School of public health

School Notes: School of Public Health
March/April 2023

Melinda Pettigrew (interim) |

COVID-19 vaccines saved lives

COVID-19 vaccines have kept more than 18 million people out of the hospital and saved more than 3 million lives, according to a study by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and the Commonwealth Fund. Vaccines also saved the US $1.15 trillion in medical costs, the study said. The findings are based on a computer model that considered disease transmission dynamics, vaccination rates, demographic information, and exposure risks. “The impact of the vaccination program is more remarkable given the challenges posed by the multiple variants that have arisen,” the researchers said.

Heat vulnerability index pinpoints communities at risk

Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health have developed a metric to gauge heat vulnerability at the census-tract level and created a color-coded interactive map for public use. The visual aid is designed to help officials identify areas that may need more public health and policy interventions to combat the adverse effects of heat stress, said Kai Chen, assistant professor of epidemiology (environmental health) and director of research for the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health. (Read a Yale Alumni Magazine article about the index.)

Pandemic restrictions may have led to rise in RSV infections

A pre-print study by Yale School of Public Health epidemiologists and international colleagues shows that interventions used to stop the spread of COVID-19, like social distancing and school closures, may have created an “immunity debt” that led to a rise in RSV infections. But there is good news. Based on their review, the researchers predict RSV’s regular seasonal cycles will return by next winter, as herd immunity to RSV infections goes back to what it was before the pandemic. The trend is already happening in the southern hemisphere.    

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