Research reveals first vaccine doses reduce hospitalisation risk dramatically

February 23rd, 2021

Research conducted by Public Health Scotland has revealed incredibly positive news about the impact of first doses of vaccines on Covid-19 hospitalisation rates. 

Studies show that after four weeks of the first vaccine dose, hospitalisations fell by 85% for the Pfizer vaccine and 94% for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The research provides the first sign of the real-world impact of the vaccination programme in the UK. The figures relate to vaccination in Scotland, with statistics for England expected imminently. Among over 80s who had been vaccinated, hospitalisations fell by 81%.

Preliminary data from the project, known as EAVE II, covered 1.14 million vaccinations administered in Scotland between December 8th and February 15th. Researchers analysed the number of people admitted to hospital within the vaccinated group compared to those admitted without being vaccinated. 

Professor Aziz Sheikh described the results as “very, very impressive” and said that both vaccines were functioning “spectacularly.” The results are incredibly promising, Prof Sheikh added and they should provide confidence for the future. 

Vaccine trials suggested that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines would prove effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalisation, but the Pfizer trial included both doses three weeks apart. The research suggests that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine provides substantial protection, which will be welcome news for those who have been vaccinated, as well as health experts and policy-makers who took the decision to space vaccine doses out to enable as many people as possible to get the first dose sooner. 

Dr Josie Murray, from Public Health Scotland, said that the research findings were “brilliant news” and indicated that the vaccination programme was working effectively. 

So far, across the UK, more than 17.5 million people have received their first vaccine dose. This equates to over a third of adults. With the rollout progressing at speed, the Prime Minister has set a new target of vaccinating all adults by the end of July. Previously, it was hoped that every adult would receive an invitation by the autumn.

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