Just 32 people in the UK were hospitalised with Covid after receiving a vaccination for the virus, according to ‘extraordinary’ real-world data.
Figures that are due to be handed to Government advisers today show vaccinated people made up a tiny fraction of the thousands of people admitted with the virus in recent months.
The research by the UK Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium included patients who were given their first dose and had enough time to build up immunity.
Scientists said the findings highlight the jabs are performing ‘extraordinarily well’ at squashing Covid hospitalisations and deaths.
The results come as official figures show there are fewer than 2,000 patients with Covid-19 in the NHS, down from a peak of almost 40,000 at the January peak.
The statistics will raise more questions about why Britain is still living under tough lockdown restrictions.
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 Street 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 latest research, leaked to The Telegraph, looked at 74,405 patients that were treated in hospital for coronavirus between September and March. The paper claims just 32 had been vaccinated and given three weeks to build immunity.
Vaccines began being rolled out in Britain in December, when the Pfizer jab was given approval. But the scheme really started to pick up pace in January with the arrival of the British-made AstraZeneca vaccine.
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.
Scientists are expected to hand the latest figures to ministers this week and a detailed report will also be sent to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
One of the paper’s researchers Professor Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool, told the newspaper: ‘What this shows is that in a real-world situation the vaccines are highly effective – not only do they work, but they work extraordinarily well.’
He 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) on Wednesday and are expected to be submitted to ministers today.
Independent scientists agreed the study was promising but expressed doubts about its findings.
Professor Adam Kucharski, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, said the 32 hospital admissions was more likely to have been part of a small sample size within the analysis.
He claimed there had been at least 160 hospitalisations among immunised Brits so far, tweeting: ‘Vaccines are great, but 74,000 is clearly not the correct denominator’.
The analysis by the UK Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium builds on previous work submitted to SAGE in March.
It found that 1,800 out of 43,000 patients admitted with the virus since December 8 had been vaccinated.
However, the vast majority of them caught the virus before their bodies had a chance to build up immunity against the disease.
SAGE warned people may have taken unnecessary risks after getting their vaccine, or had caught the virus while travelling to and from vaccination centres.
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.
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.’
Patients wait in a post-vaccine observation area after receiving the their Covid jab at the Darlington Arena Vaccination Centre
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.