The researchers estimate that about 600 per thousand additional people could be saved if the World Health Organization's goal of vaccinating 40% of the population in each country with two or more doses by the end of 2021 was achieved.
Corona vaccines reduced potential global mortality during the pandemic by more than half in the year after their introduction, according to estimates from a mathematical modeling study published on June 23, 2022 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
19.8 million of a potential 31.4 million deaths from corona were prevented worldwide in the first year of the vaccination program according to estimates based on excess deaths in 185 countries and territories.
The researchers estimate that about 600 more people could have been saved if the World Health Organization's goal of vaccinating 40% of the population in each country with two or more doses by the end of 2021 had been achieved.
Dr. Oliver Watson of Imperial College London, lead author of the paper, said: "Our findings are the most complete assessment to date of the incredible global impact the vaccine has had on the Corona epidemic. Of the nearly 20 million deaths estimated to have been averted in the first year after vaccine use began, nearly 7.5 million were averted in countries included in the COVAX initiative. This initiative was created because it was clear from the beginning that global equality in vaccines would be the only way out of the epidemic. Our findings show that millions of people's lives have likely been saved because vaccines are available to people everywhere, regardless of their wealth. But more could have been done. If the goals set by the World Health Organization were achieved, we estimate that it would be possible to prevent approximately one death from corona in five in low-income countries."
Since the first corona vaccine was given outside of a clinical trial setting on December 8, 2020, almost two-thirds of the world's population has received at least one dose of corona vaccine (66%). The COVAX initiative enabled access to affordable vaccines in low-income countries to try to reduce inequality, with an initial goal of giving two doses of the vaccine to 20% of the population in the countries included in the initiative by the end of 2021. The World Health Organization has increased this goal by setting a global strategy to fully vaccinate 70% of the world's population by mid-2022, with an intermediate goal of vaccinating 40% of the population of all countries by the end of 2021.
Despite the incredible speed of vaccination worldwide, more than 3.5 million deaths from corona have been reported since the first vaccine was given in December 2020.
Some studies sought to evaluate the impact of the vaccines on the course of the epidemic. These studies focused on specific regions, such as countries, states, provinces, or cities. The latest study is the first to assess the impact of corona vaccines on a global scale and the first to approach the number of deaths directly and indirectly prevented.
Mr. Gregory Barnesley of Imperial College London, first co-author of the paper, said: "It is difficult to quantify the global impact of vaccines because access to vaccines differs between countries, as does our understanding of which variants of Corona are common, when in many countries information on genetic sequencing is very limited . In addition it is impossible to directly measure how many deaths would have happened without the vaccine. The mathematical modeling is a useful tool for evaluating alternative scenarios, which cannot be observed directly in the real world."
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