October 24, 2023

COVID-19 vaccinations prevented 20M deaths in their first year

Editor's Note

Almost two thirds of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since December 2020. Vaccinations prevented 19.8 million out of a potential 31.4 million deaths related to COVID-19 worldwide in their first year, according to September 2022 findings published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

For this mathematical model study, researchers used an established model of COVID-19 transmission using country-level data for official COVID-19 deaths occurring between December 8, 2020, and December 8, 2021. The estimates were based on excess deaths from 185 countries and territories. 

Between December 2020-December 2021, the researchers found that COVID-19 vaccination prevented an estimated 19.8 million deaths, reducing potential deaths that would have occurred without vaccination by 63%.

Had global targets for vaccination been met, the findings note, many more lives could have been saved. They estimate that 599,300 deaths could have been prevented if countries had met the World Health Organization’s target of vaccinating 40% of the population in each country with two or more doses by the end of 2021.


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