The UK’s vaccination programme has so far saved more than 100,000 lives and prevented more than 24 million infections, according to a Public Health England (PHE) study.
The latest estimates from PHE suggest that 105,900 deaths and 24,088,000 infections have been prevented as a result of the speedy jab rollout.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the new data is “phenomenal” and a “testament to the UK’s vaccination programme”, adding that the vaccines have made a “life-changing difference” in the battle against the pandemic.
Jabs “continue to help us build a stronger wall of defence every day”, he added, and are “keeping people safe from harm and helping us reclaim our freedoms so we can return to normal life”.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: “It is remarkable that the vaccine programme may now have prevented over 100,000 deaths in England alone. Everyone that has come forward for their vaccine has played a part in this vital effort.”
The Financial Times explained that the data is calculated by comparing the estimated impact of vaccination on infection and mortality against a worst-case scenario where no vaccines and no additional non-pharmaceutical interventions were in place to reduce infections and mortality.
The PHE study comes as separate research reveals that the increased risk of being admitted to hospital or dying due to blood clots for someone with coronavirus is “much higher” than in people who had a first dose of vaccine.
Back in April, confidence in the UK’s Covid vaccination programme risked being undermined by news that under-30s would be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab as a result of blood clot concerns.
However, the Evening Standard reported yesterday that a study of more than 29 million people aged 16 or over who had a first dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine in England between December and April found “the risk of thrombocytopenia in someone with coronavirus is almost nine times higher” than in someone who has had one dose of the UK-developed AstraZeneca jab.
Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at the University of Oxford, said: “There’s always some unanticipated effects with any medicine and I think that this study design is the most robust way of looking at detecting these events and putting them in some context.”
Health officials are “braced for a bank holiday surge of coronavirus cases” as about 500,000 people head to music festivals and millions more venture to tourism hotspots, The Guardian said.
At least eight festivals are expected to attract around half a million people across England – including Leeds and Reading, and Creamfields in Cheshire. With the UK expected to enjoy warm and sunny weather over the weekend, data from the Rail Delivery Group also showed that train ticket sales for seaside destinations exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
Officials warned on Thursday that, despite the success of the vaccination programme, parts of the NHS are battling “unprecedented high-level demand” and that more cases could disrupt the return of schools next week.