Vaccine: Expert discusses getting second jab before 12 weeks
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Covid infections in the UK have risen sharply in recent weeks, now travelling towards levels not seen since February. The seven-day average recently passed 16,000, thanks to the Delta variant. As vaccines stem the trickle of deaths, PHE officials have revealed their role in preventing what could have been a tidal wave.
PHE, in partnership with the University of Cambridge, recently released estimates on how many people the vaccine has saved so far.
Data showed Covid infections would have spread to more than one-sixth of the UK population without the jabs, and deaths would pass 150,000.
The two organisations estimated the vaccination programme prevented between 6.4 and 7.9 million more infections.
And it prevented between 26,000 to 28,000 deaths, the report added.
Without the vaccines, UK Covid cases would have skyrocketed to 11.96 million.
Deaths would have soared in kind to 155,000, going by official figures.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said the figures provide a reminder of “why getting both doses of your vaccine is the most important thing you can do”.
They show why people should “appreciate the huge impact” they have made on the UK’s infection landscape.
PHE and Cambridge statisticians used their real-time pandemic surveillance model to analyse the potential impacts of COVID-19.
They arrived at their estimations by measuring predicted vaccine impacts against a worst-case scenario.
In the worst-case scenario, health officials had not been able to create a vaccine programme.
Thankfully, the NHS’ vaccine rollout is amongst the most successful in the world.
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A total of 44,454,511 people have had at least one jab, affording them protection from up to 60 percent of infections.
And second jab totals are quickly catching up, with a further 32,583,746 given more than 90 percent of protection via complete dosage.
Together, health officials have administered more than 77 million Covid vaccine doses.
Dr Paul Birrell, Senior Research Associate at Cambridge’s MRC Biostatistics Unit, said the programme prevented an “astoundingly high” number of infections and deaths.
He added the vaccine gave the UK a “path back towards a normal life”.
And newly-minted Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed as such.
He has committed to his predecessor’s reopening date, July 19, in his first House of Commons statement.
Mr Javid told MPs he saw “no reason” to go beyond the already postponed “Freedom Day” date.
But he conceded risks would remain next month regardless of infections.
People would have to “learn to live with” what remains, he added.
When these restrictions come to an end, there is no way back.
Mr Javid said: “Make no mistake, the restrictions on our freedoms must come to an end.”
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