A study examining older people in the UK found that only one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is atleast 60% effective for people aged 70 and over
On 11 February, 2021, the World Health Organisation recommended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in all age-groups.
Currently, Germans have around 1.17 million AstraZeneca vaccines that are being taken up reluctantly and suspiciously. This comes after a feud between the Commission and the drugmaker that saw a few countries limit the use of AstraZeneca in older populations.
This led to an international misconception about if the AstraZeneca vaccine works on older people at all.
In Phase Three of the UK drugmakers clinical trials, there was a small group of older people involved in the study. Now, there is real-world data in the UK similar to the analytical efforts of Israel.
This weekend, the UK passed the milestone of 20 million people vaccinated.
The new data on AstraZeneca and Pfizer
Using the existing older population, a team of researchers released a pre-print of their study on Monday (1 March). In their analysis of the UK data, they found that both AstraZeneca and Pfizer are significantly effective against COVID-19 in the older population.
The scientists also found that the Kent mutation was now dominant across the UK, which means that all vaccines will now be going up against this COVID variant.
People who were vaccinated with Pfizer and went on to catch COVID (rare, but possible) had a 44% lower risk of hospitalisation and a 51% lower risk of death in comparison to people who were unvaccinated.
They found that the AstraZeneca vaccine was 60% effective at preventing COVID in people who were atleast 70 years old, while Pfizer was 61% effective in the same age group.
The AstraZeneca vaccine further held this percentage of protection for atleast six weeks. This calculation of protection was based on a single dose, not a double dose.
For people aged 80 or older, the first dose of Pfizer was atleast 70% effective and rose to 89% after two doses.
The research team emphasise that there needs to be more real-world analysis of AstraZeneca as UK vaccination rollout continues, because this is the first available data in the world on how the UK-based drug is working.