The COVID-19 vaccine prevents more than 42 lakh possible deaths in India by 2021, said a study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, which based its findings on estimates of “excessive” deaths in the country during the outbreak.
Globally, mathematical modeling studies have found that the COVID-19 vaccine reduces the likelihood of death counts during an outbreak by nearly 20 million or more than half in the year following its implementation.
In the first year of the vaccination program, 19.8 million of the potential 31.4 million COVID-19 deaths were prevented worldwide, according to estimates based on excess deaths from 185 countries and territories, the researchers said.
The study estimates another 5,99,300 lives could be saved if the World Health Organization’s target to vaccinate 40 percent of the population in each country with two or more doses by the end of 2021 is achieved.
The study estimated the number of prevented deaths between December 8, 2020 and December 8, 2021, reflecting the first year the vaccine was distributed.
“For India, we estimate that 42,10,000 deaths were prevented through vaccination during this period. This is our main estimate, with uncertainty in this estimate ranging from 36,65,000-43,70,000,” the study’s lead author, Oliver Watson of Imperial College London, UK, told PTI.
“What this modeling study shows is that vaccination campaigns in India are likely to have saved millions of lives. This shows the extraordinary impact that vaccination is having, especially in India, which is the first country to experience Delta variant effects,” Watson said in e -mel.
India’s numbers are based on estimates that 51,60,000 (48,24,000-56,29,000) deaths may have occurred in the country during a pandemic, a number that is 10 times the official figure of 5,24,941 deaths reported so far, he said.
“These estimates are based on estimates of excess mortality in India during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we obtained from The Economist and are similar to estimates reported by WHO. Independently, our group has also investigated COVID-19 mortality counts based on excess mortality reports and seroprevalence surveys and achieved the same estimate nearly 10 times the official count, ”Watson said.
According to estimates by The Economist, 2.3 million people died in India as a result of COVID-19 in early May 2021, compared to the official figure of around 2,00,000.
The WHO last month estimated there were 4.7 million Covid -related deaths in India, a figure denied by the government.
Of the nearly 20 million deaths estimated to have been prevented in the first year after the vaccine was introduced, nearly 7.5 million deaths have been prevented in countries covered by the COVID-19 Vaccine Access (COVAX) initiative, the researchers said.
COVAX was set up because it was clear from the beginning that global vaccine equity would be the only way out of the epidemic, they said.
The initiative has facilitated access to affordable vaccines for low-income countries to try to reduce inequality, with an initial target of giving both vaccine doses to 20 percent of the population in the country covered by the commitment by the end of 2021, the researchers said.
Since the first COVID-19 vaccine was given outside a clinical trial setting on Dec. 8, 2020, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (66 percent), they said.
Despite the incredible speed of vaccine launches around the world, more than 3.5 million COVID-19 deaths have been reported since the first vaccine was given in December 2020, they said.
To estimate the impact of the global vaccination program, the researchers used a robust COVID-19 transmission model using national-level data for COVID-19 deaths officially recorded between December 8, 2020 and December 8, 2021.
To take into account the lack of death reports in countries with weaker surveillance systems, they conducted a separate analysis based on the number of excess deaths recorded exceeding the expected amount in the same time period.
China was not included in the analysis because of its large population and very strict closure measures that would affect the findings, the researchers said.
The team found that based on officially recorded COVID-19 deaths, an estimated 18.1 million deaths would have occurred during the study period if vaccination had not been implemented.
Of these, the model estimates that vaccination has prevented 14.4 million deaths, representing a global reduction of 79 percent.
These findings do not take into account the lack of COVID-19 death reports, which are common in low-income countries.
The team conducted further analysis based on the number of excess deaths over the same time period to clarify this.
They found that COVID-19 vaccination prevented an estimated 19.8 million deaths out of a total of 31.4 million possible deaths that would have occurred without vaccination, a reduction of 63 percent.
More than three -quarters (79 percent) of the avoided deaths were due to direct protection against severe symptoms provided by vaccination, leading to lower mortality rates, the researchers said.
The remaining 4.3 million preventable deaths are estimated to have been prevented by indirect protection from reducing viral transmission in the population and reducing the burden on the health care system, thus increasing access to medical care for those most in need, they said.
Studies have found that the effects of vaccines change over time and in different areas of the world as the epidemic progresses.
In the first half of 2021, the highest number of deaths avoided through vaccination was seen in low middle -income countries, the result of a significant wave of epidemics in India when the Delta variant emerged.
This then turned to the biggest impact concentrated in high -income countries in the second half of 2021, when restrictions on travel and social mixing were eased in some areas leading to greater virus outbreaks.
The lack of a WHO target to fully vaccinate 40 percent of each country’s population by the end of 2021 is estimated to contribute to an additional 5,99,300 preventable deaths worldwide.
Low middle -income countries accounted for the bulk of these deaths.
“Our study shows the huge benefits obtained by the vaccine in reducing deaths from COVID-19 worldwide,” said Professor Azra Ghani, Chair of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London.
“While the deep focus on pandemics has now shifted, it is important that we ensure the most vulnerable people in all parts of the world are protected from the continued circulation of COVID-19 and from other major diseases that continue to disproportionately affect the poorest,” he said. Ghani.
The authors note some limitations to their findings. Notably, their model is based on a number of necessary assumptions, including the exact proportion of types of vaccines that have been delivered, the way they are delivered and the exact time when new viral variants arrive in each country.
They also assumed that the relationship between age and mortality rate of COVID-19 occurring among infected individuals was the same for each country.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)