Edinburgh, United Kingdom:
Data from two separate studies published in the UK on Monday, one in England and the other in Scotland, showed that Covid-19 vaccines are effective in reducing disease transmission and hospitalizations from the first dose .
An analysis by Public Health England has shown that the vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech reduces the risk of getting an infection by more than 70% after a first dose. This risk is reduced by 85% after a second dose.
The public health body’s study of real-world data also showed that vaccinated people who become infected are much less likely to die or be hospitalized.
Hospitalization and deaths from Covid-19 are reduced by more than 75% in those who received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the analysis.
“This crucial report shows that vaccines work – it is extremely encouraging to see evidence that the Pfizer vaccine offers a high degree of protection against the coronavirus,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Britain is one of the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 120,757 dead.
It was the first country to start mass vaccinations in December and more than 17 million people have now received at least a first dose of the vaccine – a third of the UK’s adult population.
“We will see a lot more data in the weeks and months to come, but we should be very encouraged by these early results,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, head of vaccination at Public Health England.
At the same time, a study in Scotland showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccinations led to reduced admissions of Covid-19 to hospitals after a first dose.
The study, led by the University of Edinburgh, found that by the fourth week after receiving the initial dose, the Pfizer vaccine reduced the risk of Covid hospitalization by up to 85%.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine reduced the risk by 94%.
“These results are very encouraging and have given us good reason to be optimistic about the future,” Professor Aziz Sheikh, who is leading the research, said in a statement.
“We now have national evidence – across a country – that vaccination offers protection against hospitalizations from Covid-19.
“The deployment of the first dose of vaccine must now be accelerated globally to help overcome this terrible disease,” he added.
The research compared the results of those who received their first stroke with those who did not.
It found that vaccination was associated with an 81% reduction in the risk of hospitalization in the fourth week in people aged 80 and older, when the results of the two vaccines were combined.
The project, which used patient data to track the pandemic and vaccine deployment in real time, analyzed a dataset covering the entire Scottish population of 5.4 million between December 8 and February 15 .
Some 1.14 million vaccines were given to 21% of the Scottish population during the period.
The Pfizer vaccine was received by 650,000 people in Scotland, while 490,000 had the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
This is the first research to describe the effect of vaccinations on preventing serious illnesses leading to hospitalization across a country.
Previous results on vaccine efficacy come from clinical trials.
The study team said the results were applicable to other countries using the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
The reported data “are extremely promising,” said Arne Akbar, president of the British Society for Immunology.
“While there appears to be some difference in measured efficacy levels between age groups, the reduction in hospitalizations for older groups is still impressive,” he said.
“We now need to understand the duration of this protection for a dose of the vaccine.”
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