CDC, Wisconsin doctors: Nearly every COVID-19 death is preventable, if you’re vaccinated

MADISON, Wis.– An average of 300 Americans a day, including one or two in Wisconsin, still die from COVID-19. Doctors say that number could be practically zero if everyone who is eligible got the vaccine.

According to the CDC, of the more than 18,000 Americans who died from COVID-19 in May 2021, only 150 were fully vaccinated. That means 99.2% of all coronavirus deaths were among unvaccinated people, and less than 1% of people who received full protection against the virus died.

Click here for the latest numbers from the CDC.

“That’s remarkable,” said SSM Health’s Mo Kharbat. “Because we didn’t see these outcomes in other vaccines.”

From the flu shot to the polio vaccine, Kharbat, Regional VP of Pharmacy Services at SSM, says no vaccination has ever been this effective.

UW Health Doctor Jeff Pothof agrees it’s a remarkable outcome, but not necessarily unexpected.

“Months later, with hundreds of millions of people vaccinated, the numbers are holding,” Pothof said, referencing numbers from clinical trials, where vaccine efficacy was first proven.

Now, eight months later, those statistics have become reality in Madison-area hospitals, too: 99% of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wisconsin were eligible for the vaccine and did not receive it. 95% of Wisconsinites who died last month were unvaccinated.

“That second number is a little bit lower because people who get COVID-19, who are fully vaccinated, usually have other things going on,” Pothof explained.

Organ transplant patients, people currently fighting cancer, or those with other underlying, undiagnosed conditions all fall into the category of Americans who might not receive full protection from the vaccine.

“Everyone 12 & up should get the vaccine,” Kharbat reinforced, adding that vaccines could soon have doctors calling COVID-19 a ‘preventable’ disease.

“It’s a testament to how groundbreaking these vaccines are,” Pothof said.

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