KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal report released Tuesday concludes that thousands of Kansans and Missourians avoided COVID-19 infections and COVID-19-related deaths in early 2021 thanks to initial vaccination efforts.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation within the Department of Health and Human Services wanted to study the effectiveness of vaccination efforts between January and the end of May, 2021 in reducing the number of cases and deaths associated with COVID-19, specifically among the Medicare population, which is roughly 63 million people.
Nationwide, the study found that those vaccination efforts lead to a reduction of 265,000 COVID-19 infections and 39,000 COVID-19 deaths among the Medicare population.
The study found that 700 lives in Kansas were saved during the time period and more than 4,300 COVID-19 cases were prevented due to the vaccination efforts. In Missouri, 900 lives were saved during the time period and more than 6,700 COVID-19 cases were prevented due to the vaccine.
The data shows that, of the Medicare population, roughly 68% of the group had received the vaccine as of May 31, 2021. Kansas had a slightly higher vaccination rate of 71.3%. Missouri’s vaccination rate of 63.6% was lower than the national rate.
"We find that higher county vaccination rates were associated with significant reductions in the odds of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death among Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries between January and May 2021," the study's authors report.
The authors wrote in the study that they could for every 10% increase in county-level vaccination rates, the percentage of people who required hospitalization or died from COVID-19 decreased by 10%.