Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provides high levels of protection

Public Health England has published the first independent analysis in the UK showing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is effective against coronavirus from the first dose.

Early data from PHE’s SIREN study shows a promising impact on infection in healthcare workers aged under 65. Healthcare workers in the study are tested for coronavirus every two weeks – whether or not they have symptoms.

Data shows one dose reduces the risk of catching infection by more than 70 per cent, rising to 85 per cent after the second dose. This suggests the vaccine may also help to interrupt virus transmission, as you cannot spread the virus if you do not have infection.

PHE is also monitoring the real-world impact of the AstraZeneca vaccine and will publish these findings in due course – but early signals in the data suggest it’s providing good levels of protection from the first dose.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “This is strong evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is stopping people from getting infected, while also protecting cases against hospitalisation and death. We will see much more data over the coming weeks and months but we should be very encouraged by these initial findings. But protection is not complete, and we don’t yet know how much these vaccines will reduce the risk of you passing Covid-19 onto others. So even if you have been vaccinated, it is really important that you continue to act like you have the virus, practice good hand hygiene and stay at home.”

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