Covid vaccination has prevented almost 470,000 deaths among people aged 60 years and older across Europe between December 2020 and November 2021, finds a new study.
The study, published in the journal Eurosurveillance, indicates that this figure represents slightly over half (51 per cent) of the expected deaths due to Covid in this period.
The researchers, including Jeremy Brown from World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, estimated the number of lives saved in this age group from Covid vaccination in 33 countries, using observed weekly reported deaths and vaccination coverage.
For the period from December 2020 to November 2021, reported data on both Covid age-specific vaccination and age-aggregated Covid mortality for people 60 years and older was available and analysed from 33 of the 51 countries in the WHO European Region.
Following the fast development, licensure and roll-out of several Covid vaccines from late 2020 onwards, the uptake of vaccines in the priority groups increased to the effect that by week 45/2021, 80 per cent of people 60 years and older had received a complete vaccination series and 84 per cent had received at least one dose.
In their calculation, 51 per cent of total estimated deaths were averted by Covid vaccination between December 2020 and November 2021; ranging from 93 per cent of deaths averted in Iceland to 6 per cent in Ukraine.
The three countries that had 60 per cent of their population 60 years and older fully vaccinated by week 45/2021 (Moldova, Romania and Ukraine) had a maximum of 20 per cent expected deaths averted over the study period.