Written by Chioma Obinna
As vaccination against COVID-19 continues around the world, a new study released Thursday found that patients awaiting elective surgery should receive the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the general population to avoid thousands of postoperative virus-related deaths.
The study was funded by the NIHR for the international research team COVIDSurg Collaborative, led by experts from the University of Birmingham, after studying data for 141,582 patients from 1,667 hospitals in 116 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, UAE, UK and USA. found that between 0.6 and 1.6 percent of patients develop COVID-19 infection after elective surgery.
The findings published in the BJS (including the British Journal of Surgery and the European Journal of Surgery) further observed that patients who develop COVID-19 infection have between 4 and 8 times the risk of death within 30 days after surgery.
“For example, while patients 70 years of age and older who have undergone cancer surgery would typically have a 2.8 percent mortality rate, this increases to 18.6 percent if they develop a COVID-19 infection.
“Based on the high risk faced by surgical patients, scientists calculate that vaccination of surgical patients is more likely to prevent death from COVID-19 than vaccines given to the general population – especially those over 70 and those undergoing cancer surgery.
“For example, while 1,840 people over the age of 70 and over in the general population must be vaccinated to save one life in one year, this number is only 351 in patients over the age of 70 and older who have cancer surgery.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Stop self-denial, medic warns Nigerians
“Overall, scientists estimate that global prioritization of preoperative vaccination for elective patients could prevent an additional 58,687 COVID-19-related deaths in one year.”
The study also noted that this could be particularly important for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where mitigation measures such as nasal swabs and COVID-free surgical routes, which can reduce the risk of virus-related complications, are unlikely. be universally implemented.
Speaking, the co-leader, Mr. Aneel Bhangu, of the University of Birmingham, said: “Preoperative vaccination could support the safe resumption of elective surgery by significantly reducing the risk of COVID-19 complications in patients and preventing tens of thousands of COVID-19-related postoperative deaths.
“Many countries, especially low- and middle-income countries, will not have wide access to COVID vaccines for several years. Although the supply of vaccines is limited, governments prefer vaccination for groups with the highest risk of death from COVID-19. Our work can help inform these decisions. “
Co-lead author dr. Dmitri Nepogodiev from the University of Birmingham commented: “Restarting elective surgery is a global priority. Over 15,000 surgeons and anesthesiologists from 116 countries gathered to contribute to this study, making it the largest scientific collaboration ever.
“It is crucial that policymakers use the data we have collected to support the safe relaunch of electoral surgery; Vaccination against COVID should be a priority for patients with elective surgery ahead of the general population. “
Also, co-lead author and national leader for Nigeria, Professor Adesoji Ademuyiwa of the Department of Surgery of the University of Lagos School of Medicine, added: “indeed the supply of vaccines in LMICs is limited, but it is necessary to consider patients who will be on elective surgery as a high-risk group for vaccination against COVID.
He said up to 70 per cent of election operations were delayed during the first wave of the pandemic, resulting in the postponement or cancellation of 28 million proceedings.
Although the volume of operations has begun to recover in many countries, the disruptions that continue are likely to continue during 2021, especially in the event that countries experience further waves of COVID-19.
“Vaccination is also likely to reduce postoperative pulmonary complications – by reducing the use of intensive care and the overall cost of health care.”
Vanguard News Nigeria