The COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK could reduce a person’s risk of being admitted to hospital by as much as 94 per cent four weeks after the first dose, new data suggests.
Experts examined COVID-19 hospital admissions in Scotland among people who have had their first jab and compared them to those who had not yet received a vaccine.
UK scientists looked at data on people who had received either the Pfizer jab or the vaccine developed by scientists at the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca.
Four weeks after receiving the initial dose, the AstraZeneca jab appeared to reduce a person’s risk of hospital admission by 94 per cent.
The Usher Institute is delighted to lead #EAVEII – announcing today analysis showing substantial reduction in #hospitalisation risk by fourth week after first dose of either #vaccine in Scotlandhttps://t.co/MoKOiB9mOm@DataCapitalEd @EdinburghUni @P_H_S_Official @BREATHEdata
— Usher Institute (@EdinUniUsher) February 22, 2021
Those who received the Pfizer jab had a reduction in risk of 85 per cent between 28 and 34 days after the first dose.
Data for the two jabs combined showed that among people over the age of 80 – who are at high risk of severe disease – the reduction in risk of hospital admission was 81 per cent four weeks after the first dose.
Professor Aziz Sheikh of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute said the global rollout of the vaccine should be ramped up.
“These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future,” he said.
“We now have national evidence – across an entire country – that vaccination provides protection against COVID-19 hospitalisations.
“Rollout of the first vaccine dose now needs to be accelerated globally to help overcome this terrible disease.”
The study team said the findings are applicable to other countries using the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, among them Australia.
Working with partners, we have analysed data on vaccine effect. The study finds that vaccination has been linked to a substantial reduction in the risk of COVID-19 admissions to Scotland’s hospitals and will soon be available online.
— Public Health Scotland (@P_H_S_Official) February 22, 2021
The study is the first to describe a country-wide effect of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs in the community on preventing severe illness resulting in hospital admissions.
The researchers examined data between December 8 and February 15. During this period, 1.14 million vaccines were administered in Scotland – 21 per cent of the Scottish population.
Researchers looked at GP records on vaccination, hospital admissions, death registrations and laboratory test results – and compared the outcomes of those who had received their first jab with those who had not.
National COVID-19 incident director at Public Health Scotland Jim McMenamin encouraged anyone offered the jab to get vaccinated.
“Across the Scottish population the results show a substantial effect on reducing the risk of admission to hospital from a single dose of vaccine,” he said.
The data has been published as a pre-print. This means that it is early work that has not yet been through peer review and has not yet been published in a journal.