Covid: Vaccines having big impact on hospitalisation risk

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Covid vaccines have had a significant impact on the risk of serious illness in Scotland, an analysis shows.

The work led by Public Health Scotland found by the fourth week after the first dose hospitalisations were reduced by 85% and 94% for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs respectively.

It is the first sign of the real world impact of the Covid vaccination programme in the UK.

Figures for England are expected to be released later.

Among the over 80s, the combined figure was an 81% reduction.

The preliminary data from the EAVE II project covers 1.14 million vaccinations given between 8 December and 15 February.

The study looked at the numbers being admitted to hospital with Covid among this population and compared it to those who were admitted who were not vaccinated.

In total, there were just over 8,000 people who ended up in hospital.

But just 58 of them involved patients who had been vaccinated four weeks previously.

Lead researcher Prof Aziz Sheikh said: “These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future.”

Trials of both vaccines had suggested they would have a significant impact at preventing hospitalisations.

But for the Pfizer vaccine trials that had involved a second dose being given after three weeks.

The UK has adopted a policy of delaying the second jab of both vaccines by three months.