NEW DELHI: Covid jabs have prevented an estimated 19.8 million deaths worldwide in the first year of the vaccine programme, reducing the potential global death toll during the pandemic by 63% during that period, a mathematical modelling study published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases estimates.
Based on estimates of excess deaths from 185 countries and territories, the study pegged there would have been 31.4 million potential deaths due to Covid-19 during the same period in the absence of vaccination.
Researchers found, based on officially recorded Coid-19 deaths, an estimated 18.1 million deaths would have occurred during the study period if vaccinations had not been implemented. Of these, the model estimates that vaccination has prevented 14.4 million deaths, representing a global reduction of 79%. These findings do not account for under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths, which is common in lower income countries, the study said.
The study estimates a further 5,99,300 lives could have been saved if the World Health Organisation
's target of vaccinating 40% of the population in each country with two or more doses by the end of 2021 had been met.
"Our findings offer the most complete assessment to date of the remarkable global impact that vaccination has had on the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the almost 20 million deaths estimated to have been prevented in the first year after vaccines were introduced, almost 7.5 million deaths were prevented in countries covered by the Covid-19 Vaccine Access initiative (COVAX)," Oliver Watson, lead author of the study, from Imperial College London, said.