Two Australian-approved coronavirus vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of hospital admission by more than 80 per cent.
The Public Health England (PHE) has revealed a single dose of either the Pfizer or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is more than 80 per cent effective at preventing hospitalisation in people aged 80 and over.
Those people who receive the jab will begin reaping the benefits about three to four weeks after getting their first shot, the study found.
And symptomatic infections in over 70s have been shown to decrease from around three weeks after one dose of either of the vaccines.
There is also evidence to suggest the Pfizer vaccine can lead to an 83 per cent reduction in deaths from COVID-19.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the “exciting” new data in a press conference on Tuesday morning Australian time.
“This shows, in the real world, across the UK right now that the vaccine is helping both to protect the NHS and to save lives,” Mr Hancock said.
“When the call comes, get the jab,” he urged.
Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Head of Immunisation, said the findings add to growing evidence that the vaccines were working to reduce infections and save lives.
“While there remains much more data to follow, this is encouraging and we are increasingly confident that vaccines are making a real difference,” Dr Ramsay said in a statement.
She stressed, however, that it remains uncertain how much the vaccines will reduce the risk of infected people passing COVID-19 onto others.
“Even if you have been vaccinated, it is it is really important that you continue to act like you have the virus, practise good hand hygiene and stay at home,” Dr Ramsay said.
Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program is officially underway, and according to the Morrison government’s projected timeline, everyone who wants a free vaccine should have been offered one by the end of October.
Australia has secured 20 million doses of the Pfizer jab and 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered 12 weeks after the first dose, while those who receive the Pfizer vaccine will need a second dose at least 21 days later.
All Australians will be strongly encouraged to get the jab to help achieve ‘herd immunity’ and stop the virus from spreading. However, no one will be forced to get it.