AstraZeneca PLC’s (LON;AZN) Covid-19 vaccine gives between 85-90% effectiveness after two shots, Public Health England said today after analysing data from those inoculated so far.
That puts the Astra/Oxford University candidate almost on par with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which showed 90% effectiveness compared to unvaccinated people.
“This new data highlights the incredible impact that both doses of the vaccine can have, with a second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine providing up to 90% protection,” said Nadhim Zahawi, the UK’s vaccines minister.
PHE said there was a “small reduction in vaccine effectiveness” from 10 weeks after the first dose, but concern about the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19 has prompted the UK government to ramp up the vaccination programme and cut the time between jabs to 8 weeks from 12.
Earlier today, an adviser to the government’s scientific advisory group SAGE said that the spread of the Indian variant might spark the third wave of infections across the UK.
Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London (UCL) said he is “very concerned” about the spread of the Indian variant.
Almost 3,000 cases of the Indian variant have been identified in the UK with surge testing now underway in a number of areas to try to control the spread.
Government has said that it is confident the Astra, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are effective against the Indian variant.
Public Health England added today that the COVID-19 vaccine programme overall had prevented the deaths of 13,000 over-60s up to May 9 and kept 39,100 elderly people out of hospital.