Estimated preventable COVID-19-associated deaths due to non-vaccination in the United States

Eur J Epidemiol. 2023 Nov;38(11):1125-1128. doi: 10.1007/s10654-023-01006-3. Epub 2023 Apr 24.


While some studies have previously estimated lives saved by COVID-19 vaccination, we estimate how many deaths could have been averted by vaccination in the US but were not because of a failure to vaccinate. We used a simple method based on a nationally representative dataset to estimate the preventable deaths among unvaccinated individuals in the US from May 30, 2021 to September 3, 2022 adjusted for the effects of age and time. We estimated that at least 232,000 deaths could have been prevented among unvaccinated adults during the 15 months had they been vaccinated with at least a primary series. While uncertainties exist regarding the exact number of preventable deaths and more granular data are needed on other factors causing differences in death rates between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups to inform these estimates, this method is a rapid assessment on vaccine-preventable deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 that has crucial public health implications. The same rapid method can be used for future public health emergencies.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Vaccine-preventable deaths.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccination


  • COVID-19 Vaccines