Hospital stay, ICU need, treatment cost lower for those vaccinated against Covid-19, finds study

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Those vaccinated against Covid-19 have a significant advantage when it comes to average duration of hospital stay, ICU requirement, treatment cost and mortality — even if they needed hospitalization — as compared to those without jabs, a first-of-its-kind study from India has shown.

A retrospective research carried out by Star Health insurance among 3,820 patients with its health insurance policies who landed up in 1,104 hospitals across the country in March and April says while the mean stay in hospital was 7 days for the unvaccinated, it was 4.9 days for those who were vaccinated.

Among 3,820 patients with Covid-19, 3301 or about 86.4 % were unvaccinated while 519 or 13.6% were vaccinated.

The findings showed that among the unvaccinated population 8.8% required ICU and this was lesser — 6% — among the vaccinated and the need for ICU was further lesser at 3 % after two doses of the vaccines.

Among those who received two doses of vaccination there was a 66% relative risk reduction in ICU stay and 81% relative risk reduction in mortality, the paper noted, adding that even among those with comorbidities, a single dose was able to significantly reduce average length of hospitalization and treatment expenses.

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The mortality among unvaccinated patients was 0.5% while there was no mortality among the vaccinated.

Also, while the mean total hospital expense among the unvaccinated was Rs 2,77,850, it was Rs 2,17,850 or about 22% lesser for those who caught the infection at least 14 days after the second dose of vaccination.

Dr S Prakash, managing director of the insurance firm which has handled more than 3 lakh Covid-related claims during the pandemic so far, said that the study was aimed at understanding in exact terms what benefit vaccination offered for patients, the healthcare industry and the country as a whole.

“The point that needs to be highlighted is that this is a first-of-its-kind study from a health insurance company in India done on a nationwide basis during the early period of vaccination in March and April,” he noted.   

His co-author and joint vice president of the company Dr Madhumati Ramakrishnan said: “Those who took the vaccine had a clear advantage over the non vaccinated as there was a significant difference in terms of parameters like hospital stay, need for ICU, cost of treatment and death due to infection.”

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Highlighting the results, their paper said that these findings may be used in motivating the public and promoting the vaccination drive. The research paper also stressed that its coverage of pan-India data from a health insurance point of view was unique and analyzed not only the medical benefits but also the financial implications. 

“This may pave way in educating and motivating the public regarding the role of vaccination in reducing morbidity, mortality and hospital expenses,” the authors noted.