COVID vaccines averted nearly 20 million deaths in 2021

COVID vaccines averted nearly 20 million deaths in 2021


Vaccination against COVID-19 averted 19.8 million deaths out of a potential 31.4 million in the first year after the vaccines were introduced in December 2021, advances a first large modeling study, published on Friday.

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The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, is based on data from 185 countries and territories, from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021.< /p>

It is the first to attempt to assess the deaths averted directly and indirectly as a result of vaccination against COVID-19.

For this, it uses the official figures of deaths with COVID, but also the total excess deaths for each country (or estimates when official data were not available).

Excess mortality corresponds to the difference between the number of people who died (regardless of the cause of their death) and the number of expected deaths (based on past data).

When official data was not available, the team used estimates of all-cause excess mortality. These analyzes were compared to an alternative hypothetical scenario in which no vaccine would have been administered.

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

China was not included in the analysis due to its large population and very strict containment measures, which would have skewed the results, it said.

According to this study, high- and middle-income countries accounted for the highest number of deaths averted (12.2 million out of 19.8 million), reflecting inequalities in access to vaccines in the world. world.

Nearly 600,000 additional deaths could have been prevented if the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of vaccinating 40% of the population in every country by the end of 2021 had been reached, she concluded. 

“Our results show that millions of lives were likely saved by putting ant vaccines available to people everywhere,” said study lead author Dr Oliver Watson, Imperial College London, quoted in the journal release. “However, we could have done more”.