent effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing death from the virus.
In total, they found 91,100 deaths in the U.S. that could have been prevented if those people were fully vaccinated.
Over that four-month time period, 102,469 Americans died from the virus, meaning that 89 percent of U.S. deaths over the period were preventable according to the KFF analysis.
Another analysis by KFF finds that unvaccinated Americans also cost $5.7 billion in avoidable hospital bills from June to August.
Amin believes health officials should try to relay these numbers to the remaining unvaccinated people, and let them know what kind of risk they may be taking by not getting jabbed.
‘I think there are still ways for people to get out there and reach people who are still unvaccinated by continuing to inform them about how effective the vaccines are, [and that] the overwhelming majority of these deaths and also severe illnesses and hospitalizations, are among unvaccinated people,’ she told DailyMail.com.
Currently in the U.S., everyone aged 12 or older is eligible for at least one of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The CDC reports that 76.6 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 66 percent are fully vaccinated.
Cases and deaths are back on the way down in the U.S. at the moment, with cases cutting nearly in half from 175,000 new cases per day in mid-September to around 90,000 per day currently.
Deaths have dropped by around 15 percent as well, from around 2,000 deaths per day in late September to 1,700 being recorded every day in early October.
While things are trending the right way, due to the evolving nature of the virus, and the constant changing of local Covid regulations nationwide, KFF cannot make a prediction for what will happen going forward.
‘Because things of Covid have changed over time with the different variants, how many people are vaccinated, and other factors like states and local governments opening things up…we do not have a projection on what will happen in the future,’ Amin said.
COVID-19 emerged as the second leading cause of death for Americans in September, killing nearly 1,700 people every day. Only heart disease killed more Americans
Last year, cases were rising around this time of the year, setting the table for a massive post-holiday season COVID-19 outbreak that is still the largest surge of the pandemic.
Cases are trending the other way this time, though, and with more than half of Americans vaccinated, there is a chance this holiday season will be safer.
The KFF report also found that COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death for all Americans in the month of September – killing 1,693 people every day – and surpassing cancer.
Only heart disease, which is consistently the leading cause of death for Americans, was a bigger killer than Covid last month with 2,000 people dying of the condition every day.
The virus was among the top seven causes of death of every age group last month.