Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Effective In Over-80s: Study
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The AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine appears to be more than 80 percent effective at preventing severe illness among elderly, at-risk individuals after a single dose, according to research. The results added to the growing body of evidence that the vaccine -- which several countries have advised against giving to over-65s -- is both safe and effective in older people.

Researchers analysed patients aged over 80 admitted to hospital with respiratory illness. All the patients were tested for Covid-19, and the positive and negative cases were separated into two data groups. The researchers then looked at how many people in each of the groups had received one dose of either the AstraZeneca vaccine, or one developed by Pfizer.

They found that nine of the 36 Covid-19 positive patients had received the AstraZeneca jab. Among the Covid-19 negative patients, 53 out of 90 had received the jab. The difference between the proportion of positive and negative cases who had received a single vaccine dose represented an 80.4-percent efficacy in reducing severe Covid-19, the researchers said.

For the Pfizer vaccine, 18 out of 245 Covid-19 positive patients had received a single dose, compared to 90 of the 269 Covid-19 negative patients. This corresponded to efficacy of 71.4 percent. "A single dose of either (Pfizer) or (AstraZeneca) vaccine resulted in substantial reductions in the risk of Covid-19-related hospitalisation in elderly, frail patients with the extensive co-morbid disease," the authors said.

Both vaccines were developed and clinically trialed to be administered in the form of two separate doses a few weeks apart. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford have insisted the vaccines are safe and effective among people aged over 65. Several countries advise against administering it to that age group.