Public health impact of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine


With the SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) pandemic heading into its third year, millions of lives have been lost, including over a million in the US.

There are several vaccines now available to help slow the spread of the virus and help ease from a pandemic mindset to an endemic mindset.

In terms of the efficacy of the vaccines, a recent study estimated the public health impact of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (BNT162b2), as it was the first to be rolled out in the US.1

Prior to the start of the vaccination drive, it was estimated at ~33 million Americans over the age of 12 tested positive for the SARS-CoV2 virus and had recovered, and this number was used for further estimations.

It was estimated that if there weren’t a vaccination drive, roughly 59.5 million people would catch the virus, resulting in a loss of almost $279 billion dollars to the economy.

Though with the vaccination drive, it is estimated to have prevented over 111,000 deaths, almost 700,000 hospitalizations, and save $30.4 billion dollars in related healthcare costs.

According to the researchers, “The analyses show that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine contributed substantial public health impact in the US in 2021, and had a deep effect on the trajectory of the pandemic. It was estimated to prevent millions of COVID-19 symptomatic cases, thousands of hospitalizations and deaths, and generated billions in societal economic value in the US in 2021.” 2 


  1. Di Fusco M, Marczell K, Deger KA, Moran MM, Wiemken TL, Cane A, de Boisvilliers S, Yang J, Vaghela S, and Roiz J. (2022) “Public health impact of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) in the first year of rollout in the United States” Journal of Medical Economics 25(1): 605-617; DOI:10.1080/13696998.2022.2071427
  2. News release: Nearly 700,000 US hospitalizations and 110,000 deaths prevented from the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, national study finds.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán at Pexels

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