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The U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rollout was near perfect compared to 17.5 million other possible strategies, research says

The CDC’s coronavirus vaccine rollout was near perfect, according to a study

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
A droplet falls from a syringe after a person was injected with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I.
David Goldman, Associated Press

It looks like the United States’ rollout of the coronavirus vaccine was near perfect in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and severe infections, according to recent research.

The Conversation teamed up with an Iowa State University supercomputer to compare the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and rollouts with 17.5 million possible strategies that would have staggered rollout in different ways.

  • The researchers measured deaths, cases, infections and years of life lost.
  • Overall, the research found the CDC’s rollout was within 4% of perfect across all four measures.

Per The Conversation, it wasn’t a completely perfect model, though.

  • “According to our model, the CDC’s decisions to not vaccinate children initially and prioritize health care and other essential workers over nonessential workers were both correct. But our model also showed that giving individuals with known risk factors earlier access to vaccines would have led to slightly better outcomes,” according to The Conversation.

That said, no rollout model would have minimized deaths, cases, infections and years of life lost at the same time, though.

  • The CDC’s model was particularly good at stopping deaths.

There were a number of questions about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the United States’ effectiveness. The Associated Press reported that faster was not always better when it came to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • The analysis found that states that moved quickly to dish out the vaccine ended up vaccinating smaller shares of their population.
  • The Associated Press explained: “The explanation, as experts see it, is that the rapid expansion of eligibility caused a surge in demand too big for some states to handle and led to serious disarray. Vaccine supplies proved insufficient or unpredictable, websites crashed and phone lines became jammed, spreading confusion, frustration and resignation among many people.”

Now, the United States is handing out COVID-19 booster shots to people. Right now, 195.7 million people have been fully vaccinated and 32.5 million have received their first booster dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.