The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 (symbol image) started in December 2020
Photo: Christoph Schmidt / dpa
Billions of vaccine doses against the corona virus have now been administered worldwide.
According to a current model, the corona vaccinations prevented almost 20 million Covid 19 deaths worldwide in their first year alone, write researchers from London's Imperial College in an article in the specialist journal "Lancet Infectious Diseases".
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For the first year of vaccinations, which began on December 8, 2020, the scientists analyzed the vaccinations administered in 185 countries and regions and related them to the deaths recorded in each case.
Where these were not counted reliably, they used excess mortality data and estimates.
Therefore, they come up with higher possible death rates than the World Health Organization (WHO).
In addition, they not only looked at the deaths avoided through direct vaccination, but also took into account that fewer people became infected in the vicinity of vaccinated people.
According to the model, without vaccinations, 31.4 million deaths related to the corona virus would have been expected during this period.
19.8 million of them were avoided by vaccination - 12.2 million of them in high- and middle-income countries.
According to the study, this shows the unfair distribution of vaccines: In many countries in the Global South, the vaccination rates are still significantly lower than in Europe, for example.
Another almost 600,000 deaths could have been prevented if the World Health Organization's goal of vaccinating 40 percent of the world's population against Sars-CoV-2 by the end of 2021 had been achieved.
However, this was clearly missed.
"Our results show that millions of lives have been saved by making vaccines available regardless of individual wealth," said the study's lead author, Oliver Watson of Imperial College London.
"But more could have been done." If the WHO's goal had been achieved, around one in five corona deaths in poorer countries could have been prevented, according to the researcher.
The World Health Organization recently published an estimate that between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 around 14.9 million people died worldwide as a direct or indirect consequence of the corona pandemic.
The number therefore includes both those who have died from corona infections and people with other diseases or injuries who could not be treated in time due to the overload of the health systems.