• COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths averted under an accelerated vaccination program in northeastern and southern regions of the USA.

      Vilches, Thomas N; Sah, Pratha; Moghadas, Seyed M; Shoukat, Affan; Fitzpatrick, Meagan C; Hotez, Peter J; Schneider, Eric C; Galvani, Alison P (Elsevier, 2022-02)
      Background: The fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemic peaked in the US at 160,000 daily cases, concentrated primarily in southern states. As the Delta variant has continued to spread, we evaluated the impact of accelerated vaccination on reducing hospitalization and deaths across northeastern and southern regions of the US census divisions. Methods: We used an age-stratified agent-based model of COVID-19 to simulate outbreaks in all states within two U.S. regions. The model was calibrated using reported incidence in each state from October 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021, and parameterized with characteristics of the circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants and state-specific daily vaccination rate. We then projected the number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths that would be averted between September 2021 and the end of March 2022 if the states increased their daily vaccination rate by 20 or 50% compared to maintaining the status quo pace observed during August 2021. Findings: A 50% increase in daily vaccine doses administered to previously unvaccinated individuals is projected to prevent a total of 30,727 hospitalizations and 11,937 deaths in the two regions between September 2021 and the end of March 2022. Southern states were projected to have a higher weighted average number of hospitalizations averted (18.8) and lives saved (8.3) per 100,000 population, compared to the weighted average of hospitalizations (12.4) and deaths (2.7) averted in northeastern states. On a per capita basis, a 50% increase in daily vaccinations is expected to avert the most hospitalizations in Kentucky (56.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 averted with 95% CrI: 45.56 - 69.9) and prevent the most deaths in Mississippi, (22.1 deaths per 100,000 population prevented with 95% CrI: 18.0 - 26.9). Interpretation: Accelerating progress to population-level immunity by raising the daily pace of vaccination would prevent substantial hospitalizations and deaths in the US, even in those states that have passed a Delta-driven peak in infections. Funding: This study was supported by The Commonwealth Fund. SMM acknowledges the support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research [OV4 - 170643, COVID-19 Rapid Research] and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Emerging Infectious Disease Modelling, MfPH grant. MCF acknowledges support from the National Institutes of Health (5 K01 AI141576).