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Research: Better vaccination rate could have prevented over a third of N.H. COVID deaths

Picture of vaccine vial
Wikimedia Commons
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About 79 percent of adults are fully vaccinated in New Hampshire, according to the CDC. Nationwide, that figure is about 76 percent.

At least 2,500 people have died from COVID in New Hampshire. New research from the School of Public Health at Brown University and Microsoft AI Health suggests over 900 of those lives could have been saved if more people had been vaccinated.

Martha Wassell, director infection prevention for Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, has had a hard time wrapping her head around those findings.

“Prevention is my job and is what I am passionate about,” she said. "Knowing that there were so many individuals that didn't take advantage of this science and lost their lives as a result is sad.”

When adjusting for population, the researchers found that New Hampshire had fewer preventable deaths than most other states. About 79 percent of adults are fully vaccinated in New Hampshire, according to the CDC. Nationwide, that figure is about 76 percent.

In their analysis, researchers noted that since vaccines became available, 91 percent who died from the virus were unvaccinated. Wassell said that trend lines up with what she’s seeing at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.

“Patients who were landing in our critical care unit,” she said “requiring mechanical ventilation, or losing their lives, undoubtedly were those who were unvaccinated.”

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