Increasing COVID-19 vaccination in the United States: projected impact on cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by age and racial group

Public Health, 2022


Minority populations in the United States face a disproportionate burden of illness from COVID-19 infection and have lower vaccination rates compared with other groups. This study estimated the equity implications of increased COVID-19 vaccination in the United States, with a focus on the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths avoided.

Study design

This was an observational real-world modeling study.


Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were used to identify the remaining unvaccinated US population by county, age, and race as of October 22, 2021. The number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths avoided were calculated based on case incidence and death data from the CDC, along with data on race- and age-specific hospitalization multipliers, under a scenario in which half of the remaining unvaccinated population per county, race, and age group obtained a full vaccine regimen.


Vaccinating half of the remaining unvaccinated population in each age and race subgroup within counties would result in an estimated 22.09 million COVID-19 cases avoided, 1.38 million hospitalizations avoided, and 150,000 deaths avoided over 12 months. Some minority groups, particularly Black and Hispanic/Latino populations, were projected to experience substantial benefits from increased vaccination rates as they face both lower vaccination rates and worse outcomes if infected with COVID-19.


Increasing COVID-19 vaccination in the United States not only benefits the population as a whole but also serves as a potentially useful lever to reduce the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 illness among minority populations.

View abstract


Kirson N, Swallow E, Lu J, Foroughi C, Bookhart B, DeMartino JK, Maynard J, Shivdasani Y, Eid D, Lefebvre P