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COVID-19 Vaccines Saved 20M Lives In 1st Year, Scientists Reports

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COVID-19 Vaccines Saved 20M Lives In 1st Year, Scientists Reports

(CTN News) – Researchers reported Thursday that COVID-19 vaccines saved more than 20 million lives during their first year, but even more deaths could have been prevented if international targets for the shots had been met.

In England, a retired shop clerk received the first shot in what would become a global vaccination campaign on Dec. 8, 2020. In the next 12 months, more than 4.3 billion people around the world will receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Despite persistent inequities, the effort prevented unimaginable numbers of deaths, said Oliver Watson of Imperial College London.

Watson called the outcome of the Coronavirus without COVID-19 vaccines “catastrophic.” Watson said the results “quantify the severity of the pandemic without vaccines.”

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According to the researchers, COVID-19 vaccines prevented 4.2 million COVID-19 deaths in India, 1.9 million in the United States, 1 million in Brazil, 631,000 in France, and 507,000 in the UK.

According to a Lancet Infectious Diseases study published Thursday, the World Health Organization’s goal of 40% vaccination coverage by 2021 would have prevented 600,000 deaths.

Based on estimates of how many more deaths than normal occurred during the time period, 19.8 million COVID-19 deaths were prevented. The same model yielded 14.4 million deaths prevented by COVID-19 vaccines based only on COVID-19 deaths reported.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic’s impact on deaths in China and its huge population, London scientists excluded it from the study.

Other limitations of the study exist. In the absence of vaccines, the virus may have mutated differently. If COVID-19 vaccines hadn’t been available, lockdowns and mask-wearing might have changed.

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Using a different approach, another modelling group estimated vaccines prevented 16.3 million COVID-19 deaths. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle has not yet published its findings.

A delta wave without vaccines in 2021 would have prompted a major policy response, said the institute’s Ali Mokdad.

As scientists, we may disagree about the number, but we all agree that COVID-19 vaccines saved many lives.