Capital Clicks

State auditor urges vaccination, citing high hospitalization cost

By: - September 1, 2021 12:14 pm

A medical worker holds a vial of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Truman Medical Centers/University Health)

State Auditor Rob Sand urged Iowans to be vaccinated Wednesday, citing billions of dollars spent for COVID-19 hospitalizations nationwide.

“We are all paying for these preventable hospitalizations, whether it be in the form of premiums to private insurers or costs to taxpayer-funded public programs,” Sand said in a news release. “Please don’t add to others’ expenses: get the vaccine. Most importantly, it saves lives, but it also saves money.”

A report by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that “preventable” COVID-19 hospitalizations cost the U.S. $2.3 billion in June and July of 2021. Preventable infections are those that occurred in unvaccinated people, where COVID-19 was the primary diagnosis.

The study found that the average cost of a COVID-19 hospitalization in the U.S. was $20,000. The State Auditor Office is not collecting Iowa-specific data on COVID-19 costs.

Sand was unsure how the August surge of the delta variant would affect the data, but noted that longer hospitalizations would be more expensive. Iowa saw an increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past month

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.