The Mirror’s resident doctor, Dr. Miriam Stoppard, addresses groundbreaking research from America showing how effective the Covid vaccine is in preventing infection across the country
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Nevertheless, there are people who question whether the Covid vaccination is worth it. But more evidence is coming to light, this time from a study in the US, that undeniably shows that it saves lives not only on an individual level but in larger communities as well.
dr Amitabh Suthar and colleagues at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included 80% of US counties in 48 states, including 300 million people, in their BMJ report.
Their conclusions are compelling: fewer people die in communities that are better vaccinated, and expanding immunization within communities pays dividends.
You can say, didn’t we already know that? Well yes, but mainly from clinical studies. The numbers change once a drug, no matter what drug, is consumed by the general public — and they’re usually lower. So the ultimate test is when a drug is freely available and used in real life.
The first Covid-19 vaccines were approved on the basis of safety and efficacy established in clinical trials and awarded a remarkably high protection rate – more than 90%.
But the question with any new vaccine is: can it prevent infection nationwide if tested outside of a controlled environment?
This study states that this is possible, and indeed has been, from coast to coast in the US.
The evaluation of Dr. Suthar is based on more than 30 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 400,000 deaths related to the disease reported in the second year of the pandemic between December 2020 and December 2021.
When the alpha variant of Covid was widespread in 2021, U.S. counties with low, medium, and high immunization coverage reduced mortality rates by 60%, 75%, and 81%, respectively, compared to those with very low immunization coverage.
The reduction in infection rates was 57%, 70%, and 80% in the counties where the delta variant was prevalent in the US, and the impact on the death toll was similar.
So counties with higher vaccination rates had fewer Covid-19 cases and deaths per capita.
Even more surprising was that vaccination had a disproportionately large effect even in the low and medium coverage counties.
For small increases in immunization coverage of only 20% and 50%, mortality fell by 60% and 75%, respectively.
A likely explanation for this disproportionate positive impact in low- and medium-coverage countries is that immunization programs first targeted older people, who are at greatest risk of serious illness and death from Covid.
Even with relatively low immunization coverage, the proportion of older people vaccinated will be higher than in the general population.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/new-covid-study-shows-importance-27218951 “New Covid study shows importance of vaccination to wider community” – Miriam Stoppard