Rapid communication Open Access
Like 1


Since December 2019, over 1.5 million SARS-CoV-2-related fatalities have been recorded in the World Health Organization European Region - 90.2% in people ≥ 60 years. We calculated lives saved in this age group by COVID-19 vaccination in 33 countries from December 2020 to November 2021, using weekly reported deaths and vaccination coverage. We estimated that vaccination averted 469,186 deaths (51% of 911,302 expected deaths; sensitivity range: 129,851–733,744; 23–62%). Impact by country ranged 6–93%, largest when implementation was early.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Copenhagen: WHO/Europe. [Accessed: 20 Jul 2021]. Available from: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov#
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 16 November 2021. Edition 66. Geneva: WHO; 2021. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update-on-covid-19---16-november-2021
  3. Galvani A, Moghadas S, Schneider E. Deaths and hospitalizations averted by rapid U.S. vaccination rollout. New York: Commonwealth Fund; 2021. Available from: https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2021/jul/deaths-and-hospitalizations-averted-rapid-us-vaccination-rolloutb
  4. Public Health England (PHE). Impact of COVID-19 vaccines on mortality in England. December 2020 to March 2021. London: PHE; 2021.Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/977249/PHE_COVID-19_vaccine_impact_on_mortality_March.pdf
  5. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division. World population prospects 2019. New York: United Nations. [Accessed: 10 Mar 2021]. Available from: https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Standard/Population
  6. Eurostat. Demo_pjan. Luxembourg: Eurostat; 2020. [Accessed: 22 Feb 2021]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/estat-navtree-portlet-prod/BulkDownloadListing?dir=data&sort=1&sort=2&start=d
  7. Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Statistical Abstract of Israel 2021 - No.72. Jerusalem: CBS; 2021. [Accessed: 11 Oct 2021]. Hebrew. Available from: https://www.cbs.gov.il/he/publications/Pages/2021/%D7%A9%D7%A0%D7%AA%D7%95%D7%9F-%D7%A1%D7%98%D7%98%D7%99%D7%A1%D7%98%D7%99-%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%9C-2021-%D7%9E%D7%A1%D7%A4%D7%A8-72.aspx
  8. R Core Team. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation of Statistical Computing; 2016. Available from: https://www.R-project.org
  9. Machado A, Mazagatos C, Dijkstra F, Kislaya I, Gherasim A, McDonald SA, et al. Impact of influenza vaccination programmes among the elderly population on primary care, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands: 2015/16 to 2017/18 influenza seasons. Euro Surveill. 2019;24(45):1900268.  https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.45.1900268  PMID: 31718740 
  10. World Health Organization (WHO). COVID-Deaths-Averted-analysis. GitHub Repository. GitHub. [Accessed: 14 Sep 2021]. Available from: https://github.com/whocov/COVID-Deaths-Averted-analysis
  11. Goldberg Y, Mandel M, Woodbridge Y, Fluss R, Novikov I, Yaari R, et al. Protection of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection is similar to that of BNT162b2 vaccine protection: A three-month nationwide experience from Israel. MedRxiv. 2021.04.20.21255670. Preprint.  https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.20.21255670 
  12. Andrews N, Tessier E, Stowe J, Gower C, Kirsebom F, Simmons R, et al. Vaccine effectiveness and duration of protection of Comirnaty, Vaxzevria and Spikevax against mild and severe COVID-19 in the UK. MedRxiv. 2021.09.15.21263583. Preprint. https://doi.org/ https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.09.15.21263583 
  13. Ranzani OT, Hitchings MDT, Dorion M, D’Agostini TL, de Paula RC, de Paula OFP, et al. Effectiveness of the CoronaVac vaccine in older adults during a gamma variant associated epidemic of covid-19 in Brazil: test negative case-control study. BMJ. 2021;374:n2015.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2015  PMID: 34417194 
  14. Polack FP, Thomas SJ, Kitchin N, Absalon J, Gurtman A, Lockhart S, et al. Safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. N Engl J Med. 2020;383(27):2603-15.  https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2034577  PMID: 33301246 
  15. Hauser A, Counotte MJ, Margossian CC, Konstantinoudis G, Low N, Althaus CL, et al. Estimation of SARS-CoV-2 mortality during the early stages of an epidemic: A modeling study in Hubei, China, and six regions in Europe. PLoS Med. 2020;17(7):e1003189.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003189  PMID: 32722715 
  16. García-García D, Vigo MI, Fonfría ES, Herrador Z, Navarro M, Bordehore C. Retrospective methodology to estimate daily infections from deaths (REMEDID) in COVID-19: the Spain case study. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):11274.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90051-7  PMID: 34050198 
  17. Bartsch SM, Wedlock PT, O’Shea KJ, Cox SN, Strych U, Nuzzo JB, et al. Lives and costs saved by expanding and expediting coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination. J Infect Dis. 2021;224(6):938-48.  https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiab233  PMID: 33954775 
  18. Victora PC, Castro PMC, Gurzenda S, Medeiros AC, França GVA, Barros PAJD. Estimating the early impact of vaccination against COVID-19 on deaths among elderly people in Brazil: Analyses of routinely-collected data on vaccine coverage and mortality. EClinicalMedicine. 2021;38:101036.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101036  PMID: 34308302 
  19. Goldstein JR, Cassidy T, Wachter KW. Vaccinating the oldest against COVID-19 saves both the most lives and most years of life. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2021;118(11):e2026322118.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2026322118  PMID: 33632802 

Data & Media loading...

Supplementary data

Submit comment
Comment moderation successfully completed
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error