America’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign saved 241,000 lives and prevented almost 1.2 million hospitalizations in the six month period between December 12, 2020 and June 30, 2021, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open

Researchers also determined that 14 million cases of COVID-19 were averted thanks to vaccines during that same time frame.

Dr. Sudhakar Venkata Nuti, an internal medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, told NBC News that the findings validate the scientific community’s message on vaccines.

“The messaging that we as a health care system provided to the public has been that this vaccine will be helpful to prevent you from getting sick and prevent you from dying. Looking back, what we said was true and we saved lives, reduced suffering and prevented another wave of Covid,” Nuti said. “We wouldn’t have had those benefits if not for vaccines.”

Unfortunately, vaccine adoption declined in the second half of last year, which blunted the impact of the vaccines.

“As new variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to emerge,” the study concludes, “a renewed commitment to vaccine access, particularly among underserved groups and in counties with low vaccination coverage, will be crucial to preventing avoidable COVID-19 cases and bringing the pandemic to a close.”