The Covid vaccines saved nearly 20 million deaths in the first year after they were introduced, according to the first large modelling study on the topic released Friday.
The data from 185 countries and territories collected from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021 is based on the study, which was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
It is the first attempt to estimate the number of deaths prevented by Covid 19 vaccines.
It found that 19.8 million deaths were prevented out of a potential 31.4 million deaths that would have occurred if no vaccine was available.
The study found that it was a 63 percent reduction.
Official figures or estimates were used in the study when official data was not available - for deaths from Covid, as well as total excess deaths from each country.
Excess mortality is the difference between the total number of people who died from all causes and the number of deaths expected based on past data.
These analyses were compared to a hypothetical alternative scenario in which no vaccine was administered.
The model accounted for variation in vaccination rates across countries, as well as differences in vaccine effectiveness based on the types of vaccines known to have been primarily used in each country.
China was not included in the study because of its large population and strict containment measures, which would have skewed the results, it said.
The study found that high and middle-income countries accounted for the largest number of deaths averted, 12.2 million out of 19.8 million, reflecting inequalities in access to vaccines worldwide.
Nearly 600,000 additional deaths could have been prevented if the WHO goal of vaccination of 40 percent of the population by the end of 2021 had been met, it concluded.
The lead study author Oliver Watson, of Imperial College London, said millions of lives could be saved by making vaccine available to people around the world.
He said that we could have done more.
Covid has killed more than 6.3 million people in the world, according to the WHO.
The organisation said last month that the real number could be as high as 15 million when all direct and indirect causes are accounted for.
The figures are extremely sensitive due to how they reflect on the handling of the crisis by authorities around the world.
Europe is seeing a warm-weather resurgence attributed to the Omicron subvariants, which has been blamed for the rise of the virus in some places.