Since its emergence in December 2019 in China, the Covid has killed at least 6.9 million people worldwide according to the report of the World Health Organization (WHO), but the toll is most likely much heavier because the official count only takes into account declared cases. And the consequences of Sars-Cov-2 could have been much worse: between December 2020 and March 2023, vaccination against Covid-19 directly saved more than a million lives in Europe, according to new estimates presented this Sunday by WHO.
Specifically, 1,004,927 lives were directly saved by vaccination, half of them during the Omicron wave, according to data presented this Sunday at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), which runs until 18 April in Copenhagen (Denmark). To make this estimate presented by Dr Margaux Meslé, epidemiologist at WHO/Europe, the authors cross-referenced data collected on the number of deaths and doses of vaccine administered each week in 26 countries of the European Union and the European Economic Area, members of the European Surveillance System (TESSy).
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In the vast majority of cases (96%), these lives saved are those of people aged 60 and over, and two thirds of them were saved by the third injection. However, while most European countries have set up vaccination programs in particular for the most vulnerable, "too many people belonging to vulnerable groups (...) are still not vaccinated or are only partially vaccinated, regrets in a press release Dr Richard Pebody, head of the team responsible for high-risk pathogens at WHO/Europe. We urge eligible people who have not yet been vaccinated to do so. »
Especially since this count of lives saved only takes into account the deaths by Covid directly avoided, and not for example the impact on the health systems hard hit by the successive pandemic waves, nor the risks linked to the decompensation of other chronic pathologies, to a long Covid, or to the sequelae of a serious Covid.
According to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), more than 975 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in European countries. The British were the first to vaccinate their population at the beginning of December 2020, while the rest of Europe had to wait for the first marketing authorization, issued to Pfizer/BioNTech on December 21, 2020. In total, nearly 85% of the population over 18 received two doses of vaccine, and over 91% of those over 60; the latter are also nearly 85% to have received a third injection, compared to only 65% of the adult population as a whole, and more than a third of seniors have received a fourth dose compared to 17% of the older population as a whole. 18 years old.