COVID-19: Vaccines cut infection rates after the first jab by up to two-thirds

Vaccines cut infection rates after the first jab by up to two-thirds, according to a British study likely to put pressure on Boris Johnson to lift lockdown faster. Early results of the vast UK study on the impact of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine rollout suggests that the level of protection was about 60% to 65%. The results applied to vaccine recipients of all ages, and protection began after two weeks.

A draft has been sent to the government but on Wednesday Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said he was not publishing its results yet because he wanted more data. The figures, first reported in The Sun and confirmed by a Whitehall source, showed that one dose reduced the symptomatic infection risk by 65% in younger adults and 64% in over-80s.

Protection for those given two shots rose to between 79% and 84%, depending on age. A source told Sky News that the data was contained in a draft paper into vaccine efficacy and early indications were good news. However, scientists were waiting for more data and the final figures may differ from the draft.

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It comes as the World Health Organisation backed Britain’s vaccine approach, recommending the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in all adults.

WHO scientists issued interim recommendations on the vaccine, saying that the jab could be given to people aged 18 and above “without an upper age limit”. Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker A number of EU countries have opted not to give the Oxford jab to those over the age of 65.

Germany refused to recommend it for the over-65s while President Emmanuel Macron of France said that it was “quasi ineffective” for older people.

Mr Johnson said that Britain has “made great strides” with 13 million vaccinated but refused to comment on the UK study.

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