Vaccinations prevented nearly 20 million deaths from Covid-19 in 185 countries and territories in the first 12 months the shots were available, a mathematical modeling study calculates.
Researchers estimated that vaccines prevented 14.4 million deaths from Covid between December 2020, and December 2021. The estimate rose to 19.8 million when excess deaths were added to the equation.
The first dose of a Covid vaccine outside of a clinic was given Dec. 8, 2020, and a year later, the researchers estimate, 55.9 percent of the global population had received at least one dose, 45.5 percent had had two, and 4.3 percent had had a booster. However, coverage has vastly varied in different parts of the world.
For the 83 countries covered by the Covax commitment to affordable vaccines, an estimated 7.4 million deaths were averted out of a potential 17.9 million. But in countries that failed to meet the Covax target of fully vaccinating 20 percent of the population, researchers estimated an additional 156,900 died from Covid.
The authors calculate that a further 599,300 lives could have been saved if the World Health Organization’s target of vaccinating 40 percent in each country with two or more doses by the end of 2021 had been met.