The Perfect Enemy | Vaccines prevented nearly 20 million COVID deaths, study shows
July 7, 2022

Vaccines prevented nearly 20 million COVID deaths, study shows

Vaccines prevented nearly 20 million COVID deaths, study shows  Axios

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Vaccines prevented nearly 20 million COVID deaths between December 2020 and December 2021, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Why it matters: The study provides a better understanding of the impact of global vaccination — both successes and missteps — during the first year vaccines were available.

Details: Using mathematical modeling, researchers found that vaccines cut the potential worldwide death toll in half.

  • 31.4 million COVID deaths would have occurred without vaccinations, the study estimated.
  • Vaccines helped save 19.8 million lives, per the study.
  • Nearly 80% of deaths were prevented primarily due to vaccines. Indirect protection through collective vaccination helped avoid 4.3 million deaths.
  • If 40% of the world’s population had been vaccinated by the end of 2021, as outlined as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target, roughly 599,000 additional deaths would have been averted.
  • The majority of these deaths were reported in lower-middle-income countries and the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

What they’re saying: The study reveals the “substantial impact that vaccines have had and the millions of lives that are likely to have been saved during the first year of vaccination,” researchers wrote.

  • “Despite this, more lives could have been saved if vaccines had been distributed more rapidly to many parts of the world and if vaccine uptake could have been strengthened worldwide.”
  • “Vaccine intellectual property needs to be shared more quickly in the future, with more open technology and knowledge transfer surrounding vaccine production and allocation,” the study states.
  • “Vaccine distribution and delivery infrastructure also needs to be scaled up worldwide and misinformation combatted to improve vaccine demand.”

Worth noting: Wealthy countries have vastly outpaced low and middle-income countries’ vaccination rates because they’ve hoarded the lion’s share of the world’s doses, Axios’ Caitlin Owens and Dave Lawler write.

Go deeper: More than 230,000 U.S. COVID deaths were preventable, analysis finds