Patients should receive COVID-19 vaccine before surgery to r
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Patients waiting for elective surgery should get COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the general population—potentially helping to avoid thousands of post-operative deaths linked to the virus, according to a new study funded by the NIHR.

Preoperative SARS-CoV-2 vaccination could support safer elective surgery. Vaccine numbers are limited so this study aimed to inform their prioritization by modeling.

The primary outcome was the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) to prevent one COVID-19-related death in 1 year. NNVs were based on postoperative SARS-CoV-2 rates and mortality in an international cohort study (surgical patients), and community SARS-CoV-2 incidence and case fatality data (general population). NNV estimates were stratified by age (18–49, 50–69, 70 or more years) and type of surgery. Best- and worst-case scenarios were used to describe uncertainty.

--NNVs were more favorable in surgical patients than in the general population. The most favorable NNVs were in patients aged 70 years or more needing cancer surgery. Both exceeded the NNV in the general population.

--NNVs for surgical patients remained favorable at a range of SARS-CoV-2 incidence rates in sensitivity analysis modeling.

--Globally, prioritizing preoperative vaccination of patients needing elective surgery ahead of the general population could prevent an additional 58687 COVID-19-related deaths in 1 year.

Conclusively, as the global rollout of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination proceeds, patients needing elective surgery should be prioritized ahead of the general population.

British Journal of Surgery