Jab COVID-19 saved 20 million lives in its first year, study suggests | UK news

About 20 million lives were saved by the COVID vaccine in its first year, according to new estimates.

Experts believe more deaths were averted in wealthier countries, with 12.2 million saved in high- and upper-middle-income countries.

The Imperial College London research, published in the Lancet Journal of Infectious Diseasessuggests that 19.8 million deaths were averted overall.

UK grandmother Maggie Keenan was the first to receive the jab outside of a clinical trial on 8 December 2020, and it is estimated that at least 66% of the world’s population has received at least one vaccination.

More than 11 billion jabs have been administered so far, while Johns Hopkins University in the US puts COVIDrelated deaths at 6.3 million.

Imperial research suggests that another 600,000 deaths could have been avoided if the World Health Organization (WHO) target of vaccinating 40% of the global population by the end of 2021 had been met.

The study’s core numbers were formulated from estimates of vaccination rates, COVID deaths, and excess death records from 185 countries.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 has substantially altered the course of the pandemic, saving tens of millions of lives worldwide,” the study authors said.

“However, inadequate access to vaccines in low-income countries has limited impact in these settings, reinforcing the need for equity and global vaccine coverage.”

Lead author Oliver Watson said nearly 7.5 million deaths were averted in countries covered by the Covax scheme, which aims to provide access to vaccines and testing for poorer countries.

“Our findings show that millions of lives have likely been saved by making vaccines available to people everywhere, regardless of their wealth,” Watson said.

“However, more could have been done.

“Had the targets set by the WHO been met, we estimate that approximately one in five of the estimated lives lost due to COVID-19 in low-income countries could have been avoided.”

The WHO said last month that nearly a billion people in low-income countries had not yet been vaccinated and that there was “insufficient political commitment to launch vaccines” in some countries.

He said “misinformation and misinformation” was still preventing some people from coming forward.

Only 57 countries – almost all of them rich – have managed to vaccinate 70% of their population, the WHO added.

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