The coronavirus pandemic could have been much worse without vaccines, according to a new study that claims the number of deaths recorded worldwide from coronavirus would be more than three times what it is today.
In the year after the vaccine was first launched in December 2020, more than 4.3 billion people received vaccination, saving 20 million lives, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.
If the World Health Organization’s target of 40 percent immunization coverage by the end of 2021 in low-income countries had been met, another 600,000 lives would be saved, the study found.
The results “quantify how much worse the pandemic could have been if we hadn’t had these vaccines,” said Imperial College London lead researcher Oliver Watson.
“Catastrophic would be the first word that comes to mind,” Watson said of the deaths that would have occurred without widespread vaccination.
More than 6.3 million people have died from the coronavirus, including more than a million Americans, according to Our World in Data. Over 40,000 New York City residents died from the virus, health officials said.
Researchers looked at data from all but 10 of the world’s 195 countries and found that vaccines prevented a total of 19.8 million deaths, including 4.2 million deaths in India and 1.9 million in the US.
A million people in Brazil were also spared death from the virus thanks to the vaccines, as were more than half a million people in France and the United Kingdom, researchers said.
The study found that 14.4 million deaths were prevented when only reported COVID-19 deaths were considered, but the number of lives saved increased significantly when scientists included deaths likely linked to the virus.
The study had some significant limitations. China, the world’s most populous country, was among the countries excluded from the study due to a lack of information on the virus’ impact on its vast population, researchers said. The study also failed to account for the effects of mask wearing, lockdowns and possible COVID-19 mutations in the absence of the virus.
An unpublished model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle estimates that 16.3 million lives have been saved by vaccines.
“As scientists, we may not agree on the number, but we all agree that COVID vaccines have saved many lives,” said the institute’s Ali Mokdad, explaining that stricter guidelines would have been implemented around the world if it had been available during the pandemic increase of the Delta variant would not have given vaccines.
“Although we did pretty well this time – we saved millions and millions of lives – we could have done better and we should do better in the future,” said Adam Finn of Bristol Medical School in England, who will not be attending the am Results released Thursday was involved.
With AP wires
https://nypost.com/2022/06/23/covid-vaccine-saved-20-million-lives-in-first-year-report/ COVID vaccine saved 20 million lives in first year: report