A first of its kind retrospective cohort study on impact of vaccination among Covid-19 patients by Star Health and Allied Insurance, one of the leading standalone health Insurance company in India, unveiled the significant impacts of vaccination among individuals 45 years and above. The study concluded that there was a marked reduction in the total hospitalization expenses by approximately 24%, the average length of stay (ALOS) by a mean of 2.1 days, ICU requirement by 66% and a reduction of approximately 81% in mortality among patients who had completed two doses of vaccination.
The study was conducted during the second wave (March & April 2021) and considered a sample size of 3,820 hospitalized patients from across India who were 45 years and above. The cohort study revealed that the average cost of hospitalization of the unvaccinated group was Rs.2.77 lakh while the vaccinated group recorded an average cost of Rs.2.1 lakh. The reduction is cost was due to factors like reduced need of ICU requirement and reduction in the length of hospital stay from an average of 7 days among unvaccinated to an average of 4.9 days for the vaccinated group.
Speaking on the study, Dr. S Prakash, Managing Director, Star Health and Allied Insurance said, “The beginning of 2021 saw a breakthrough in vaccine discovery against COVID-19 making it the fastest vaccine discovery till date. Our aim was to measure and understand in exact terms the impact of Covid-19 vaccination in patients who contracted the illness 14 days after the second dose versus unvaccinated patients, thus making it a unique research in its own right.“
In the wake of COVID-19, most of the studies conducted so far have reported an impact of vaccination among the common public while Star Health Insurance’s cohort study gives exclusivity to patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The main purpose of this study has not only been to understand the medical benefit but also financial implications.
Dr. Madhumathi Ramakrishnan, Joint Vice President Star Health and Allied Insurance said, “Our study covered pan India data of the patients affected by COVID-19. The aim was to assess the medical and financial implications of vaccination. Our study concluded that, the ones who had taken the vaccination had a clear advantage over the non-vaccinated as we witnessed a significant difference in parameters like hospital stay, cost of treatment and death due to infection.”
The cohort study surveyed customers of Star Health and Allied Insurance Company who were admitted for Covid-19 treatment in 1,104 hospitals across the country and found that the ALOS, need for ICU and reduction in costs also holds true for patients with comorbidities as well. While the need for ICU for patients with comorbidities fell from a whopping 9.4% to 5% amongst those vaccinated, the treatment cost also reduced by nearly 15%.
“However, the study also revealed that over 57% of patients among the unvaccinated group were hesitant to take the vaccine due to fear, ignorance or more worryingly, social factors and disinterest! There is an urgent need to address this and we hope that through this study we will be able to highlight the benefits of the vaccine, educate and motivate the public to get vaccinated soon,” added Dr. Prakash.
Conducted and concluded during the early stages of vaccination drive, the study noted that nearly 86% amongst those surveyed had not taken the vaccination and amongst these 43% did not have any valid reason for not taking the jab.
Star Health believes that the only way to mitigate a third wave is to increase vaccination among the population, host active demystification programs and campaigns through community engagement to reach rural and urban population alike.