Covid-19 vaccines are estimated to have prevented between 13,490 to 17,600 potential deaths in the UAE with a median estimate of 15,030, according to a new study.
The UAE is the world’s most vaccinated nation with 100 per cent of eligible people receiving two doses of the vaccines, making it one of the world’s safest countries to live during the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, the UAE had reported 932,067 Covid cases, 912,587 recoveries and 2,309 deaths. The UAE has conducted over 168 million tests since the outbreak of coronavirus in February 2020.
In June, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) announced 100 per cent vaccination of “target groups” which include frontline workers, volunteers, residents, the elderly and individuals with chronic diseases against the virus.
Based on median estimates, vaccines averted 137,820 in the entire Gulf region, including the UAE, said Dr Oliver Watson from Imperial College London, lead author of the report published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases estimates.
The study estimated that the vaccinations in Saudi Arabia prevented 98,090 deaths from the coronavirus – the highest in the GCC region, followed by the UAE (15,030), Kuwait (9,320), Qatar (7,620), Bahrain (2,840) and Oman (4,920). These are median figures.
The study covers vaccination from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021, across 185 countries and territories.
Globally, 6.32 million have succumbed to coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 in China.
The mathematical modelling study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases estimated that vaccines have prevented 19.8 million globally out of a potential 31.4 million Covid-19 deaths in the first year of the vaccination programme.
It added that a further 599,300 lives could have been saved if the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 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.
“Of the almost 20 million deaths estimated to have been prevented in the first year after vaccines were introduced, almost 7.5 million deaths were prevented in countries covered by the Covid-19 Vaccine Access initiative (Covax)… Our findings show that millions of lives have likely been saved by making vaccines available to people everywhere, regardless of their wealth,” said Dr Watson.
Gregory Barnsley, co-first author of the study, from Imperial College London, said quantifying the impact that vaccination is challenging because access to vaccines varies between countries.
As expected, the number of estimated deaths prevented per person was greatest in high-income countries, reflecting the earlier and wider roll out of vaccination campaigns in these areas (66 deaths prevented per 10,000 people in high-income countries vs 2.711 deaths prevented per 10,000 people in low-income countries).
While high and upper-middle-income countries accounted for the greatest number of deaths averted (12.2 million/19.8 million), highlighting inequalities in access to vaccines around the world.
Professor Azra Ghani, chair in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, stressed that it is important to ensure that the most vulnerable people in all parts of the world are protected from Covid-19, and from the other major diseases that continue to disproportionately affect the poorest.
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