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Almost every COVID-19 death is preventable, says CDC director

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said almost all COVID-19-related deaths can be stopped because of vaccines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in Washington.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to examine the FY 2022 budget request for the CDC on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in Washington.
Jim Lo Scalvo, Associated Press

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently suggested almost all deaths related to COVID-19 can be prevented because of the vaccine.

  • “COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and up,” she said Tuesday, according to CNN. “They are nearly 100% effective against severe disease and death — meaning nearly every death due to COVID-19 is particularly tragic, because nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19 is at this point entirely preventable.”

Who is dying from COVID-19?

Walensky said an overwhelming amount of the COVID-19-related deaths are from unvaccinated individuals, per CNN.

  • “This virus is an opportunist,” Walensky said. “As long as there are those who are not vaccinated, COVID-19 will remain a threat.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser on the novel coronavirus, told the “Today” show on Wednesday that unvaccinated people are of most concern for experts.

  • “It’s the unvaccinated people that we’re concerned about. ... If they are unvaccinated, they are at risk.”

How many people are vaccinated against COVID-19?

Right now, there are about 150.4 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the United States, which is about 45.3% of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • In total, 53.5% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose, according to the CDC.