By Shalini Bhardwaj
NEW DELHI: COVID-19 vaccination drive in India prevented over 42 lakh deaths in 2021, according to the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, which is based on findings on estimates of “excess” mortalities in the country during the pandemic.
According to a new projection set to be published in the Lancet journal on Friday, COVID-19 vaccination may have helped reduce the number of deaths to almost a third of what they would have been around the world including by approximately 2.7 million to 5.3 million in India. Oliver J Watson and other researchers found that COVID-19 vaccination reduced the potential death toll during the pandemic by almost 20 million deaths across the globe.
“Across 185 countries and territories, 31.4 million COVID-19-related deaths would have occurred during this timeframe in the absence of COVID-19 vaccination. About 19*8 million deaths were averted by COVID-19 vaccination,” said the study.
The study further states that more lives could have been saved by equal distribution of vaccination coverage worldwide.
“Consequently, the number of lives saved by COVID-19 vaccination markedly exceeded the death toll that has occurred. Nonetheless, even more, lives could have been saved by improving the equitability of vaccination coverage worldwide. Specifically, an estimated 156,900 additional deaths would have been averted if the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility’s vaccination target of 20 per cent (for each Advance Market Commitment country) had been attained, and an estimated 599,300 additional deaths would have been averted if WHO’s 2021 COVID-19 vaccination target of 40 per cent (for each country) had been attained,” stated the study.
Oliver Watson, lead author of the study, from the Imperial College London, UK, in an email told ANI, “In our study, we estimate how many deaths could have been saved between December 8, 2020, and December 8, 2021, which reflects the first year in which vaccines were distributed.”
“For India, we estimate that 4,210,000 deaths were prevented by vaccination. This is our central estimate, with the uncertainty in this estimate ranging between 3,665,000 – 4,370,000. (This is our 95 per cent credible interval),” he added.
According to Watson, the study refers to estimates of excess mortality in India during the COVID-19 pandemic by a British weekly newspaper and the WHO.
“Independently, our group has also investigated the COVID-19 death toll based on reports of excess mortality and seroprevalence surveys and arrived at similar estimates of almost 10 times the official count,” he further added. (ANI)