An initial dose of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech reduces the risk of coronavirus infection, Public Health England announced on Monday, when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed plans to relax lockdown rules. According to the data published when Johnson began to speak in Parliament, on health workers under 65, a dose of the vaccine from the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer PFE, -0.88% and its partner BioNTech BNTX, + 0, 14% reduce the risk of infection by more than 70%, increasing to 85% after the second dose.
For those over 80 years of age, one dose is 57% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 disease after three to four weeks of inoculation, increasing to more than 85% after the second dose. Early data suggests that vaccinated people who become infected are much less likely to die or be hospitalized, Public Health England added. The UK was the first country to start administering the Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine. So far, the vaccination campaign has focused on the elderly and front-line health workers. The UK is also unique in choosing to delay the second dose of Pfizer – BioNTech for up to 12 weeks. Pfizer’s own trials suggest a 21-day interval between doses. The health agency said there is “good” evidence that the second dose of the vaccine from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca AZN, -0.33% and Oxford University later will lead to much higher levels of protection. Johnson said it was too early in the campaign to provide firm data on that vaccine. Public Health Scotland said separately that its own research finds that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization by up to 85%, and the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization by up to 94%. The importance of these studies is that they were conducted in real-world settings, as opposed to controlled studies controlled by drug manufacturers.