COVID-19 vaccines saved 20 million lives in first year: Study

PARIS: COVID-19 vaccines prevented nearly 20 million deaths in the first year after they were introduced, according to the first large modelling study on the topic released on Friday (Jun 24).

The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, is based on data from 185 countries and territories collected from Dec 8, 2020 to Dec 8, 2021.

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-19, as well as total excess deaths from each country.

Excess mortality is the difference between the total number of people who died from all causes and the number of deaths expected based on past data.

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.

China was not included in the study because of its large population and strict containment measures, which would have skewed the results, it said.