Patients who are waiting for elective surgery should be given COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the general population in order to minimise the risk of post-operative deaths linked to the virus.

A new study published by the COVIDSurg collaborative has demonstrated the need for vaccination, based on the high risks that patients face, particularly when being operated on during the pandemic. Patients are at between 4- and 8- fold increased risk of death following surgery, with a patient aged 70 years or over having a mortality rate of 18.6% if they catch SARS-CoV-2 infection, up from an average rate of 2.8% without infection.

The team estimate that global prioritisation of pre-operative vaccination for elective patients could prevent an additional 58,687 COVID-19 deaths in one year.

The full paper can be viewed here.