London: The AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines saved over 1.2 crores lives, while India’s indigenous Covaxin averted over 3.7 lakh deaths in the first year of the global immunisation campaign, according to a modelling study.
Researchers at UK-based life-sciences data firm, Airfinity, found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines saved the most lives among all approved preventives.
Last month, a study on excess deaths from 185 countries and territories by the Imperial College London, UK, calculated that COVID-19 vaccines saved around 2 crore lives between December 2020 and December 2021.
Airfinity has added further analysis to this work using its unique time series data set on vaccine distribution.
Taking Imperial College London’s research on deaths averted per country, the analysts examined which vaccines were administered in each country to determine the breakdown of lives saved per vaccine.
Using this methodology, the analysis found that AstraZeneca, known as Covishield in India, saved 6,341,861 (over 63 lakh) lives and Pfizer/BioNTech around 5,979,743 (over 59 lakhs) lives.
Sinovac followed with 20 lakh lives saved while Moderna saved 17 lakh lives, the researchers said.
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin was at number 8 in the order of the lives saved, averting 371,591 (over 3.7 lakh) deaths.
There was no separate data available for the number of lives saved by Covishield, one of the two main vaccines used in India alongside Covaxin.
“AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech both succeeded in scaling up production quickly and delivering doses before other manufacturers, Airfinity’s Analytics Director Matt Linley said in a statement.
“AstraZeneca may have saved the most lives due to where its primary series was distributed and who received it. Its vaccines first went to older age groups in high income countries and nations with less robust health care systems.
“Both factors would have resulted in averting more deaths in the first year of vaccinations,” Linley said.
The imperial College London’s study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, had found that COVID-19 vaccines prevented over 42 lakh potential deaths in India in 2021.
Globally, the study, based on excess deaths from 185 countries and territories, found that in the first year of the vaccination programme, 1.98 crore out of a potential 3.14 crore COVID-19 deaths were prevented worldwide.
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