‘Lives were saved’: NYC COVID-19 vaccination effort prevented 250,000 cases, 8,300 deaths

man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in harlem

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Harlem on Feb. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK — New York City’s vaccination campaign has prevented thousands of cases and about 8,300 COVID-related deaths in 2021, an analysis shows.

Epidemiologists at Yale University, supported by the Commonwealth Fund, found that NYC’s push to get people vaccinated prevented 250,000 COVID-19 cases, 44,000 hospitalizations and 8,300 deaths since the beginning of the vaccine rollout through July 1. 

“Lives were saved,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, “history was altered by this massive vaccination effort.”

“Our city has been through too much suffering to allow hospitalizations and death to needlessly continue. The stakes are so high, and we simply cannot emphasize enough how urgent it is for New Yorkers to get vaccinated,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said.

In 2021, about 98.4% of hospitalizations and 98.8% of deaths related to COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and June 15 were in those who were not fully vaccinated, according to the Health Department.

Chokshi previously told PIX11 News almost all New Yorkers who have experienced severe illness — requiring oxygen, hospitalization, and requiring a breathing tube — in the last two months were not fully vaccinated when they contracted COVID.

“My concern is primarily for people who remain unvaccinated. The reason is that we know this virus is wiley; it’s proven itself a formidable foe and it will find the cracks in our armor,” he said. “Right now, the greatest cracks in our armor are the places and the people who remain unvaccinated.”

As the vaccine rollout shows promising data, Mayor de Blasio and health officials continue to urge more people to get vaccinated, especially as the more contagious delta variant continues to pose a threat.

New York City has seen a recent uptick in positive cases. As of Wednesday, the city reported a seven-day positivity rate of 1.33%, nearly double the positivity rate one month ago.

“We should consider this an outbreak among those who are unvaccinated,” Dr. Chokshi said.

As the city sees a rise in cases, the mayor unveiled five pillars that will be used to get more people vaccinated and defeat the delta variant.

Five Pillars

  •  Deploying mobile vaccine sites in undervaccinated communities 
  • Unleashing door-to-door canvassers to get the message out
  • Delivery in-home vaccine service to anyone who asks for it
  • Expand referral bonus program for local non-profit organizations
  • Drive more doctors to reach out to their patients

“So much of that suffering is now avoidable because of the vaccines,” Dr. Chokshi said.

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