(HealthDay News) — The number Americans who will die of COVID-19 this winter could depend on how many get their booster shots, a new report suggests.

Up to 90,000 US COVID-19 deaths could be prevented through the fall and winter, but that is less likely if vaccine uptake continues at the current slow pace, a Commonwealth Fund study suggests. Death rates could peak at more than 1000 per day during the winter if nothing changes.

About 7.6 million Americans have received an updated booster dose so far, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The authors of the report determined that if COVID-19 booster vaccinations happened at a rate similar to flu vaccinations in 2020-2021, there would be 75,000 fewer deaths, 745,000 fewer hospitalizations, and $44 billion less spent in medical costs from October 1 to the end of March 2023, compared with a scenario in which daily vaccination rates were unchanged.

In another scenario, analysts determined that if 80% of people received their updated booster doses, it would prevent not only 90,000 deaths but more than 936,000 hospitalizations and save $56 billion in 6 months.

At the current pace of booster shot uptake, if there is a winter virus surge, that could bring a peak of 16,000 hospitalizations and 1200 deaths per day by March.

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