Findings from a paper published today in Eurosurveillance estimate that 27,656 deaths have been directly averted as a result of Scotland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The World Health Organisation led paper, supported by Public Health Scotland (PHS), documents the estimated number of lives saved in people aged 60 years and over from COVID-19 vaccination programmes in 33 countries from December 2020 to November 2021.

By using weekly numbers of observed deaths and vaccination coverage, the study estimates that a total of 469,186 (51% of expected) deaths in 33 countries have been averted as a result of vaccination.

In Scotland, an estimated 86% of deaths have been averted.

Discussing the study, co-author Dr Jim McMenamin, Head of Health Protection Infection Services at PHS, said:

“This important study shows that thanks to high vaccine uptake among the people of Scotland, and early implementation, the COVID-19 vaccination programme is estimated to have saved more than 27 thousand lives in Scotland.

“Our thanks to everybody who has come forward to receive their vaccination to date. I am also grateful to colleagues up and down the country who have worked tirelessly to support the speedy rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines.”

Adding his own reflections, Dr Nicholas Phin, Director of Public Health Science at PHS, said:

“We know that the COVID-19 vaccine remains the most effective way to protect ourselves. This latest study shows just what an impact the COVID-19 vaccination programme has had in Scotland. 

“When it’s your time to receive a third or booster dose of the vaccine, please do take the opportunity to bolster your protection against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. If you have not had any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine yet, you can protect yourself and others by registering online or finding your nearest vaccination centre via the NHS Inform website”.

Read the full paper on the Eurosurveillance website (external website). 

Last updated: 06 October 2022