From the beginning of December to the end of February, thousands of deaths were prevented among the elderly because they were a priority for the shots, says PHE.
The rollout of the vaccine in the UK prevented at least 6,100 deaths from early December to late February – a time when older people were prioritized for injections, according to a new study from Public Health England (PHE).
PHE said on Friday that it estimated that from December 8 – when the UK has started massive inoculations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – until the end of February, around 5,900 deaths have been prevented in people aged 80 and over, and 200 in those aged 70 to 79 years old.
“This new analysis calculates how many lives they saved in the first few months of the immunization program, and with every additional day more lives have and will be saved,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, immunization manager at SPE.
But, she added, “Although vaccines have a striking effect on mortality, we don’t yet know how much these vaccines will reduce the risk of you passing COVID-19 to others. Even though you have been vaccinated, it is really important that you continue to act like you have the virus, have good hand hygiene, and stay at home. “
The UK has been hit hard by the virus, recording more than 125,000 deaths – one of the worst toll in the world.
“The real value of these vaccines could also be in terms of future deaths averted, should COVID-19 re-emerge in the UK,” PHE said.
Because the elderly are the most exposed to the virus, as well as those with pre-existing illnesses, “the prioritization of the COVID-19 vaccination program has mainly focused on an age-based strategy to prevent greater loss of life ”.
However, its vaccination program has been widely praised.
With around 29 million people, almost half of the country’s adult population, having received a first dose to date, the UK has one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world.