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Your Covid-19 questions answered

How many lives may have been saved because of vaccination?

30 June 2022 - 07:12
One study says millions of lives have been saved by getting the Covid-19 jab. File photo.
One study says millions of lives have been saved by getting the Covid-19 jab. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Misha Jordaan

The World Health Organisation has noted a report from The Lancet medical journal estimating that millions of lives have been saved because of Covid-19 vaccinations.

Countries around the world have been ramping up vaccination of its citizens since the outbreak of the virus more than two years ago.

SA has so far administered more than 36.8 million vaccines. 

Researchers from Imperial College London looked at the deaths per country over the  course of a year, from the time vaccines were rolled out in early 2020. They also looked at analysis of expected excess deaths to factor in underreporting of deaths. The data looked at 185 countries and territories.

They then compared the two analyses as if vaccinations had not been delivered.

The model estimated that over 18-million deaths would have occurred without vaccination and around 14-million deaths had been prevented by the vaccine.

“Based on our model fit to officially reported Covid-19 deaths, we estimated that 18.1-million (95% credible interval [CrI] 17.4—19.7) deaths due to Covid-19 would have occurred without vaccinations worldwide during the first year of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“Of these, we estimated that vaccination prevented 14.4-million (95% CrI 13.7—15.9) deaths due to Covid-19  representing a global reduction of 79% of deaths (14.4=million of 18.1- million) during the first year of Covid-19 vaccination. These estimates of vaccine impact do not account for the potential under-ascertainment of deaths related to Covid-19.”

Last week WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “More than 60% of the world’s population has now completed a primary course of vaccination against Covid-19.”

He said on Wednesday that in the past 18 months, more than 12-billion vaccines have been distributed around the world, with 75% of the world’s health workers and over-60s now vaccinated.

“On the flip side, hundreds of millions of people, including tens of millions of health workers and older people in lower-income countries remain unvaccinated, which means they are more vulnerable to future waves of the virus,” he added.

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