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Covid vaccine, study: 20 million deaths avoided worldwide in 2021

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The anti-Covid vaccination avoided, between the end of 2020 and the whole of 2021, about 20 million deaths worldwide, reducing the potential death toll of the pandemic by more than half during the first year of immunizations. This is what a study has established which is based on data from 185 countries and is the first to evaluate deaths averted directly and indirectly as a result of Covid-19 vaccination. From the work, conducted by Imperial College London and published in ‘The Lancet Infectious Diseases’, it emerges that “high- and upper-middle-income countries had the highest number of deaths prevented, highlighting inequalities in access to vaccines in Worldwide”. Furthermore, according to the team of researchers “another 599,300 deaths could have been avoided if the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of vaccinating 40% of the population in each country by the end of 2021 had been achieved”. According to Oliver Watson, lead author of the study, “Our results offer the most comprehensive assessment to date of the significant global impact vaccination has had on the pandemic. Of the nearly 20 million deaths estimated to have been prevented in the first year after introduction of vaccines – he explains – almost 7.5 million deaths have been averted in the countries covered by the Covid-19 Vaccine Access (Covax) initiative “. But Watson also points out the other side of the coin: “Our results show that millions of lives probably would have been saved by making vaccines available to everyone in every part of the world, regardless of income. More could have been done”, because ” if the objectives set by the WHO had been achieved – he specifies – we estimate that about one life out of 5, which is estimated to have been lost in low-income countries, could have been saved “. According to the study, 79% of deaths (15.5 million of the 19.8 million total) were avoided thanks to the direct protection provided by vaccines against severe forms of Covid, while the remaining share of deaths was avoided thanks to protection. indirect, that is, the reduced transmission of the virus in the population and the lower weight of Covid-19 on health systems, which has improved access to medical care for those who need it most. Returning to the disparity in the distribution and use of anti-Covid vaccines in rich and poor countries of the world, the researchers note “how 12.2 million deaths avoided out of the total 19.8 million have been averted in middle-high income countries “. In fact, if in high-income countries it is estimated that vaccines “have prevented the deaths of 66 people per 10 thousand inhabitants, in low-income countries this figure drops to 2.7 prevented deaths per 10 thousand people”. Azra Ghani, head of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, comments in the conclusions: “Our study demonstrates the enormous advantage vaccines have in reducing deaths from Covid-19 globally. While the focus is shifting away from the pandemic, it is important to ensure that the most vulnerable people in all parts of the world are protected from the continuous circulation of the virus and from other major diseases that continue to disproportionately affect the poorest “.

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