Van-Tam says ‘other countries will be interested’ in UK data
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Matt Hancock said jabs were already helping to save lives, as he heralded the study by Public Health England which indicated that the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing infections among older people. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam added that due to Europe’s delay in their Covid vaccine rollout, he said he could not confirm foreign travel. Speaking at Downing Street, Mr Van-Tam said: “I think from today’s news you can see we are still in a zone of great uncertainty about what the virus will do next.
“On top of that many of the vaccination programmes in Europe which is a place where we frequently go on holiday abroad are running behind ours.
“Clearly whether we can go on holiday abroad to places such as Europe depends on what other countries will say and do in terms of foreign tourism.
“That’s the best I can do.
“I can’t give a firm answer because I genuinely don’t think there is one at this point.”
Mr Hancock added: “I hope that people look at the data that we’ve published today and see the rigour of the science and read from that the same that I read from it which is that both of the vaccines that are in use in the UK right now are extremely effective after one dose.
“There is some further evidence in the paper of further effectiveness after two doses and that’s yet more good news.
“There are on some measures, there are signs that the Oxford/AstraZenca vaccine is slightly more effective that the Pfizer vaccine but the Pfizer vaccine in this data is also extremely effective.
“I absolutely hope right around the world people study this data and understand what they mean which is getting the jab is the right thing to do and it could save your life.”
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Mr Hancock also urged Brits not to break coronavirus rules and “blow” progress, despite “exciting” data suggesting the two vaccines being used in the UK reduce hospital admissions in over-70s by 80 percent.
He said the number of admissions to hospital was falling faster than that of cases – particularly among the older age groups who were vaccinated first.
The Health Secretary added: “This is a sign that the vaccine is working.
“A single shot of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine or of the Pfizer vaccine works against severe infection among the over-70s with a more than 80 percent reduction in hospitalisations.”
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The results “may also help to explain why the number of Covid admissions to intensive care units among people over 80 in the UK have dropped to single figures in the last couple of weeks”.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam added that data for the Pfizer vaccine shows the likelihood of mortality is reduced by 85% in over-70s.
He said the data “gives us those first glimpses of how, if we are patient, and we give this vaccine programme time to have its full effect, it is going to hopefully take us into a very different world in the next few months”.
Encouraging people to continue to come forward for their first and second doses, he added: “We have to be patient. We have to push on with the vaccine programme.”
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