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Covid vaccines prevented 42 lakh deaths in India in first year: Lancet study

Covid vaccines prevented 42 lakh deaths in India in first year: Lancet study

London: Covid-19 vaccines are estimated to have prevented nearly 1.98 crore deaths worldwide — out of a potential 3.14 crore deaths — in the first year of the vaccine programme, a new modelling study has found. These include 42.10 lakh deaths prevented in India. The study has been published in The Lancet Infectious Disease journal, which based its findings on estimates of "excess" mortalities in the country during the pandemic.

"For India, we estimate that 42,10,000 deaths were prevented by vaccination in this period. This is our central estimate, with the uncertainty in this estimate ranging between 36,65,000-43,70,000," the lead author of the study, Oliver Watson from the Imperial College London, the UK, told PTI.

"What this modelling study shows is that the vaccination campaign in India has likely saved millions of lives. This shows the remarkable impact that the vaccination has had, especially in India, which was the first country to experience the impact of the Delta variant," Watson said in an email.

The India numbers are based on the estimates that 51,60,000 (48,24,000-56,29,000) deaths may have occurred in the country during the pandemic, a number which is 10 times the official figure of 5,24,941 deaths reported so far, he said.

"These estimates are based on the estimates of excess mortality in India during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we have sourced from The Economist and are similar to the estimates that the WHO has reported. Independently, our group has also investigated the COVID-19 death count based on reports of excess mortality and seroprevalence surveys and arrived at similar estimates of almost 10 times the official count," Watson said.

According to the estimates by The Economist, 2.3 million people died in India from COVID-19 by the start of May 2021, as against official figures of around 2,00,000.

Globally, the mathematical modelling study found that COVID-19 vaccines reduced the potential death count during the pandemic by nearly 20 million or more than half in the year following their implementation.

The study estimates a further 5,99,300 lives could have been saved if the World Health Organisation's target of vaccinating 40 per cent of the population in each country with two or more doses by the end of 2021 had been met.

The study estimated the number of deaths that were prevented between December 8, 2020, and December 8, 2021, which reflects the first year in which the vaccines were distributed.

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