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COVID vaccination prevented hospitalizations and deaths in Scotland

Last week, we have seen that in Israel, without the national vaccination campaign, the country would have had 3X the number of hospitalizations and deaths, which could have overwhelmed its healthcare system. 

This time, we have yet another real world evidence showing that COVID vaccination, without a doubt, prevents hospitalizations and death. In Scotland, less than 0.05% of at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 were hospitalized or died from the virus, according to a large, population-based study looking at data from Dec 8, 2020, to Apr 18, 2021. 

The results, published in The Lancet, showed that of 2,572,008 Scottish people, 883 needed COVID-19–related hospitalization, and 541 died from COVID-19 infection after the first dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech (32.7%) or the AstraZeneca/Oxford (67.3%) vaccine. Median follow-up after the first vaccination was 55 days, and of the 27.0% of people who received a second dose within the study period, median follow-up after the second dose was 19 days. 

Higher risk was associated with being 80 years or older versus being 18 to 64 (adjusted risk ratio [aRR], 4.75), having five or more comorbidities (aRR, 4.24), being hospitalized in the previous 4 weeks (aRR, 3.00), or being employed in a high-risk occupation (aRR, 2.14). Those who were residents in a care home (aRR, 1.63), socioeconomically deprived (most deprived quintile vs least, aRR, 1.57), male (aRR, 1.27), or an ex-smoker versus a non-smoker (aRR, 1.18) also had higher risks.

So what are you waiting for? Over 6.2 billion doses of any brand of the vaccine have been administered to over 25% of the world’s population. All available COVID vaccines are safe and highly effective. 

When will this pandemic end? It’s up to all of us, not up to the government – also not up to SARS-CoV-2. The virus will just continue to infect people who have not been vaccinated before or people who have not been infected before and recovered. 

If we increase our vaccination coverage high enough, we can be like Denmark, or Portugal, or Singapore, or Bahrain where COVID is under control, even with the delta variant. It’s really up to us. Do we want to end or prolong the pandemic?*

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Dr. Melvin Sanicas (@Vaccinologist) is a physician-scientist specializing in vaccines, infectious diseases, and global health. 

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