Edinburgh – Data from two separate studies published in the UK on Monday, one in England and another in Scotland, have shown that vaccines against COVID-19 are effective in cutting the spread of disease and hospitals from the first dose.
A study from Public Health England has shown that the vaccine made with Pfizer-BioNTech reduces the risk of catching an infection by more than 70% after the first dose. That risk is reduced by 85% after a second dose.
The public health body’s study of worldwide data showed that vaccinated people who go on to become infected are far more likely to die or go into hospital.
Hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19 were reduced by more than 75% in those who received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the analysis.
“This important report shows that vaccines work – it is very encouraging to see evidence that the Pfizer vaccine offers a high level of protection against coronavirus,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Britain is one of the hardest hit countries with the COVID-19 pandemic, with 120,757 deaths.
It was the first country to start major vaccines in December, and more than 17 million people have now received at least the first dose of vaccine – a third of the UK adult population.
“We will see a lot more data over the coming weeks and months but we should be encouraged by the first results,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Vaccination at Public Health England.
Meanwhile, a study in Scotland has shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have led to a reduction in COVID-19 admissions to hospitals after the first dose.
The study, led by the University of Edinburgh, found that before the fourth week after receiving the first dose, the Pfizer vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 by up to 85%.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine reduced the risk by 94%.
“These results are very encouraging and have given us great reason to be optimistic about the future,” Professor Aziz Sheikh, who is in charge of the research, said in a statement.
“We now have national evidence – nationwide – that the vaccine protects against COVID-19 hospitals.
“The first worldwide dose of vaccines needs to be accelerated worldwide to help overcome this terrible disease,” he said.
The research compared the results of those who got their first sighting with those who did not.
He found that the vaccine was associated with an 81% reduction in hospital risk in the fourth week among those aged 80 years or older, when the results for the two vaccines were combined.
The project, which used patient data to monitor pandemic and real-time transmission of the vaccine, analyzed a dataset covering the total Scottish population of 5.4 million between December 8 and February 15.
Approximately 1.14 million vaccines were administered to 21% of the Scottish population during that period.
The Pfizer vaccine received up to 650,000 people in Scotland, and 490,000 received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
This is the first study to describe the impact of vaccines on the prevention of serious hospital-acquired illnesses across the country.
Previous results on vaccine efficacy have come from clinical trials.
The study team said the findings were relevant to other countries using the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.
The data reported are “very promising,” said Arne Akbar, president of the British Society of Immunology.
“While there appears to be some variation in levels of efficacy measured across age groups, the decline in hospitals for older age groups is still very high,” he said.
“We now need to understand the permanence of this protection for a single dose of the vaccine. ”
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