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The first study to describe the effects in real-world communities of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine has been reported in a pre-print publication today, showing a clear reduction in the risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19 amongst those who have received the vaccine.

Based on data from 1.14 million vaccinations which have been administered, scientists from the University of Edinburgh have shown that both the BioNtech/Pfizer and Oxford vaccines are highly effective and that by the fourth week after receiving the initial dose shown to reduce the risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19 by up to 85% and 94%, respectively.

They report that by the fourth week after receiving the initial vaccination, those aged 80 years and over were shown to have an 81% reduction in hospitalisation risk, a combined result for data from those vaccinated with either the Oxford or BionTech/Pfizer vaccines.

Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology, said:  

‘The real-world data from Scotland now provides evidence of high effectiveness of both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and BionTech/Pfizer vaccines in preventing hospitalisation in people over the age of 80, after a single dose, supporting our confidence in using this vaccine in adults of all ages.’ 

These data were gathered as part of the EAVE II project, which uses patient data to track the pandemic and the vaccine roll out in real time, with researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Andrew’s and Public Health Scotland (PHS) analysing a dataset covering the entire Scottish population of 5.4 million. 

Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said: 

'We are delighted to see that the real-world evidence reported today from the University of Edinburgh which confirms that both the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine have a very substantial impact against hospitalisation with COVID19 disease. Vaccines work. We now need to make sure that everyone everywhere is protected'

The news comes as real-world data from vaccination programmes around the world start to become available.

Teresa Lambe, Associate Professor and Jenner Investigator, concludes:

‘When we first started this journey, we could only hope that a year later, real world data would show this level of impact from our vaccine against hospitalisation from severe illness. It is a huge day for us all, especially the team who've worked so hard, and monumental in our battle against coronavirus.’