COVID-19 Vaccines Saved Almost 500,000 Lives, Says Report

A report from Mahidol University has estimated that the Covid-19 vaccination campaign rolled out in Thailand over the past two years prevented nearly half a million deaths.

The university research team used mathematical modeling carried out by the MRC Center for Global Infectious Disease Analysis in 185 countries, considering vaccination data from 2021 to July 3, 2022.

Charin Modchange, the research team leader from Mahidol University’s Faculty of Science, said the analysis results showed that 490,000 lives could have been lost if the vaccines had not been administered.

Moreover, MRC’s data estimated that global vaccination programs prevented 14.4 million coronavirus-related deaths in just one year, from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021.

Previously, the Department of Disease Control’s chief Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong said that the high number of booster shots administered to the country’s residents had also played an important role in reducing the death toll, as Omicron’s subvariants BA.4 and BA. 5 produce less severe symptoms than the Delta strain. Although the subvariants are more transmissible and may lead to an increase in infections, patients are not experiencing a more severe disease.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry plans to closely monitor the daily case toll after the long weekend to detect cases that could have been spread during holiday trips. Authorities have also asked citizens to take universal prevention measures and take booster vaccinations to limit transmissions, Dr. Opas stated.

The government also urged the elderly, pregnant women and people living with chronic illnesses to receive booster doses as soon as they can, he added.

“We have also found that the death toll in these groups is higher among those who receive booster vaccinations late, so we are recommending that anyone who falls under the high-risk category has a booster every three months,” Dr. Opas went on.

Meanwhile, Thailand is expected to receive the first 7,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s long-acting antibody combination (LAAB) next week. The jabs will be used to treat patients suffering from kidney disease or needing an organ transplant.

The drug developer said the medicine has been recommended for European Union (EU) marketing authorization as a means of Covid-19 pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) in people aged over 12 weighing at least 40kg.

AstraZeneca also announced that it would seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration FDA in Thailand to use the antibody combination in treatments.