Graphs show how Pfizer’s vaccine works

1.8 ml of sodium chloride is added to a bottle of Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine concentrate, ready for administration at Guy’s Hospital at the start of the largest vaccination program in UK history on 8 December 2020 in London , United Kingdom.

Victoria Jones – Swimming Pool | Getty Images

LONDON – New data from England showed how effective coronavirus vaccines are in fighting the disease, even after just one dose.

In December, the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech became the first shot to be approved and rolled out in the UK.

The elderly, health workers and staff in the care home were the first to be vaccinated. This was soon followed by the survey developed by the British firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, another vaccine that requires two doses.

Fighting infection

Combating hospitalizations and deaths

The research, which contains data from more than 7.5 million people, also provided evidence that a single dose provides additional protection against hospitalization and death.

It said that coronavirus cases among vaccinated individuals had about half the risk of serious outcomes compared to unvaccinated cases. This combines it with estimates of its efficacy against symptomatic diseases, and predicts that a single dose of any vaccine is approximately 80% effective in preventing hospitalization in the elderly approximately three to four weeks after the first dose.

It is also suggested that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine is 85% effective in preventing death with Covid-19 for those over 80 years of age.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock called the findings “very strong”.

“They can also help explain why the number of Covid admissions in intensive care units among people over 80 in the UK has dropped to single figures in recent weeks,” he said.

Policymakers in Britain feel justified after deciding to delay the second dose to about three months, with the aim of vaccinating more people faster with a first dose. Experts in the US were more hesitant about the strategy, with Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser, said Monday that “there are risks on both sides.”

As of Sunday, 20,275,451 Britons had received their first dose of vaccine, and 815,816 had received both doses, government data says.

The UK’s vaccination program is widely regarded as a triumph in the midst of tragedy; the UK saw the fifth highest number of infections worldwide, after the US, India, Brazil and Russia, with nearly 4.2 million infections and more than 123,000 deaths, the fifth highest death toll in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

—CnBC’s Bryn Bache contributed to this article.

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