Covid-19 vaccines offer high levels of protection for most people with underlying health conditions, or who are immunosuppressed, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
New data from more than one million people at risk showed that the overall vaccine efficacy against symptomatic disease was around 60% after a dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer / BioNTech jabs, and did not decrease significantly with age, PA News reports.
After two doses for people aged 16 to 64 years, Pfizer / BioNTech offered 93% protection, while AstraZeneca offered 78%. For those aged 65 and over, two doses of Pfizer / BioNTech offered 87% protection, while AstraZeneca offered 76%.
For immunosuppressed humans, vaccine efficacy after a second dose was 74% with similar protection to those not at risk.
This increases from 4% after a first dose, indicating the importance of a second dose.
Some health conditions are associated with an increased risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19, including diabetes, severe asthma, chronic heart, kidney or liver disease, neurological disease, and diseases or therapies that weaken the immune system, such as blood cancer, HIV, or chemotherapy. .
PHE said the protection of these people from hospitalization and death is expected to be even higher than for symptomatic Covid disease.
Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at PHE, said: “These real data show for the first time that most people who are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19 still receive high levels of protection after two doses of vaccine.
It is important that everyone with an underlying condition receives both doses, especially people with weakened immune systems, as they benefit so much more from the second dose.
It comes after 16 health organizations joined forces to call on the government to support around 500,000 people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed.
Charities included Anthony Nolan, Blood Cancer UK, Bowel Cancer UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust and MS Society.
Government advice on vulnerable to shields was put on hold on April 1, and there are currently no plans to advise people to protect again.
The charities said they wanted better communication from the government and the NHS to inform patients, the general public and employers about the continuing risks that Covid-19 poses to immunocompromised people.
They also want employment protection and access to workplace adaptations for people with impaired immune systems, including the duty to consider working from home where possible and flexibility in start and end times to avoid peak workloads.