Estimated number of deaths directly avoided because of COVID-19 vaccination among older adults in Colombia in 2021: an ecological, longitudinal observational study

Maylen Liseth Rojas-Botero, Julián Alfredo Fernández-Niño, Leonardo Arregocés-Castillo, Fernando Ruiz-Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Colombia’s national COVID-19 vaccination plan began in February of 2021. It gave priority to older adults, who constituted 77.7% of deaths from this illness in the year 2020. The main goal of the plan is to decrease specific mortality and the number of serious COVID-19 cases, however, the number of deaths avoided by this strategy is unknown. The objective of this study was to estimate the number of avoided deaths in Colombia by fully vaccinating older adults against COVID-19, during the first year of the implementation of the national vaccination plan. Methods: This study took on the design of an ecological, longitudinal study. Full vaccination coverage for older adults was calculated for each epidemiological week and age group from March to December 2021, based on which the number of avoided COVID-19 deaths was estimated. A sensitivity analysis was performed taking into account variations in the vaccines’ effectiveness by age group. Results: In Colombia, over 5.3 million adults 60 years of age and older received full COVID-19 vaccinations between March and December 2021. During that same period, nearly 46,000 deaths of older adults from this cause were registered. We estimated that vaccination has avoided around 22,000 more older adults from dying from COVID-19 in Colombia, that is, 32.4% of expected deaths in 2021. According to the sensitivity analysis, the number of lives saved ranged from 19,597 to 36,507. Conclusions: Colombia’s strategy to vaccinate older adults against COVID-19 has avoided mortality for this age group from being 48.0% higher than what was observed during the study period. Even more lives have been saved when taking into account the parameters that were defined and the omission of the contribution from partial vaccinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number198
JournalF1000Research
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aged
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Colombia
  • Mortality
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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