OTTAWA — A new study in England suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are extremely good at keeping people from ending up in the hospital with COVID-19, even after just one dose.
Public Health England says it looked at the records of 14,000 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 due to the Delta variant between April 12 and June 4.
It found two doses of either vaccine were more than 90 per cent effective at keeping people out of the hospital.
“This evidence of the effectiveness of two doses against variants shows just how crucial it is to get your second jab,” said U.K. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
“If you have had your first dose but haven’t booked your second yet – please do so. It will help save lives and boost us on the road to recovery,” he added.
While getting fully vaccinated remains important, the U.K. study has found that after one dose, Pfizer was 94 per cent effective against hospitalization, and AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 71 per cent effective.
This could be seen as good news for countries like Canada, where the interval between first and second doses has been extended in order to get more people their first shots faster.
Ontario infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says the study is a ray of hope at a time when “good news is in short supply.”
— Isaac Bogoch (@BogochIsaac) June 14, 2021
“These hugely important findings confirm that the vaccines offer significant protection against hospitalization from the Delta variant,” said Dr. Mary Ramsay, the head of immunization at Public Health England, of the study.
Canada’s strategy of getting first doses into the arms of as many people as possible before moving on to second doses has been controversial.
An earlier study from Public Health England suggests a single dose is far less effective than both doses at preventing symptoms from COVID-19.
Almost two in three Canadians now have one dose of vaccine, but slightly more than one in 10 have both doses.
Canada is pivoting to second doses rapidly, however, with 1.2 million people joining the fully vaccinated group just in the last four days.
The country is poised to receive more than 8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this week thanks to a massive infusion of shots from Moderna and a revised delivery schedule.
The federal government says the Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical firm will deliver a total of 5.8 million jabs in two separate shipments this week.