THE Oxford-Astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine was approved for use in December 2020 – and provides the country with a huge boost in the fight against the bug.
Millions of Brits have already received the jab – we take a closer look at how effective it is.
How effective is the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine?
There are three important figures when considering how effective the Oxford vaccine is – 62 per cent, 70 per cent and 90 per cent.
Data published in medical journal The Lancet in December 2020 showed a two dose regimen of the Oxford jab was 62 per cent effective in preventing serious illness.
But the trial also found that efficacy rose to 90 per cent when people were given half a dose followed by a full dose a month later.
However, the MHRA approved a two-dose regimen – so Brits will not receive half a dose in any case.
According to the UK’s Joint Committee of Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI), the jab provides 70 per cent protection 22 days after the first dose.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine- enough to vaccinate 50 million people.
Does the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine work on over-65s?
In January 2020, German media outlets made baseless allegations that the jab was only eight percent effective among over-65s.
Oxford and Astrazeneca denied the claims made in the report by newspaper Handelsblatt, citing official evidence that the jab in fact had a high level of efficacy in the group.
A phase 3 Lancet study published in December 2020 from AstraZeneca and Oxford University said older age groups had been recruited later into the study so “efficacy data in these cohorts are currently limited by the small number of cases, but additional data will be available in future analyses.”
In that particular analysis, only 12 per cent of people were aged over 55.
Previous work published in November 2020 included findings for 160 people aged 56 to 69 years and 240 people aged 70 years and older.
This found that all age groups, including older people, had an immune response to the vaccine after two doses.
The government’s vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said on January 26 that the jab produces “almost 100 per cent protection from severe infection from the virus” for over-65s.
French President Emmanuel Macron also faced criticism for falsely claiming the jab was ineffective in the group – despite the European Medicines Agency approving it for use on January 29.
How many doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine do I need?
The government’s current strategy is to roll out one dose of the Covid jab to as many people as possible, in a bid to offer protection to at-risk groups in a shorter timeframe.
While one dose does give substantial immunity, Brits will need two shots of the vaccine for it to take full effect.
Doses will be given twelve weeks apart under the current plans, which are supported by Astrazeneca who have said data showed an 8-12 week gap was a “sweet spot” for efficacy.
The Oxford-Astrazeneca jab, along with two others approved for use in the UK, provide the country with a safe exit strategy from the pandemic.
It is hoped that, with the combination of lockdown restrictions and widespread vaccination, the government will be able to lift most coronavirus measures by the Spring.