Vaccines could prevent 50 million deaths in low- and middle-income countries

July 14, 2021

New research, led by the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium, including researchers at Imperial College London, assessed the impact of vaccination activities against 10 infectious diseases across 112 countries, reported Stephen Johns for the college.

Vaccinations given in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the last 20 years will prevent 50 million deaths from infectious diseases. The team say that success is expected to continue, with a further 47 million deaths predicted to be prevented by vaccination given between 2020 and 2030, if progress is sustained. This would mean 97 million deaths in LMICs would be prevented by vaccination occurring between 2000 and 2030.The majority (52 million) of deaths averted would be children under the age of five.

However, the researchers warn that COVID-19 has disrupted vaccine activities and could lead to a decline in coverage. The study, published in eLife, is the largest assessment of vaccine impact before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the impact caused by the COVID-19 is difficult to assess so far, the researchers say that there are likely to be delays to vaccine activities as health services are disrupted.

The diseases the researchers looked at included measles, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), yellow fever, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae, rubella, rotavirus, Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A, and Japanese encephalitis. The study builds on previous work and the team have used new and updated models to better understand the uncertainty ranges for many of the pathogens.

The Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium is funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Imperial College London has the article.

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