(London) Two British studies published on Monday show COVID-19 vaccination programs are contributing to a sharp drop in hospitalizations, raising hopes that vaccines will work just as well in the real world as in carefully controlled studies.
Preliminary results from a study in Scotland found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduced hospital admissions by up to 85% four weeks after the first dose, while the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine reduced admissions by as much as 94 %. In England, preliminary data from a study of healthcare workers suggests Pfizer’s vaccine lowers the risk of catching COVID-19 by 70% after one dose, a figure that rose to 85% after the second .
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said studies show that the vaccine protects people and those around them.
He added that it was important to accumulate “as much evidence as possible on the impact of the vaccine on protection and on transmission”.
The studies were released as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented plans on Monday to ease the lockdown that has led to the shutdowns of non-essential pubs, schools and stores since early January. The deployment of the vaccine is essential to bring the country back to a certain sense of normalcy. More than 17.5 million people have received a dose of the vaccine to date – over a third of the UK’s adult population.
The UK has experienced Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with more than 120,000 deaths.
The British public health agency Public Health England has carried out a study of healthcare workers, which suggests that the vaccine may help prevent the transmission of the virus, “because you cannot spread the virus if you don’t. no infection ”. The results are based on COVID-19 tests done every two weeks that detect infections whether or not someone is showing symptoms.
Wider screening of the population shows that Pfizer’s vaccine was 57% effective in preventing symptomatic illnesses in people over 80 years of age three to four weeks after the first dose. This increased to over 85% after the second dose. Overall, hospitalizations and deaths are expected to be reduced by more than 75% after a dose of the vaccine, according to Public Health England.
The agency said it is still monitoring the impact of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, but “early signs in the data suggest it offers good levels of protection from the first dose.”
British regulators cleared the widespread use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on December 30, nearly a month after approving the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech.
The Scotland study was conducted by scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish public health agency, Public Health Scotland.
The preliminary results were based on a comparison between people who had received a dose of the vaccine and those who had not yet been vaccinated. The data was collected between December 8 and February 15, during which time 21% of the Scottish population received the first dose.
“These results are very encouraging and give us good reason to be optimistic about the future,” said Prof. Aziz Sheikh, director of the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh.
“We now have national evidence – across a whole country – that vaccination offers protection against hospitalizations from COVID-19. ”
About 650,000 people in Scotland received the Pfizer vaccine during the study period and 490,000 received the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Usher Institute said. Because hospitalization data was collected 28 days after inoculation, hospital admissions data were from a subset of 220,000 people who received Pfizer’s vaccine and 45,000 people who received AstraZeneca vaccine.
Caution is in order
Experts outside the study believe that while the results in Scotland are encouraging, they should be interpreted with caution due to the nature of this type of observational study. For example, relatively few people were hospitalized after receiving the vaccines during the study period.
Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, urged those making policy decisions about the pandemic to be careful.
“It will be important that euphoria, especially from political sources who do not understand the uncertainty of numerical values, does not result in premature decision making,” he warned. Cautious optimism is warranted. ”
Earlier this month, Israel reported encouraging results from people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Six weeks after the start of vaccinations for people over 60, there has been a 41% drop in confirmed COVID-19 infections and a 31% drop in hospitalizations, according to the country’s health ministry .
#British #Studies #COVID19 #vaccines #decrease #hospitalizations