Two different studies have reported the effects of COVID-19 vaccination on the general public, and it is really great news. Both hospitalization due to COVID-19 and transmission of its virus, SARS-CoV-2, are curbed by a huge margin as reported in yet-to-be-peer-reviewed studies from Scotland and Israel, respectively.
Public Health Scotland has collected data on the rate of admission to hospital due to COVID-19 as part of the EAVE II project. Between December 8 and February 15, 21 percent of the Scottish population received at least a first dose of the vaccine, with over 1.14 million jabs administered.
The study showed that four weeks after receiving the first dose, the risk of hospitalization was considerably down. For those who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, there was an 85 percent reduction, and for those on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine the reduction was even higher at 94 percent. For people over 80, one of the groups most at risk, the average risk reduction from the results of both vaccines was 81 percent.
The data in the actual population is key to understand how we can best handle this stage of the pandemic. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials of around 95 percent, and even the single dose is reporting very high efficacy.
The AstraZeneca vaccine had lower efficacy in clinical trials (62 percent in the two doses approach, but higher in the one-and-a-half format) but it appears to be very effective at preventing people from becoming ill enough to require hospitalization.
"These data show real promise that the vaccines can protect from the severe effects of COVID-19. We must not be complacent though. We all still need to ensure we stop transmission of the virus, and the best way we can all do this is to follow public health guidance – wash hands often, keep two metres from others, and if you develop symptoms, isolate and take a test,” Dr Josie Murray, PHS Public Health Consultant Lead for EAVE II, said in a statement.
The second study had Pfizer and the Israeli Health Ministry collecting data across the Middle-Eastern country as reported by the Financial Times. Analysis suggests that the vaccine (currently the only one available in the country) is 89 percent effective at preventing all infections, symptomatic and not. If this is confirmed, it would show that the vaccines not only protect the individuals but they are also stopping the spread of the disease.
There is still more analysis to be done but finding out that the vaccines are stopping people to become seriously ill is fantastic.
"These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future. We now have national evidence – across an entire country – that vaccination provides protection against Covid-19 hospitalisations," Professor Aziz Sheikh, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute explained.
"Roll-out of the first vaccine dose now needs to be accelerated globally to help overcome this terrible disease."
For more information about COVID-19, check out the IFLScience COVID-19 hub where you can follow the current state of the pandemic, the progress of vaccine development, and further insights into the disease.
[H/T: Financial Times]