New data suggests that the vaccine boosters currently used in the UK reduce the risk of hospitalisation by over 85%.
Data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suggests that people who have had the booster dose are 88% less likely to end up in hospital after contracting Covid-19. This new data is relevant to the Omicron variant, which was first spotted in South Africa and has spread rapidly across the world.
In addition to confirming the efficacy of boosters for minimising risks, the data also backs previous deductions related to the need for booster doses. The study indicates that two doses of either the Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccines offer little protection against contracting Omicron, but they do lower the risk of severe symptoms.
Sajid Javid, health secretary, said that the data highlights the importance of getting a booster dose and encouraged anyone who hasn’t yet had the third vaccine to come forward. By the end of 2021, all adults were able to either book an appointment or attend walk-in sessions.
The booster, along with first and second vaccines, is available free of charge. Mr Javid explained that vaccines are saving lives and reducing the risk of patients requiring hospital treatment after contracting the virus. The study shows that people who are not fully vaccinated are around eight times more likely to need hospital treatment.
The UK Health Security Agency analysed data from more than 600,000 confirmed or suspected Omicron cases up to the 29th December in England. A single dose reduced the risk of hospitalisation by 52%, while a second vaccine lowered the risk by 72%. This figure dropped back to 52% after 25 weeks.
The reduction rose to 88% two weeks after a third vaccine dose. There is currently no data to determine how long the boosters offer protection and scientists will monitor the situation closely in the coming weeks and months.
Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said that the data is promising, but warned against complacency, as the NHS is likely to face intense pressure in the weeks ahead due to the high numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases.
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