Early stage data from the vaccine rollout in the UK appears to show that COVID hospitalisation and death are reduced by over 75% in people with the Pfizer vaccine
As the UK looks forward to a summer of potential return to pre-lockdown times, the first live vaccine stats have been released. Currently, 17,723,840 people have been vaccinated.
Pfizer vaccine still works to stop deaths
It seems that people who are vaccinated are far less likely to experience COVID hospitalisation or death, with these chances reduced by over 75% by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
One dose appears to be capable of reducing infection risks by more than 70%, which goes to 85% when both doses are taken.
When vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer, those 80 and over half their risk of dying.
Can it stop the mutations?
Yes, and no.
The vaccine appears to remain effective against the Kent mutation of COVID-19. It is less impactful against the South African mutation, which can still spread among vaccinated people. This is down to a spike mutation that makes it eight times as infectious as the original COVID-19 virus. This improved spike protein is seen across several variations, and is quickly becoming an adapted feature for the virus in general.
But luckily for us, the South African mutation can’t generally kill or hospitalise people who have the Pfizer vaccine.
‘Protection is not complete’
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), commented: “This is strong evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is stopping people from getting infected, while also protecting cases against hospitalisation and death. We will see much more data over the coming weeks and months but we should be very encouraged by these initial findings.
“But protection is not complete, and we don’t yet know how much these vaccines will reduce the risk of you passing COVID-19 onto others. So even if you have been vaccinated, it is really important that you continue to act like you have the virus, practice good hand hygiene and stay at home.”
The race is now on for virologists to stop the mutations from becoming the mainstream form of COVID-19.
The Pfizer-BioNTech uses mRNA technology, which makes it one of the first mRNA vaccines to ever be approved for widespread use. For our explainer on what that actually means, look at how mRNA tech is revolutionising the fight against cancer.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This crucial report shows vaccines are working – it is extremely encouraging to see evidence that the Pfizer vaccine offers a high degree of protection against coronavirus.”
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