Covid-19 vaccines prevented almost 20 million deaths in 2021: study

The vaccines against Covid-19 They prevented 19.8 million deaths from a potential 31.4 million possible victims during the first year after their introduction in December 2021, according to a study published this Thursday.

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

It is the first to try to assess the deaths directly or indirectly avoided after the start of the immunization campaign against Covid-19.

Their conclusions indicate that vaccines prevented 19.8 million deaths of a total of 31.4 million that would have been registered if they were not available, which represents a reduction of 63 percent.

To do this, it uses the official figures of deaths from covid, but also the excess mortality registered in each country or an estimate when official data is not available.

Excess mortality corresponds to the difference between the number of people who died, regardless of the cause of death, and the number of deaths expected in that period.

These data were compared with an alternative hypothetical scenario in which no vaccine had been administered. The model took into account the differences in the vaccination rate between countries, as well as the different effectiveness of each of them.

China was not included in the study because, due to its large population and its strict sanitary measures, it would have biased the results, said those responsible.

The study notes that the majority of deaths averted were in high- and middle-income countries (12.2 million of 19.8 million), reflecting inequalities in access to vaccination around the world.

Nearly 600,000 deaths could have been prevented if the World Health Organization goal of having vaccinated 40% of the population of each country by the end of 2021 had been achieved, he adds.

“Millions of lives would probably have been saved by making the vaccines available to people around the world,” said study leader Oliver Watson of Imperial College London.

We could have done more,” he added.

Covid-19 has officially killed 6.3 million people worldwide, according to the WHO. However, the real figure, counting direct and indirect victims, may be 15 million, he acknowledged last month.

These statistics are highly politically sensitive as they reflect how the authorities have managed this health crisis.

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