JUST one Pfizer jab could slash Covid transmissions by 75 per cent, promising new research shows.
A single dose of the vaccine cut the number of asymptomatic cases four-fold, scientists at the University of Cambridge found.
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Teams looked at coronavirus tests from vaccinated and unvaccinated hospital workers over the course of two weeks – noticing dramatic results.
The study, not yet peer-reviewed, found 13 positive staff tests out of 3,535 less than 12 days after their jab.
And only four positive tests out of 1,989 staff checked 12 days or more on from their vaccine.
This compared to 26 positive tests out of 3,252 tests from unvaccinated healthcare workers.
Dr Mike Weekes, an infectious disease specialist at CUH and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Medicine, who led the study, said: “This is great news – the Pfizer vaccine not only provides protection against becoming ill from SARS-CoV-2 but also helps prevent infection, reducing the potential for the virus to be passed on to others.”
When the team included symptomatic healthcare workers, their analyses showed similar reductions.
They saw 56 out of 3,282 unvaccinated healthcare workers tested positive, which compared to eight out of 1,997 healthcare workers at 12 or more days post-vaccination – a 4·3-fold reduction.
It backs up results from a separate study from Public Health England, which found the Pfizer jab reduced cases by more than 72 per cent 21 days after the first dose.
Dr Nick Jones, first author on the study and an infectious diseases/microbiology registrar at CUH, said: “This is fantastic news for both hospital staff and patients, who can be reassured that the current mass vaccination strategy is protecting against asymptomatic carriage of the virus in addition to symptomatic disease, thereby making hospitals even safer places to be.”
Prof Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology, University of Nottingham, said: “To see such a reduction in infection rates after a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine is very impressive and shows that vaccination truly does offer a way out of the current restrictions and a much brighter future.
“It will be important to understand whether the reduced risk of infection played out across all the exposure risk groups included in the study, but nonetheless, this is still excellent news.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at Public Health England, said there were signs that the rates of deaths and hospital admissions in the vaccinated age groups were declining.
She said there was now evidence the vaccine reduces the risk of systematic infection in older people three weeks after their jab, and there was an even higher protection against more severe forms of the disease.
She added: "We are beginning to see signs that the rate of deaths and the rate of hospitalisations in those vaccinated age groups are declining at a faster rate than in younger populations.
"So, again, really showing that phase one approach with giving vaccines to as many people in those age groups as possible as quickly as possible has really had an impact.
"We are ready to think about what we are going to do in phase two of this programme."
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