UK's Two Coronavirus Vaccines Cut Hospital Admissions By 85% and 94%, New Study Finds
The major study has shown the vaccines have significantly reduced hospitalisations [PA Images]
A new study has found a "substantial reduction" in the risk of hospital admissions among Scottish people who have received the two main vaccines.
The study found that four weeks after receiving a first dose of either the Pzifer/BioNTech and Oxford AstraZeneca jabs there was a reduced risk of hospitalisation from the virus by 85 per cent and 94 per cent respectively.
Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Aberdeen and St Andrews as well as from Public Health Scotland analysed data covering the entire Scottish population.
The analysis, which has yet to be peer reviewed, is the first major study of the vaccine's effectiveness among the general population in the UK.
Lead researcher Professor Aziz Sheikh said: "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 protections against COVID-19 hospitalisations."
Meanwhile, Dr Jim McMenamin, National Covid-19 Incident Director at PHS, said: "These results are important as we move from expectation to firm evidence of benefit from vaccines. Across the Scottish population the results show a substantial effect on reducing the risk of admission to hospital from a single dose."
It comes as vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the programme is "beginning to really bear fruit" ahead of Boris Johnson planned announcement on the 'roadmap' for easing lockdown restrictions.
And Zahawi said that "evidence looks good" from two other major studies being conducted by Public Health England into the effectiveness of the vaccine among frontline health care workers and care home residents.
The Prime Minister has already stated that one of his 'four tests' for pushing ahead with the plans that scientific evidence must show "vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated".
The first step of the plan will see all schools in England open from 8 March, with outdoor recreation with one other person also allowed from the same date.
Speaking to Sky News, Zahawi added: "We wouldn't be in this place this morning...if we're not confident that actually the vaccine programme is beginning to really bear fruit."
And pressed on whether the Prime Minister could make a pledge that the current lockdown would be the last, he added: "I'm confident that if we do this cautiously and we do it based on the data, the evidence, then it will be sustainable.
"And it should be the last time we ever enter the severe level of lockdown because of COVID-19."