Mon. Mar 1st, 2021

Researchers in Scotland say its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program has led to a sharp drop in hospitalizations.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde and Public Health Scotland found that the Pfizer vaccine reduced hospital admissions by as much as 85 percent and the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot cut admissions by up to 94 percent.

The findings were based on a comparison of data from people who had received their first dose of vaccine and those who had not received an inoculation. The data was gathered between Dec. 8 and Feb. 15, a period during which 21 percent of Scotland’s population received their first shot.

“These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future,” said Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute. “We now have national evidence — across an entire country — that vaccination provides protection against Covid-19 hospitalizations.”

In the meantime, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is laying out a road map for lifting lockdown – but millions of people in the UK longing for a haircut or a meal in a restaurant still face a long wait.

Johnson is set to announce a plan Monday to ease restrictions incrementally, starting by reopening schools in England on March 8. People will be allowed to meet one friend or relative for a chat or picnic outdoors from the same day. SOVEREIGNPH

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