Covid vaccines prevented nearly 20 million deaths in first year: Report

A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, released on Friday, based on data from 185 countries and territories collected from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021, shows that Covid vaccines prevented nearly 20 million deaths in the first year after they were introduced, as reported by AFP.

It is the first attempt to estimate the number of deaths prevented directly and indirectly as a result of Covid-19 vaccinations. It found that 19.8 million deaths were prevented out of a potential 31.4 million deaths that would have occurred if no vaccines were available.

It was a 63 per cent reduction, the study found.  The study used official figures or estimates when official data was not available for deaths from Covid, as well as total excess deaths from each country. These analyses were compared with a hypothetical alternative scenario in which no vaccine was administered. 

The model accounted for variation in vaccination rates across countries, as well as differences in vaccine effectiveness based on the types of vaccines known to have been primarily used in each country.  

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The study found that high- and middle-income countries accounted for the largest number of deaths averted, 12.2 million out of 19.8 million, reflecting inequalities in access to vaccines worldwide. 

Covid has officially killed more than 6.3 million people globally, according to the WHO. Nearly 600,000 additional deaths could have been prevented if the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of each country’s population by the end of 2021 had been met, it concluded.  

As reported by AFP, lead study author Oliver Watson of Imperial College London said, “Millions of lives have probably been saved by making vaccines available to people around the world.”

“We could have done more,” he said.  

( with inputs from agencies)


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