Just 32 people in the UK were hospitalised with Covid three weeks after getting a vaccine, according to ‘extraordinary’ real-world data.
Figures due to be handed to Government advisers today show inoculated people made up a tiny fraction of the thousands of admissions for the virus in recent months.
The research by the UK Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium looked at more than 74,000 hospital admissions between September and early March. Some 2,000 were jabbed in total — all but 32 of them caught the virus before their jab had time to kick in.
Scientists said the finding was proof the jabs are performing ‘extraordinarily well’ at squashing Covid hospitalisations and deaths.
Covid vaccines did not start to be rolled out in Britain until December, when the Pfizer jab was given approval.
Fewer than 2,000 Covid patients are now being treated by the NHS — down from a peak of almost 40,000 at the January peak. Admissions have dropped to below 200 a day.
The statistics will raise more questions about why Britain is still living under tough lockdown restrictions, given that 33million people have now been jabbed.
Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to speed up his roadmap out of lockdown, with the next relaxation not due until May 17, when pubs and restaurants will open and foreign travel is earmarked to resume.
But the PM told a Downing St press conference yesterday that while the vaccination programme was ‘making a big difference’, he would not deviate from his ‘cautious but irreversible’ plan.
Quizzed about why No10 has not published data on the jabs’ effect on hospital and death rates, Mr Johnson said ‘we simply don’t know that data’, but added that he ‘suspected the number was very small’.
There are 192 daily coronavirus hospital admissions across the entire UK, according to the most recent figures, down from a peak of 4,500 in January
More than 33million Britons have been given at least one dose of the jabs, while more than 10m have been fully vaccinated
Just 32 people who were given the coronavirus vaccine were hospitalised between September and March, a new study has found. Pictured: A person receives a does of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool
It comes as Boris Johnson said he would not deviate from his ‘cautious but irreversible’ roadmap
The research looked at 74,405 Covid patients treated in hospital between September and March. A total of 2,000 the patients had been jabbed.
But the analysis discounted admissions of people who had caught the virus within three weeks of being vaccinated – because that’s roughly how long it takes for immunity to kick in.
Israel drops outdoor mask mandate after almost a year as around 80 per cent of its population are now vaccinated
Israel has dropped its almost year-long outdoor mask mandate as it inches towards total immunisation of its adult population.
The restriction, which required masks to be worn outdoors unless exercising, was lifted on Sunday as Reuters reported that the country had vaccinated around 80 per cent of its adult population.
‘The rate of infection in Israel is very low thanks to the successful vaccine campaign in Israel, and therefore it is possible to ease [restrictions],’ Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Thursday, adding that masks will still be required indoors.
Israel’s highly successful vaccination campaign has seen close to five million of its 9.3million people vaccinated, according to Reuters.
The drive has drastically cut hospitalisations and deaths from coronavirus.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained millions of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in part by agreeing to share with Pfizer medical data on the product’s impact.
The vaccines have transformed life in Israel. In mid-January the country had a peak of some 10,000 new infections a day but the rate is now about 200 cases a day.
One of the paper’s researchers Professor Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool, told the Radio 4 Today programme: ‘What you see is most people who were admitted had caught their infection within a week of vaccination – either side of the vaccination – but then there was a really sharp drop off in numbers.
‘Three weeks after being vaccinated, we could only count 32 people out of the 2,000 that had been vaccinated and that’s a tiny, tiny number – that’s less than 2 per cent.
‘And that’s just after the first vaccine, and that’s in your frail, elderly population. So this is really good real world data showing that this vaccine works and that one dose works really well.
‘I think the message here is that when you come away from clinical trials, we can still show that the vaccine is working in the real world.’
He told The Telegraph last night the findings show ‘that in a real-world situation the vaccines are highly effective – not only do they work, but they work extraordinarily well’.
Coronavirus vaccines began being rolled out in Britain in December, when the Pfizer jab was given approval.
But the scheme only started to pick up pace in January with the arrival of the British-made AstraZeneca vaccine.
Professor Semple said the results were particularly promising because the data looked mostly at people who had only been given one jab.
There are ongoing studies into how much protection people get from two doses, which could be even better.
The results were passed to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and are expected to be submitted to ministers today.
Asked about the Government’s road map and the next set of easing of restrictions on May 17, Professor Semple said that ‘provided we get the vaccination rollout on time then I can see no reason why the road map isn’t adhered to.’
He added: ‘The problem is if further sections of society choose not to be vaccinated and then we get a second outbreak perhaps later in the summer, which is what has been predicted.
‘The size of that will be very much dependent on how many people don’t get vaccinated.’
Analysis by SAGE last month found one in 25 Britons hospitalised with Covid since December had been vaccinated – but it said most of these people caught the virus before they had time to build up immunity. The number of Covid hospital admissions among vaccinated people is shown in blue, versus non-vaccinated in red
The report found 1,800 out of 43,000 patients admitted with the virus since December 8 had received at least one dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s jabs. The graphs highlight how just a fraction of overall admissions are among jabbed people
The vast majority of hospital patients in the past few months caught the virus shortly before their appointment or in the few days afterwards, before immunity had kicked in
The study comes after figures showed 33,032, 120 people in the UK have now been given their first vaccine doses and 10,425,790 have received their second dose.
Meanwhile virus cases have fallen to a seven-month low and deaths are now averaging just 26 a day.
There are currently around 2,500 new cases in the UK each day – compared to more than 50,000 a day for most of January.
The national infection rate is just 26 cases per 100,000 people, down from a peak of 642 in early January.
This is the lowest figure since the September 6, when far less tests were being carried out.
Yesterday another 2,524 cases and 33 deaths were reported, taking the UK’s weekly average for daily deaths to just 26.
More than 1,820 deaths had been recorded on January 20, the deadliest day of the pandemic.
And there are now just 1,973 patients with Covid-19 in hospitals around the UK, down from a peak of 39,249 on January 18.
Patients wait in a post-vaccine observation area after receiving the their Covid jab at the Darlington Arena Vaccination Centre
Yesterday a separate Office for National Statistics report revealed that overall deaths in the UK had dropped below the five-year average for the past five weeks.
There were a total of 172 Covid-19 deaths in people aged 80 and over in the week ending April 2. This is down from 5,361 deaths in that age group in the week ending January 22.
Deaths for those in their seventies also dropped 97 per cent in the same period, compared with falls of 95 per cent for those aged 65-69 and 93 per cent for those aged 60-64.
The latest figures come as Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: ‘We know that this vaccination programme is making a big difference.
‘We know that it’s helping to reduce suffering and save lives, potentially on a very big scale.
‘But we don’t yet know the full extent of the protection that we are building up; the exact strength of our defences – and as we look at what is happening in other countries with cases now at record numbers around the world, we cannot delude ourselves that Covid has gone away.’
He added: ‘I see nothing in the data now that makes me think we are going to have to deviate in any way from the road map – cautious but irreversible – that we have set out.
‘But the majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of Covid at some stage this year and so we must – as far as possible – learn to live with this disease, as we live with other diseases.’
On Wednesday the Prime Minister revealed people in the UK could be offered pills to treat Covid at home from autumn this year thanks to a new antivirals taskforce being set up by No10.
Mr Johnson said he will assemble a team of scientists to find ways for people to recover from the virus without going into hospital because the UK must ‘learn to live with this disease, as we live with other diseases’.
No drugs have been decided on but the government is already in talks with pharmaceutical firms about ‘promising’ antiviral treatments being developed, and officials are keen to get new drugs that aren’t already used.
The Prime Minister said the drugs could ‘provide another vital defence against any future increase in infections and save more lives’, and there are hopes they will help stop the new variants making people seriously ill.