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Socioeconomic inequalities in health

Vaccination saves lives, study shows


Analysis of an available dataset performed by demographers at the National Institute for Research on the Socioeconomic Impacts of Diseases and Systemic Risks (SYRI) has shown that vaccination against Covid-19 reduced the number of deaths from the disease in the Czech Republic by a factor of up to three and a half.

As the representative time period for their study, the experts chose the last quarter of 2021, when the highly virulent Delta variant of Covid-19 was prevalent among the Czech population. By that time, all Czech citizens over the age of 12 had had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

In the last quarter of 2021, a total of 5,797 people died with or as a result of Covid-19. “To begin with, we used demographic methods to estimate how many people would have died in relation to Covid-19 if no one had been vaccinated,” said SYRI’s Dagmar Dzúrová, leader of the research team.

Dzúrová and her colleague Klára Hulíková Tesárková arrived at a figure of 20,800. “The difference between the hypothetical number of deaths and the number of reported deaths gives us an estimated number of deaths that did not occur due to vaccination. The resulting number is almost 15,000,” said Dzúrová. “It can be concluded that vaccination probably reduced the number of deaths by a factor of 3.5.”

The results of the scientific study prove that vaccination against Covid-19 provides very significant protection against loss of life. “Despite the substantiated results, many people are still hesitant about vaccination,” said the scientist, adding that the effect of vaccination is similar in all age groups; vaccination has reduced the number of so-called years of life lost by between 84 and 89 percent.

As of September 7 this year, 6,888 million people in the Czech Republic have been fully vaccinated, which is equivalent to 64.4 percent of the population. According to Dzúrová, this relatively low figure is comparable with the take-up in Pakistan. “Unfortunately, it applies to the region of Eastern Europe as a whole,” she said. “In Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, for instance, a very small number of people have received a Covid-19 vaccination. The same applies for influenza vaccination coverage. In contrast to the situation in Eastern Europe, countries such as Cuba, Portugal, Chile, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Italy and Japan have a very high take-up of vaccination against Covid-19. It is over 85 percent.”

Dzúrová believes that low vaccination rates are often related to the influence of the anti-vaccination movement, which is particularly strong in former states of the USSR. “This is probably motivated by general mistrust, but also by cultural beliefs and ideology,” she said. “In Ukraine, for instance, only about a third of the population is vaccinated. A very low vaccination rate also applies to other diseases such as measles, diphtheria and polio.”


prof. RNDr. Dagmar Dzúrová CSc.

Position: Head of research group