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.