An analysis conducted in England found that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines reduces the chances of needing hospitalization by around 80%.
According to data gathered by Public Health England, the effect took hold around three to four weeks after a person receives the shot. This data was based on people above 80 years old, who were the first people to get vaccinated.
Government scientists lauded the analysis results. However, many stressed the need for two doses in order to get full inoculation.
This analysis comes after similar findings were rolled out last week by health authorities in Scotland.
In a briefing on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the results as “very strong.”
Hancock also added that the results may help explain the drop in COVID-19 patient admissions to ICUs among people 80 years old and above. In the UK, this rate has dropped to the single digits in the past few weeks.
Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines Still Needed
Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer of England, also spoke at the briefing. He said that the data of the analysis gave people a glimpse of how the vaccination program can hopefully help England in the next few months to head into “a very different kind of world.”
However, he added that people still need a second dose to develop full protection from COVID-19. Van-Tam stressed that the second dose likely helps “mature” a person’s immune response to the virus. Hence, he said this makes the vaccine’s protection cover more ground and last much longer.
In the UK, around 20 million people received their first dose of a vaccine.
The analysis by PHE, non-peer-reviewed, suggested that the Pfizer vaccine helps reduce deaths from COVID by 83%. It also showed that receiving the vaccine reduces the risk of persons over 70 years old of developing symptoms by 60%, three weeks after the first dose.
However, Van-Tam claimed that giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to seniors was a “clearly vindicated” decision.
Several countries in Europe decided to not give the said vaccine to seniors over 65 because trial data only showed its efficacy in younger adults.