Science

Risk of death cut by 80% after one dose of AZ and 97% after two doses of Pfizer

The latest data shows for the first time protection against mortality from the AstraZeneca jab and extra protection after two Pfizer doses.

A single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine reduces the risk of death with Covid-19 by approximately 80% – and two doses of Pfizer cut it by 97%, the latest data suggests.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the news as “life-changing” for people across the country as he urged everyone to take up their offer of a jab.

The latest data shows for the first time protection against mortality from the AstraZeneca vaccine and the additional protection provided by two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

For its analysis, PHE said it looked at the number of new symptomatic PCR positive cases between December and April, and those who died within 28 days of their positive test and compared them according to vaccination status.

Results shows that Covid-19 cases who had had a single dose of either the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccines had similar levels of protection against mortality – at 44% and 55% respectively – compared with people who had not had a jab.

When combined with the protection vaccines offer against becoming a case in the first place, PHE said this is equivalent to approximately 80% protection against death in people who have had a single jab.

PHE said the data shows that protection against mortality from the Pfizer vaccine is even higher – around 69% – for people who had their second jab at least seven days before testing positive for the virus.

Adults who have received Covid-19 vaccine
(PA Graphics)

Combining this with the estimated protection from getting the virus, it is equivalent to an estimated 97% protection against death in people who have had both doses of Pfizer, PHE added.

The health body said a separate report it had done showed that for people aged over 80, the risk of admission to hospital with the virus is reduced by an estimated 93% after two doses of Pfizer.

Mr Hancock said: “The evidence is clear that vaccines provide significant layers of protection against this awful disease. People across the country can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their risk of becoming seriously ill or hospitalised with the virus is significantly reduced after being vaccinated.

“This news will be life-changing for many people who have worried about the devastating impact of this virus, either to themselves or a loved one.

“The vaccine is saving thousands of lives and giving us hope on our road to recovery. When the time comes to get your jab, please join the tens of millions of people who are now benefitting from this vital protection.”

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, urged people to follow through and get both doses of a vaccine when offered.

She said: “This analysis gives us even more reassurance that the vaccine is highly effective in protecting adults against death and hospitalisation from Covid-19.

“Getting your vaccine will significantly reduce your risk of dying or becoming seriously ill from Covid-19.

“It will also significantly reduce your chances of getting infected and infecting others.

“It is vital to get both doses of your vaccine when you are offered it.”

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the data shows “how valuable they (vaccines) are in keeping people safe”.

He added: “It’s fantastic to see this real-world data and the impact both vaccines are having on protecting the public and the NHS.

“I urge all those invited to step up and book in your jab, and play a part in our journey out of the pandemic and back to normality.”

Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said the data results are “an incredible outcome” which “paves a way out of this, and future, lockdowns”.

He said: “To realise the full benefits, we need to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

“Then, when this has been achieved we should move towards good surveillance and monitoring vaccine effectiveness instead of relying on isolation and other restrictive measures, as we learn to live with the virus.”

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