3.8 million lives could have been saved amid pandemic, shows mathematical model
Mathematical epidemiologist Sam Moore and his team at the University of Warwick in Coventry, the United Kingdom, used data on excess mortality and vaccine availability to conduct this study.
If vaccines against coronavirus were distributed more fairly with lower income countries and wealthier nations kept mitigation measures such as smaller gatherings and mask wearing for longer, about 3.8 million lives could have been saved, according to a mathematical model cited in an article on the website of British scientific journal Nature. Data from 152 countries shows that the impact of vaccine sharing would have been significant if countries focused on their equitable distribution, and it would have globally prevented about 1.3 million unnecessary loss of lives.
Mathematical epidemiologist Sam Moore and his team at the University of Warwick in Coventry, the United Kingdom, used data on excess mortality and vaccine availability to conduct this study, which was published in ‘Nature Medicine’ journal about a week ago. The results were in sync with another study that found that about 45 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in low-income nations could have been averted if the countries had achieved 20 per cent vaccination coverage by the end of 2021.
The report highlighted that even though half the world had access to both the doses of vaccines by the end of last year, its distribution showed a stark gap between the countries. While higher income nations had almost 75 per cent of vaccine availability - a surplus they planned to administer to kids who are at lower risk; data found that some lower income countries had less than 2 per cent vaccination rates which put people at higher risk of death due to Covid-19 at the receiving end of the stick.
Oliver Watson, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Imperial College London, says that the data should be used in planning future epidemics. “This is another piece of evidence to show how big of an impact pushing for vaccine coverage may have had,” he says. “That’s really important for engaging political will and framing big political decisions.”
The study determined these results based on vaccine provisions and did not account for other factors such as capacity to store and administer vaccines.