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Single Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine dose drastically reduces COVID-19 hospitalisations in over-80s

Published on 02/03/21 at 12:03pm

A single dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces UK hospitalisations in over-80s by 80%, a Public Health England study has shown.

The real-world study also revealed that over-80s who received the Pfizer vaccine were at a 51% lower risk of death, and a 43% lower risk of emergency hospitalisation. Meanwhile, those in the same age group who received the AstraZeneca vaccine were found to be 37% less likely to have an emergency hospital admission, although there is not enough data to evaluate its effect on deaths yet.

The trial also reported an efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in over-70s of 57-61% after the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, and 60-73% for the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. The data was gathered four weeks after the participants’ first dose.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a news conference on Monday that “the number of COVID admissions to intensive care units among people over 80 in the UK have dropped to single figures in the last couple of weeks.”

He continued: "The data that we’ve published today shows that the roadmap [out of lockdown in the UK] is achievable, because it shows that we will be able to break the link from cases through to hospitalisations and to deaths, and until now in the pandemic that link from cases through to hospitalisations and deaths has been unbreakable. And we have demonstrated with the data today that the vaccines can break that link, and that is down to the power of science.”

The UK is still recording a 7-day average of 7,980 cases, but this is down from an average of 45,822 at the turn of the year. 104 further deaths related to COVID-19 were registered in the country on Monday. 

As of yesterday evening, 20,275,451 people have been vaccinated in the UK, with 815,816 having so far received their second dose.

Jack Goddard

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