Covid vaccine news: What are severe Covid symptoms? Do vaccines prevent them?

Matt Hancock shares 'exciting' update on Oxford vaccine data

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Vaccines have emerged as one of the only conceivable ways to fight the Covid pandemic. While lockdowns work, they should allow people to revert to their “normal” lives this year and keep infections from spreading around. Even if they fail to do so, researchers have recently discovered they can at least prevent the vast majority of severe cases.

What are the symptoms of severe Covid?

By now, everyone will have become familiar with the symptoms of Covid-19, which include the following:

  • A high temperature (38C+)
  • A new, continuous cough
  • Loss or change to sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

The severity of these most common symptoms will vary depending on the person.

Some people may have more of a cough or just experience anosmia.

Others may have a brief fever and no other symptoms.

Cases may also pass by without symptoms, known as “asymptomatic” cases.

People will develop more severe Covid symptoms if their bodies struggle to fight off the virus.

They should seek immediate medical attention if they experience the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, grey, or blue-coloured skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

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Can vaccines prevent severe Covid?

Severe Covid is life-threatening, and thankfully vaccines have proven effective at preventing it.

New data shows they can effectively reduce severe symptoms in older adults, most of whom have received at least one jab.

Public Health England (PHE) submitted a pre-print of a new study that analysed the effects of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Protection against symptomatic Covid ranged between 57 and 61 percent one month after the first dose.

For over-80s, a single dose of the vaccine is up to 80 percent effective at preventing hospitalisation.

Symptomatic infections start decreasing roughly three weeks after one or both doses.

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Head of Immunisation, said while the news is “encouraging”, people should “continue to act like you have the virus, practise good hand hygiene and stay at home” even if they have had the jab.

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