The next wave of Covid will be different. When cases soared in the spring and winter last year, lockdowns quickly brought them back under control. This time, the vaccines will do most of the work.
But Covid jabs aren't a perfect shield. They slow the spread of the virus, help prevent disease, and reduce the risk of death. They don't end it all.
In the coming months, several thousand people will be hospitalized with the Covid. What may seem more disturbing is that more and more will have received two doses of vaccination.
This doesn't mean that vaccines aren't doing their job. Actual data from Public Health England shows that two injections of the Oxford / AstraZeneca or Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine are 92% and 96% effective , respectively, against hospitalization.
On Thursday, Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the vaccination program had averted around 52,000 hospitalizations.
So why will the majority of people hospitalized with Covid suffer a double injection? There are several factors at work. First of all, who has and n has not been vaccinated. In the UK, around 30% of adults are not fully vaccinated. While some are vulnerable people who for some reason weren't bitten, the majority are young and healthy enough not to be considered particularly at risk: these are people who would very rarely fall enough. sick with Covid-19 to require hospital care.
Looked at from another perspective, the 70% of the population that has been doubled includes the most vulnerable in society. Because vaccines aren't perfect, even a small percentage of what scientists call "breakthrough infections" can lead to large numbers of infections. pitalisations - mainly in this older group.
The total number of Covid-related hospitalizations will be considerably lower than in a world without vaccines, but those who are allowedPeople have grown in popularity for having had both vaccines.
"Imagine if all adults had already been fully vaccinated " says Kevin McConway, professor Emeritus in Applied Statistics at Open University. "We know there would still be hospitalizations, because vaccines are not perfect, but for adults, all of these hospitalizations would be in people who have been vaccinated. That wouldn't mean that vaccines don't help, just that they don't offer perfect protection - and no one ever said they did. "
Public Health England data from early July confirm this. Of 257 deaths from confirmed Delta variant infections between February and the end of June, only two of the 26 deaths among those under 50 were doubly bitten. This compares to 116, i.e.more than half, of the 231 deaths among those over 50.
"If fully vaccinated, the risk of being hospitalized decreases by about 90% "said Professor David Spiegelhalter, chairman of the Winton Center for Risk and Evidence Communication, at the University of Cambridge." But it is not going away, and since many of those most at risk are now vaccinated, It is inevitable that they will begin to train the majority of people with Covid in hospital, especially since most unvaccinated people are young and therefore at low risk. Indeed, being young reduces the risk. even more risk than being vaccinated. "
Another big factor at play is age. McConway says the risk of hospitalization from 'an infected person is at least 10 times, and up to 25 times higher, for a 75-year-old than for a 25-year-old. If the latter risk is on the mark, thena vaccine that prevents 96% of hospitalizations would reduce admissions among 75-year-olds to those observed in 50-year-olds younger.
When it comes to deaths from Covid, a fully vaccinated 80-year-old man has a similar risk to an unvaccinated 50-year-old man.
Future developments in the pandemic could still change the math. Having a big wave of infections with around half of the UK population vaccinated provides ripe conditions for a variant that may better escape vaccine protection.
Another concern is how quickly vaccines dissipate. Several studies have shown that levels of antibodies decrease over time, but it is not known what these drops mean for immunity and protection against infections.ections, hospitalization and death. The answer might become clear in the coming months. As hospitals prepare to welcome a new wave of patients, health officials will closely monitor whether more beds are needed for those who were stung first.