8,000 in S'pore could have died in last 5 months of 2021 if not for Covid-19 vaccines

It could have been worse.

Belmont Lay | February 17, 2022, 03:01 PM

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Some 8,000 Covid-19 deaths were averted in the final five months of 2021 due to vaccination and public health measures rolled out in Singapore.

The Ministry of Health's simulation compared current vaccination rate with a population that was unvaccinated to derive this number and others, such as severe cases and hospitalisations averted.

Outcome of vaccination in Singapore: Singapore maintained a low Covid-19 death rate, at 15.7 deaths per 100,000 of the population.

Actual deaths: 785 deaths related to Covid-19 between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021.

Period looked at: Between Aug. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2021, when Delta variant infections peaked in Singapore.

What simulation showed

MOH's modelling for possible death toll: Deaths could have been 8,778 without vaccination at all.

MOH's modelling for possible hospitalisations: Hospitalisations could have been eight times more at 112,000.

MOH's modelling for possible severe cases: Severe cases could have been more than 11 times more at 33,000.

Without vaccines, Singapore would have experienced more than double the number of Covid-19 cases, which have crossed the 500,000 mark in February 2022.

How vaccine effectiveness is derived

Local vaccine effectiveness was derived from a cohort study of Covid-19 patients and their household contacts in Singapore.

Unvaccinated people were twice as likely to have Covid-19 due to complete vaccination providing vaccine effectiveness of 56.4 per cent against infection.

Fully vaccinated individuals had substantially lower rates of hospitalisations, severe disease, and deaths, among Covid-19 cases aged 12 and above reported between Aug. 1 and Dec 31, 2021,

Date of report: Feb. 17, 2022

Source of estimates: Ministry of Health (MOH)

Issuer of report: Ministry of Finance (MOF)

Purpose of report: Numbers appear under a section assessing the impact of Singapore's public health response to the pandemic that reflect impact of key Covid-19 Budget measures.

Period before August 2021: Low death rate in Singapore was "primarily through safe management measures and border restrictions".

What else did vaccination do for Singapore: The report highlighted preparedness of population in the face of new variant.

The report said: "It has also enabled Singapore to ride through the ongoing Omicron wave without having to tighten restrictions."

There are currently 926 Covid-19 deaths in Singapore as of noon on Feb. 16.

Top photo via Unsplash