(CNN) -- COVID-19 vaccines saved 19.8 million lives in the first year they were available, according to a large-scale modeling study published in The Lancet on Friday.
The impact of the vaccination programs was determined by estimating the additional lives lost if no vaccines were available.
Based on officially reported COVID-19 cases, the study estimates that 14.4 million deaths were prevented by vaccines between December 8, 2020 and December 8, 2021. That number rises to 19.8 million when using excess deaths as an estimate of the true extent of the pandemic, as opposed to reported case numbers, representing a 63% decrease in global COVID-19 deaths.
The study also asserts that up to 600,000 additional lives could have been saved if the World Health Organization's goal of vaccinating 40% of each country's eligible population by end of 2021 had been met.
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