COVID vaccines saved at least 1 million lives in Europe, experts estimate


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Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

By Stephanie Soucheray, MA.

COVID-19 vaccination directly saved at least 1,004,927 lives across Europe from December 2020 to March 2023, according to new research presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) annual meeting this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The study was based on weekly reported deaths and vaccination doses from 26 countries in Europe collected by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Researchers noted which variant of concern was circulating at the time of death, age of decedents, and country to determine how many lives were saved by vaccination.

Overall, 96% of lives saved were in people ages 60 and older, with the first booster vaccine dose calculated to have saved 64% of the total lives saved in Europe during the first 3 years of the pandemic. Vaccination was most impactful during the Omicron wave of the pandemic, with an estimated 568,064 deaths averted.

Too many people in vulnerable groups across the WHO European Region remain unvaccinated.

We see from our research, the large numbers of lives saved by COVID-19 vaccines across Europe during the pandemic. However, too many people in vulnerable groups across the WHO European Region remain unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. We urge people who are eligible and who have not yet taken the vaccine to do so,” said Richard Pebody, MD, head of the high threat pathogen team at the World Health Organization-European region, in a press release.